Monday, March 03, 2014

The next big wave of IT is Software Development

I can smell a change coming, the last few years have seen cloud and SaaS on the rise and seen a fragmentation in application development (thanks in a large part to the appalling stewardship of Java) and a real focus of budgets around BI and 'vanilla' package approaches.  Now this is a good thing, both because I jumped out of the Java boat onto the BI boat a few years ago but also because its really helped shift the investment focus away from 'Big iT' towards 'Big It' - by which I mean the focus has shifted very firmly towards Information over technology.

Now however companies are waking up to the fact that as good as a or SAP is it really doesn't matter if everyone in your industry is using it, these are not your differentiators.  Your differentiators are what matter in terms of accelerating growth and outperforming your competitors.

This is where software development comes back and I predict the following four waves
Big Data will drive the new Software Development explosion
Big Data is the hype today and it will be the foundation of this new era as information is the key, fast data will however rapidly become just, if not more, important than 'Big' which means that the ability to integrate into transactions and deliver differentiation will be critical.  This is why we'll see a resurgence in software development based on new approaches and new platforms but we'll see the same sort of consolidation phases that we saw around Java.  Maybe this wave will last 10 years, maybe 5, maybe 20 but what appears certain is that the wave is coming.

This isn't the older wave though, it never is in IT, its the same sort of thing but now applied to the next generation of problems.  This is about information and collaboration and digitization of organisations, its about taking all these vast amounts of internal and external information and driving better outcomes and crucially about collaborating between organisations.

Lets be clear: this is going to be hard.

Back with Java we had a Database, we had SQL, we had (eventually) an App Server... that my friends was a walk in the park compared with what is coming.  I'll write a new post shortly on what the new world could look like but suffice to say you need the following

1) An inherent understanding of what makes information work - Master Data, Big Data, Analytics
2) An understanding of how to drive impact - how to engage users
3) An understanding of how to work with people outside your organisation

You thought doing a Java project with offshore delivery and a bunch of legacy integration points was hard?  Hang on to your hats... 

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