Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Software - hard learning

I have always believed that software industry is few miles ahead of other sizable service industries in terms of structuring and delivery. They have another advantage- of being at the forefront of the technology as well. Everytime I interact with a software company as a client, I get things to learn. The eternal student inside me feels happy taking up strategy assignments with these companies. Here are the leanings from a recent one-

1. MOST OF SOFTWARE COMPANIES ARE TURNING PLATFORM AGNOSTIC
There was a time where being married to Microsoft or Oracle or similar ones, would make you a specialist. Over a period companies have realized that everyone has options and it makes sense to support them.

2. SAS- Software as a service is the next game
Products don’t exist any more; there are only services. In physical realm, it is increasingly becoming true and software industry sure is leading the way.

3. CLOUD COMPUTING AND VIRTUAL MACHINES
Concept of optimization of resources through virtual structuring and leveraging the power of distributed intelligence is another learning for other domains, what this industry is able to do with the concept of cloud computing.

4. NLP – Natural Language Processing
It was mentioned to me in a strange example. How ‘Soccer Mom and Soccer Dad’ in USA need to plan their schedule better using intelligence of NLP-programmes which pick-up sentences off the emails like ‘take Jack to the class same time next week’, and automatically update the calendar with appointment, after understanding the meaning of ‘next week, same time’.

5. HYBRID OPERATOR
‘Let me hand it over to my manager’- this could be possibly the machine-speak. Single person manages 4-5 calls at a given point of time in a high-tech call center, by intelligently responding
to the inquiries through pre-drafted ‘voice snippets’. Wow, there is more space between ‘human’ and ‘digital’.

6. iPod apps is passé, Facebook apps is in vogue
When it comes to eye-balls, new levers are emerging. Social networking sites, offer multitudes of avenues to engage the onlookers into a meaningful sale.

7. WATERFALL v/s AGILE MODE OF WORKING
Chopping the large deliverables into smaller concurrent pieces make the programme handlable in smaller team lots. Linear ‘waterfall’ models are outdated now. Manufacturing industry had a name for it ‘concurrent engineering’.
8. DRIP in EMAILs
Email based promotions have reached a new level of understanding as far as automated mailers is concerned. Drip irrigation is closest I can think of, in capturing the essence.

Well, this is something which was my learning with one client in one hour. This is a common place knowledge for an ‘techy’. For me, these are nuggets of knowledge paradigms, which when applied to other domains, can bring transformations. I am at my job…watch out!!