Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 - The Rebirth of In-house Development

The change in the dynamics of the world economic situation will change how companies consider capital investments. In particular, the high cost: initial license, implementation and ongoing warranty costs of software will receive a very high focus. As companies, even whole industries, realize that they need to make radical and fast changes to their business models there will be a mandate for the software systems to change at the same rate of speed. The current model of using Commercial Off-the-shelf software (COTS) and high cost implementation consultants will not be able to respond to this new situation.

In the 1970s and 80s there were large in-house IT development staffs that in the 90s were seen as resistant to COTS and client-server. This was true. However, now we have a new paradigm of agile, "open" development that really does connect the end customer of the software with the developers (eXtreme Programming and similar methodologies). Using these "new" methodologies we can reintroduce the in-house programming teams and couple them with the open source community to leverage an even bigger effort to develop and maintain software. The in-house staffs can keep the software current with business requirements and feed those changes back into the community.

For most companies, the support software isn't strategic to the company's success. It is only a tool. If they are using a system such as SAP R/3, Oracle's manufacturing system or others then they probably only use a fraction of the total capability, yet pay a license for much more. By leveraging the Open Source Community they will not be put at a competative disadvange, rather will be able to be at an advantage by reducing costs while increasing the speed at which they can change their internal processes.

In 2009 we will see that systems such as OpenBravo, Alfresco, Knowledgetree and Pentaho become more prevelant. Protocols such as XMPP/Jabber will be used to power scalable interfaces between modules of these systems as well as with companies, their customers and suppliers such as it has with the Evergreen Library system.