Monday, March 03, 2014

Software Development Wave 4: back to the package

The end of the next Software Development wave will be when Software development against 'eats itself' as it did with with technologies like Hadoop showing a new value in information, with platforms like SFDC showing new pre-build services, where people like GoodData have turned BI into SaaS.  So we will see the same evolution again and a new generation of commoditisation which drives consolidation and cost saving to replace things that would differentiate today but will be a commodity in 5-10 years time.

This is what always happens.  SAP was created because people had written custom software for factories for years and they saw a market for a platform.  Siebel was born because people had built software to manage client contacts for years and because it wasn't really that important that the software be unique to your business.

Software Development always leads to packages in the enterprise space because there are lots of companies doing similar things.  Master Data Management is a great example of an old problem in the information space which has been heavily commoditised by vendors in the last 10 years.  Hadoop has turned the challenge of handling massive data volumes into a file system.

Software development waves lead to a new wave of package solutions, the "buy v build" question is always asked and software development wins when the answer is 'there is nothing we can buy' and package wins when the answer is 'this does 90%+ of what we want for a fraction of the risk'. In between there are grey areas, which is why the transition is never clean, but the reality is that after this next wave of software development we should expect to see the next generation of package solutions.  I think however there is a good chance that these next ones will be markedly different to the current generation.

The next generation will be based around information and insight and less around repeatable processes.  The old packages will exist, like a geological epoch, but there will be less and less reason to change what is established in those areas, the new value will be built on their foundations, first by software development and then by the commoditisation and packaging of the new generation of solutions.

This is part of a series of posts on Why Software Development is the next big Wave and is preceded by Wave 1: The Personal DeveloperWave 2: The team Developer and Wave 3: the Enterprise Developer

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