Software is now a part of our lives. Software development in scrum and terms like Kanban or SAFe are becoming more common.

When you read about agile and scaling agile, it's often about creating software products. Scrum teams often have engineers, and the result is code. Many discussions and processes pass on the code, and it, therefore, affects software platforms.

Our partner Atlassian proposed back in 2013 that every company is a software company. In this section, I'll show why this is relevant.

The main reason for the importance of software in literally all industries is that customers use it to make transactions. It's not only something they need but also something they want.

As I write this, I'm sitting in a hotel that the internet helped me to find. The hotel's website helped me to understand why what it has to offer is worth taking a look at. The booking process on the site took my reservation and software-enabled me to find my way here. At the reception desk, software helped the clerk to check me in. In all kinds of interactions, software helps staff to deliver and customers to receive a better experience.

Software is essential for complex processes and products. It can help explain the overall process to customers and can guide them in their specific situations. In turn, software will gather the information that can serve for later consulting and customer service.

Computer programming is everywhere - in your private life, as well as your business life. The more routine a job, the more likely it's been taken over by a machine. One of our partners, Tech Time in New Zealand, uses the following slogan: "Be Lazy. The machine does it better." Now artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are being applied to conquer new fields long dominated by human cognition. It's not only the tedious and repetitive production line work that was taken over long ago by smarter machines. 

But let's not dive too deep into future trends. Let's look at some more examples where software helps with the customer experience and a company's internal processes. 

All industries benefit from internal software that enables them to store customer data and organize it to get the right information when dealing with a client. All ERP and CRM systems fall into this category. However, other productivity software - such as issue trackers, team task management software, wikis, project management software, and communication tools - all help internal processes and customers.

If you are in the oil and gas industry, you need custom software to manage your oil rigs and wells. You need software to manage the resources and sell them smartly at the right time. As a commercial real estate company, you want software to monitor the buildings you already own and to control the construction of new ones. This is not only a Gantt chart with a building timeline; every aspect of the management of a big commercial building is software-enabled today. Temperature, airflow, water, heating, doors, wind, air conditioning, and several other metrics are all measured and influenced. 

If you are a car manufacturer, you've probably been using machines for decades to automate even the tiniest elements of your production process. Software takes care of the whole thing - from planning to delivery. Customers use software online to configure cars, as well as to buy and sell them. Software will be used to estimate their worth and to help repair them. Software not only stores all information about the cars in manuals and online databases, but also helps to steer them while driving with embedded systems onboard. 

The Tesla company is worth more than BMW and Mercedes, even though it produces only a fraction of the number of cars, and its production quality is lower. Tesla is valued so highly because of its software. Its vehicles are computers with wheels that follow traditional software patterns. They get regular updates, even on the road. These cars continue to "learn" after being sold. A BMW grows old as its software becomes stale without software updates.

Software is a crucial differentiator, and not only for car manufacturers. 

If you work in insurance, the calculation of your products' prices has relied on software for decades. You have stored all the data on your clients and their cases on software for years. You use software to guide your routine processes. Some of your more clever competitors now claim to have delegated the whole process, from offers to claim processing, to computers and software. Your website will help explain, calculate the prices of, and sell your products.

Banks rely on software so much that many people fear the disruption of their core business by specialized service providers. Think of Paypal as a means of exchanging money. Cryptocurrencies have replicated in a few years many of the financial elements and offerings that banks have built and maintained over centuries. Software is fuelling this transition.

You get the point, and you can probably name a multitude of software applications that you encounter in your job every day that I did not mention. The prevalence of software is so high that I am deeply convinced that children should learn to code early. Even if they do not become software developers, it will help them work with engineers and understand their world and its challenges.

When we now look at agile and scaling agile, it's no longer a disadvantage that it often leans toward software development procedures and uses engineers and scrum teams that build software as examples.

I am continually asking myself if scrum, SAFe, and agile at large are suitable for software teams. Also, do they help those teams to spread even further through their productivity gains? Or is it that business teams are reminded (through the use of SAFe, scrum, kanban, and other agile methodologies) that software development could and should become a more significant part of their daily routine?

Whether or not your team is developing software today, software already plays a critical role in your team, your company, and your business life. This will not change in the foreseeable future.

I would love to stay in touch. Please contact me.

About the book

This is a work in progress book project. All research and preparations are public. Learn more.

About the author

Martin Seibert

Martin Seibert is the CEO of Seibert Media in Germany. He has written German books on Enterprise Wikis (2011) and Intranets (2020). This is going to be his third book.

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This content was last updated on 07/12/2021.

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