I am fortunate that my job gives me opportunities to meet many CEOs and Owner-Managers. Most times, these top managers are masters at what they do and run their companies very successfully. However, the moment I start talking to them about software, and how it can help transform their organizations, I can see their defences going up, and many of them smiling, tell me that they don’t understand software and that software is not their business.
Perhaps it is the image of “Software” that brings about this reaction. Nerds crouched over laptops, writing code, in languages with odd names, with computer screen reflected in thick glasses! And I tell them you need not understand software development to get it to work for you. You know your business well and that is what counts.
Software is no longer just a support system for your business, managing your accounts and payroll etc. The role of software has evolved to becoming a part of the business. Successful businesses use software as a strategic tool to implement business ideas quickly. The lines between software as a support tool and software as an integral part of your business are blurring rapidly. As an example, for a retail driven business having multiple points of sale across many locations, introducing pricing changes or introducing new promotions is now easily doable through centrally managed software. Such decisions can be managed in almost no time, and with a very small amount of effort. However, in absence of well architected and implemented software, such changes to the way of doing business would take an unacceptably long time to implement, giving the competition a strong edge.
To draw parallel, software is like Electricity – by itself, electricity does not do much, but it is (obviously) absolutely necessary for business operations. While, again obviously, it is not necessary to understand what goes into producing or distributing electricity, similarly for software, as long as one knows what one wants from ones business processes, it can be delivered through software.
Going forward, businesses will be completely dependent on software. There will be no other way to do business. The success and efficiency of a business will be determined by how effectively and strategically software has been deployed. Some investment of time and effort to understand the capabilities of software is definitely needed, to deny this need is perhaps oversimplifying the challenges today’s businesses face. That said, I also know that once a CXO puts his mind to it, the benefits and how those can be achieved become clear very rapidly. Clearly, software is everyone’s business!!
About the Author:
Sanjay Agarwala is the Founder and Managing Director of Eastern Software Systems Pvt. Ltd. An IIMA Alumini, he has extensive experience in the IT Industry spanning over three decades. Mr. Agarwala is one of the pioneers in opening up the African markets for an Indian company and is an authority on how to initiate and sustain a business operation in Africa.