February 3, 2014

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Software at the speed of Business

While there has been a lot of discussion around SMAC and its impact on business, the challenges surrounding the building of software that allow businesses to leverage SMAC to the hilt – are largely ignored. In this article, we will understand five key attributes that define software and its development process – in context of today’s software-driven businesses.

  • Highly scalable delivery model: In the future most software will be leveraging Cloud based delivery. While cloud is mostly associated with the scalable infrastructure (IAAS), there is so much to do on the software side too. When designing the software to be delivered over cloud, it is very important to understand that the same software capability will be delivered to multiple geographies, multiple customers and it is important to build the software that can scale to adapt to such differentiated behaviors across different countries and customers. For example compliance requirements across countries are different, customer’s business processes are different, and the software should have a mechanism to support these differentiations much rapidly through simple configuration

  • Adapt quickly to new channels: Technologies like Mobile, Wearable are already mainstream. Any software capability you build today, should be accessible from these channels and whatever is new and shiny in the minds of the end customers. It is important to enable software, to leverage the native capabilities of these channels, while maintaining high performance and security at the backend. So the software you build should securely expose its  functionality from the backend and make it easy to be consumed from various mobile clients, should be able to leverage advanced client capabilities like Push Notifications, Location Awareness, Speech and Video. The software should be able to best utilize the unique interaction options available in each of these channels and exploit them sufficiently.

  • Leverage the power of ecosystem: The success of App stores just serve to highlight an important point: Innovation has to become boundary less to provide exponential value to your customers. An “Ecosystem driven innovation model” is a scalable model wherein you can leverage your partners, customers to extend your capabilities of your core products / services. The next generation software should be designed to harness and extend itself based on the collective capabilities of the ecosystem around you.

  • Holistic User experience: The success of Next Generation Software will be purely based on the User Experience and it should become a core to how a software is built. Considering that different devices come with different form factors, the software should adapt itself to what the user wants to do next and guide him to execute his task rather than having fixed set of menus and user having to go through complex navigation paths to perform routine tasks. Predictive Analytics based approaches provide significant value in understanding the user activities on the software and will help you to prioritize on what actions to show to your customer

  • Business Aligned: Software is increasingly leveraged to increase the value of the products or services offered by an enterprise. Software is no longer a nice to have capability, but is defining the brand and has become the key driver of business strategy on enhancing the overall customer experience. With this change, business is directly trying to get control of the software and is looking to build something quick in an extremely Agile model. Gone are the days where the software teams had time to invest and learn new technologies and take time to build and launch new software. Any accelerator which will enable to rapidly convert the Business requirements into a working software, which can be continuously built is highly valuable in today's context

Achieving all of these will not be possible using traditional software development approaches. At HCL-ERS we are a strong advocate of taking a platform based approach to building new software. We have been continuously investing in these areas, and through our rich experience, we have built a software platform that is already helping customers leverage SMAC effectively and launch products and services that delight customers every day.

I would also like to thank Abhishek Vanamali for offering his valuable insights for this blog post.To know more about innovative manufacturing solutions, visit HCL's Manufacturing unit.