Call to Arms

“No organisation claimed that its success was due to the superior MIS, at least in terms of any formal IT-based systems…. However, the winning organisations were in general rather critical of their IT-based systems.”
Hubbard et al in “The First XI – Winning Organisations in Australia

The above statment reads like a call to arms for software vendors. The above-mentioned book is an in-depth analysis of Australia’s most successful eleven companies, including a CSP named Telstra. All eleven companies studied are reliant upon their IT systems for daily operations, but only Qantas’s yield management systems were held in high regard by the management of any of these companies.

Is it because their IT solutions are only a small part of their overall business model and aren’t perceived to be of significant value or is it because their systems don’t deliver a perception of value-for-money by surveyed leaders within each company? Perhaps it is only that their competitors have equally good IT systems, so there is negligible strategic advantage offered? Or perhaps it comes from the fact that the identified companies were established during a time when IT wasn’t as pervasive as it is now and IT has only supplemented existing, successful business models.

Why is this a call to arms for the software industry, including OSS vendors?
It means that no product is remarkable enough to be perceived to add significant value to an organisation, nor provide a competitive advantage. Perhaps this also means that software requirements should be evaluated first from a business benefits perspective rather than an engineering functionality perspective?

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