Rigidity and flexibility

The conventional software model, provided by big companies, does not put any premium on flexibility. The customer should know what they want in advance, we build it, and it is much more expensive for us to keep changing it.

When flexibility is expensive, then everyone benefits from keeping everything standardised – the Model T Ford business model.

But software flexibility is much less expensive today than it used to be.

We can envisage a world where all the data software might need is available on a platform, it just needs someone to build a tool to help the various domain experts access and work with whatever they want, whenever they want it. They can try something out, throw it away and try something else.

Ultimately the domain experts could build their tools themselves and change them whenever they want – leading to ultimate flexibility.

Now like many things in the business world, it is one thing to imagine a better world, another to put the various business incentives in the right place for it to be built.

If software companies are in charge, they are unlikely to embed more flexibility unless customers force them to, or they can see a new business angle from doing so.

But if the customers are defining how stuff is put together, then everything changes.


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