The more different views you have about the same subject, the more information you will have to take your conclusions and make decisions if needed. This first article about IT evolution had a sight from developers and a very superficial business view. This new article aims to look from the perspective of clients buying software and how they are different even inside the same industries.
How software used to be bought
In past years, companies used to buy software like any other commodity: I want 5 cars with 4 wheels each, manual transmission and white painted. They didn’t mind on how their software is produced, or any kind of good practices to apply on the process. Yes, inside the software requirement documents were sections regarding security, protocols and things like that, but at the end of everything, the lowest price would win.
Old (not too much) decision matrix
The decision matrix (example below using a car buying process) were very simple when selecting the criteria. They were also superficial. The high level criteria were easily like: security levels, performance, proposed schedule, price, scope coverage, success cases, knowledge on selected technology, etc. With this decision matrix, the weights are given according to each project. But the price and schedule, after all the criteria evaluation would still determine who wins.
On the example above: what exactly is comfort and styling for this buyer? Safety can be evaluated using governamental public data. This is a parallel to show how none of the criteria is detailed.
Anyone saying that could cover the entire scope, under the asked schedule having a fixed amount of money could win the fight for the projects. If they didn’t have knowledge enough, it wouldn’t make huge difference. After everything, software was treated like any other product. It doesn’t matter how it’s made. It just matter that it works.
Recent decision matrix
Leaving behind government industry, and few others not affected even a bit by digital transformation, the reality has been changing.
What I’ve seen lately is an increasing spend of time on detailing the criteria. For each of the criteria, the buyers want to know what the supplier have already done, how they plan to conduct the solution and also want to evaluate alternatives for everything.
- Security: ensure the information exchange will occur under a controlled environment? Tactics for code obfuscation. Platform natural security concerns. Cloud provider certifications, etc;
- Schedule: from “a detailed schedule” (which is never achieved) to “a macro view of time and a mix of agile methodologies to be followed”;
- Success cases: show where/when similar solutions were already created;
- UX: from “the system has to have good usability” (completely subjective) to “it must follow UX guidelines from Google and be conducted by a specific professional, not by developers”;
- Performance: from “the system has to load under 10 seconds” to “each endpoint must answer under 2 seconds”;
- Scope: from “do everything desired” to “let’s do the most we can inside the schedule”;
The companies want to know how their project will be conducted in details, and they also want to put their opinion on it. Since the digital transformation is making companies to turn their core into IT, the IT is not a support anymore. So now they are able to suggest things and to talk at the same level of the consultancies.
With this comparision and evolution scene, the MVP mindset is very clear. Also the goals to achieve faster time-to-market and faster revenues.
Different requests inside the same industry
The report above is true for 100% of companies on the most mature industries in Brazil. But for the rest of industries, using retail as an example, it’s not:
There are stores who are already evolving their ecommerces for security, performance, scalability, stability and the most important: user experience. But there’s also those who treat their online stores as something needed. Is common to copy layout practices from concurrents. Also, security is expensive. Then some companies have a budget to lose due to hacker invasions, instead of investing to security.
The good news is that the market is evolving faster and faster. Soon no industry will be behind.