Software is the Central Nervous System of modern business, this is something that Bill Gates asserted way back in 1999 in his book “Business @ the Speed of Thought”, and it is even more true in 2013 than it was in 1999.
Software drives modern business, it is everywhere: it drives the ad campaigns that attract customers, it drives the sales whether they come in via the web, a call centre or via a till in a shop. It drives the stock management system that checks whether goods are available and if they need resupplying. It drives the supply chain, it drives the pace with which goods or services are delivered, it drives the financial transactions that support it all. In short terms, the claim that software is the Central Nervous System of modern business is a relatively uncontroversial one.
Organisational Parkinsons or Alzheimer
Yet senior management in many organisations treat software with a large amount of contempt, as if it was not important. Imagine suffering from a cancerous tumour on your brain, would any right thinking person scour the earths every corner for not the best, but the cheapest surgeon to remove the tumour?
I wouldn’t think so, yet this is exactly how senior management in many organisations deal with the surgeons of their organisational Central Nervous System: never mind ability, who can make the loftiest promises at the cheapest quoted price? It doesn’t take a genius to see that this is madness, and in many cases akin to suicide by accepting a slow degenerative disease to your organisations central nervous system.
You have probably seen this in your travels if you have been in software long enough: siloed systems and data, left hand unaware of what the right hand is doing, endless death marches failing to deliver and many other things eventually resulting in the organisation slowly but surely being unable to react to changing market conditions, unable to seize or even recognise opportunities in front of it.
Though you may not realise it, this is exactly what the organisational version of Parkinsons and Alzheimers disease looks like.
Senior Managers and Executives everywhere are treating the Central Nervous Systems of their businesses with dangerous disdain by means of neglect, prioritising cost over value and seeing software as separate from the rest of their business operations. It can only end in one way: the slow onset of a degenerative disease that at first will seem like a minor nuisance, but that will eventually ensure that what may once have been a glorious, successful organisation slowly fades away and becomes a pale shadow of what it was, before it ultimately meets its end.