We have become inundated with software. This was likely to happen as we have previously become inundated with hardware.
The vast majority of us own smartphones, laptops and tablets, each we use for purposes that are constantly merging together like the colors of a rainbow. If you thought for a moment that the ‘software’ (I mean ‘apps’) available for your Android device or portable Apple device is all games, think again. There are well over 30 thousand apps available on Google Play in the Business category, over 20 thousand in the Productivity category. (What exactly is the differentiation, I don’t know.)
What is the next step of this evolution? Customizable software.
While consulting software developers scrambled to get clients systems onto mobile platforms, software companies and start-ups worked on software to make easy to do. Here is my real world example: Take a look at my resume and you’ll see a number of custom systems built for field data collection. We build these systems, from the ground up, to work on various Windows laptops. We connect them to Relational databases, allowing us to add functionality easily, and report from the data in flexible ways.
Separate the main function of the system, from the flexibility of reporting and RDBMS, and the system could be brought to an Android platform by simply utilizing one of the many apps available that allow you to build your own ‘Survey’.
So where does a programmer go when there is a plethora of software available that touts its feature set includes: “No programming skills necessary.”?
Here is where:
· Understanding of the data
· Data manipulation
· Custom report generation
· Batch processes
Everything the canned software isn’t providing, we can do. This doesn’t even have to leave the client without the benefit of the customizable software. A recent solution includes the use of an Android Survey App, thought at first to compete with our service, when the client saw the CSV output of the app, and how we could develop an ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) process to move the output to their already structured database, we showed the client we were aware of other opportunities they had (using canned software), and how we could facilitate that in the best manner possible.