Business Rants Technology

IT “Industry”

I say “industry” but there’s no real regulation put in by the government (at least here) which keeps the industry in check. For one, it’s not illegal to provide IT services or build software without a licence, while in more established industries, it is illegal to, for example, provide medical, financial, engineering or manufacturing services (where people’s lives are at risk) without a licence. Anyway, that’s not a formal classification or rule, just an idea that appeals to me. Why the necessity to make the distinction?

Over the last decade of building software, i’ve seen a fair share of hair-brained ideas. I’ve also seen some brilliant ones. What i haven’t seen much of though, is brilliant management. I’ve seen some, but these generally come from the business-oriented bunch who just happen to end up in IT; very rarely from tech-savvy management trying to keep a business going. In fact, most of the time, tech-savvy management who try to run their business without business-focused partners end up either working way too much overtime (work = life =work) or going belly up. Somehow, there exists this hype perpetuated by punctuated newsworthy stories of geeks-in-a-garage-cashing-in. So if they can do it, why can’t we? ‘Cos not every story turns out that way.

And particularly software. Manufacturing, distribution or sales, whether it’s IT or food, is the same thing, mostly. That is, the science and art of management has been established and the discipline is well understood. Software, on the other hand, doesn’t fit the mould. Yes, it’s plain manufacturing, distributing and selling, but therein lies the rub. You approach it with business fundamentals, and it works, but if you don’t adapt some of those implementations; you get left behind- and quickly. You toss out the fundamentals in order to keep up; you get dropped behind- even quicker.

As an example, my last company just liquidated. There are lots of different stories as to why, how, when, where or who. Bottom line, no more business. I can only comment on the software aspect; not the rest of the operation. So the only thing i do know is that it was very tricky getting the software strategy just right. Everyone pushed and pulled and chewed on this one all the time trying to get it to work. Maybe, with a little more time, it could have worked out ok in the end? Next time 🙂

More evidence supporting the notion that “software is hard”. And it makes me wonder how different things would be if you had to be officially licenced/qualified, by law, to operate in providing a software writing service. Not a fly-by-night programming course. Not a dummy’s guide to programming. Something professionally trustworthy and legally accountable. I wonder just how far would that go towards stabilising the “industry”? Make it more reputable and have governing bodies presiding over fair exchange between vendors and clients; also ultimately curbing the number of software businesses that just don’t make it.

Neh. Where would we be without the hype? It’s part of the magic of this little world 😉

2 replies on “IT “Industry””

I hear you but do you not think that this will make an already pricey industry more expensive (supply and demand)

More than likely. Once you got legal liability included, you would need to offset the costs somewhere. Then given the complex, dynamic and sometimes unpredictable interactions of systems, the risks would justify a high professional insurance premium, especially given that most systems underpin a business; so who’s more than likely to bear that cost? Same ol’: the consumer/client.

But as long as the law of demand operates within the “industry”, the cost-benefit and fair exchange of value will remain intact, no matter how expensive it gets.

And even as expensive as its seen, most companies can (need to?) afford to pay the premiums since they’re reaping in a fair share return on their investment over time. So even then, the perceived expensiveness is comparatively cheap in the long run. And if it were any other way, economics would have dictated a different price by now. Although, that’s not to say it won’t still.

Build it once, sell it a million times. Where else in the production world do you get that kind of potential? (As long as it works, right?)

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