In today’s fast-paced, forever evolving Digital economy, the need to create and deploy innovative software quickly, is like it’s never been before. Software vendors must refresh their products in shorter cycles, without compromising on quality, keeping the costs checked, and yet, with incremental business value. Software refresh needs to be implemented swiftly, accurately, within a short time frame, keeping risks and cost of failure to the minimum.
There are two competing priorities here – innovation in the software development and quick turnaround along with low costs. Hence, the question is, how do ISV’s meet both these competing yet critical priorities. We made a short list of the “Big 4” that we thought are important to stay updated, bring innovation to the market along with incorporating flexibility in the software development environment.
- Get closer to the user – When software vendors have users using their products, whether B2B or B2C, this is validation enough that there is a market. Overtime, when looking for creativity and innovation in the software, business owners tend to get mesmerized with what they have versus the changing needs of the users. It is a decision on whether to incrementally change software for the sake of a new version or studying what the user really wants. Keeping abreast with the market, new technologies, competition and future trends is critical for ISV’s to be able to adopt and change quickly.
- Optimize and automate the build-test-deploy process – The need of the hour is shorter turnaround times along with agility and usage of technology to replace what is repetitive and manual. The automation of the build-test-deploy process will help companies improve product quality, shorten release cycles and reduce cost of development. Development and operations teams have to work hand in hand, to make this happen. Agile and lean processes form the core, and Agile must extend beyond development, including operations.
- Nurturing a team with qualified skills – Nothing replaces a good team and people with the right skill sets in order to help transform business from time to time. Nurturing the right talent is key for every ISV as it is the right people who are capable of accelerating the build-test-deploy process. It is important that the team members are exposed to various opportunities that will motivate them and help them grow.
- Embracing the new – Embracing technologies like AI and Machine Learning will be the way forward for Software companies. Implementing AI and Machine Learning within your framework by identifying the tools/platforms that provide it helps software companies improve quality by introducing standardization, reducing errors and ensuring faster turnaround times. Let us take the example of Testing. Organizations are focused on developing scalable test automation platforms, code-less scripting of test cases, producing production-grade software rather than “scripts”, and self-healing scripts that require minimum maintenance. These can easily be incorporated to reduce test times, increase accuracy and coverage. Also, embracing new technologies rather than shying away from them, significantly reduces costs thus freeing up dollars for design & development, and allowing for faster release of product to market.
In the end, strategies are “market tested” in a span of 3 to 6 months by way of continuous delivery. The Big 4 allows ISV’s to implement strategies and processes with a 360-degree view, bringing together the right people, processes and methods, tools and technologies, to stay competitive in the market. This are not a one-time activity and needs to be seamlessly integrated into the software development lifecycle.