If software is driven by the customer then everything changes

The software industry is driven in 2016 by software vendors – whose objective is usually selling complex software for high prices, which tie the client down.

How can we be sure of this? Because if we start with software from the customer’s perspective we come up with completely different answers to the ones we currently have.

A customer would most like their software to be highly flexible and configurable, present exactly what different domain experts need to know, perhaps have a range of ‘apps’ to do different tools which is separate (and from a separate supplier) to the company which provides the database and transaction engine below. No constraints from the way the data is stored.

In other words, when we think about software from the customer’s perspective first, the ‘Software for Domain Experts’ approach almost naturally emerges.

Moving further with this – the ‘internet of things’ is a completely vendor driven idea. Show me a customer who would like an ‘internet of things’. The domain we understand well, shipping, is a great playground for proponents of ‘internet of things’ because there is so much you could put a sensor on, yet the value generated is almost nothing, because the information experts actually want to know, such as how much fuel did my ship use today and how far did it move, can be generated with two sensors – a fuel gauge and a GPS.

I’m not trying to bash the vendors – because they have done far more to drive the software industry than customers ever have. But I think it is worth us all understanding, when we get frustrated with software, or can see it can do far more, that is probably because there isn’t enough ‘customer driving’ out there. And if we could get customers driving more, we could end up with software which does more for everyone and potentially creates more value for everyone.

How can we get there?

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