Software now underpins the core business critical activities in almost every industry. You book your flight via the airlines´ mobile application. Physicians interact with and view critical patient data via applications while they are on the go. Digital supply chains upend traditional manufacturing. Financial services firms are so heavily reliant on technology, and in particular software, they now employ more technology experts than some major ISVs – Goldman Sachs has over 6,000 developers and approximately 25% of its workforce work in technology.
Developing this type of business-critical, customer-centric, and also user-friendly software is simply a whole different ballgame, and one which requires a fundamentally different mindset and approach than traditional software development methods.
Software product development has therefore reached a tipping point. We predict that 2015 will be the year when four major dynamics converge:
Design thinking transforms product development processes. In software product development, design thinking involves creating multi-disciplinary teams including product managers, developers, QA, and user experience experts. Together these experts take a holistic perspective to problems, applying creativity to customer stories, and rapidly develop prototypes to test new ideas. Taking a design thinking approach will force greater emphasis on the end customer and the market.
Big data drives enhanced product development. For product development, the opportunity to generate a much richer perspective on product usage via the data collected provides tremendous opportunity to improve product sustenance work, as well as providing insights for new product development. In addition we believe there is an additional element to big data which in many cases has been overlooked. As organizations collect more and more data about their partners, customers and business activities, so there are increasingly opportunities to sell this data and create data products – welcome to the world of “big data commercialization”.
Sophisticated testing helps create great product experiences. What do you really think about the quality of the applications you download? While software has become the critical interface between companies and their customers, the quality of that software in many cases fails to delight, entice or even in many cases provide basic functionality. In product development where continuous development, continuous testing, and continuous releases now define the world, testing is an even greater challenge. The only option is Agile testing. Agile testing requires multi-faceted changes to traditional testing approaches – from team and organizational behavior and structures, to automation, and Agile adoption.
Product development looks to open source for agility and quality. In 2014 news abounded regarding open source – companies from Cisco to Goldman Sachs stated they were embracing open source. For developing products the ability to reuse available open source components and code presents tremendous advantages at a time when speed to market is critical. In addition, standardizing across form factors helps reduce ever increasing complexity. While lowering development costs presents clear motivation for taking the open source route, we believe it is rather the advantages in business agility, quality, and increased development speed which will ultimately drive open source in commercial software product development.
We´d love to hear your thoughts and comments about these predictions. But be warned, these are not simply ideas we’ve pulled from the sky, but have supported with data and research. Indeed we’re confident that at least some of these will apply to your business and as a result Belatrix Software has already made significant investments in each of the above areas. Look out for some of our research on the leading-edge of software product development in 2015.
From all the team at Belatrix we wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.