Carlos Leyva

Silicon Stories

Chapter 2: Competitive Advantage

The Next Big Thing?

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You must be kidding. There will always be a next big thing! It is a meaningless question. Hopefully, this is not the question that you had foremost in your mind at this point in the discussion. The question I would be asking is “What can I do to improve upon this dreadful state of affairs?” Thanks for asking. The answer is simple, but its implementation is daunting: improve your organizational process literacy with respect to software development.

There is no question that software will become even more strategic going forward.

Much of a corporation’s expertise and procedures are represented in its software. Corporate software is rapidly growing in complexity. Packages, templates, software objects, and automated development tools will allow increasing complexity as time goes by, encapsulating an ever-growing body of human know-how. Some corporate software has become a valuable strategic resource that could not be replicated quickly by competing organizations.

When American Airlines was highly profitable, its CEO, Robert Crandell, was asked whether he would sell the airline. He replied that given the choice of selling the airline or selling its software, SABRE (which links the airline to booking agencies worldwide), he would rather sell the airline; the software was more valuable.

The remaining chapters in this book focus on heuristics that aim to improve corporate literacy in the software development process. The intended audience includes nearly all stakeholders within the firm, especially senior executives and information technology professionals.

Obviously, one need not become an IT professional in order to acquire the necessary literacy. However, a sustainable level of organizational literacy is required, since nearly everyone within the firm will be required to participate in these creative endeavors as we all build the software-centric enterprise. It is my firm belief that, for the foreseeable future, the software-centric enterprise will be the only type of enterprise that will consistently attain competitive advantage.

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