The worldwide economy steadily grows year after year. There are stops and starts as financial crises or pandemics sweep around the globe, but markets always correct and growth always begins anew. Now that we’re firmly entrenched in the 21st century, it’s clear what’s driving this constant growth in the modern age: software.
Looking back now, we can see the 20th century was a period of software experimentation, introduction and adoption. Companies and society at large welcomed and became familiar with personal computers and cellular telephones and the internet.
Here in the 21st century, we’re experiencing a period of software innovation and proliferation the likes of which the world has never seen before. Software is becoming more plentiful, more powerful and more intelligent. It now powers everything from important business processes to day-to-day life for individuals at home.
This period of rapid innovation and proliferation has profound consequences for the way that we live and the way that we work. At Sastrify, we are striving to play a role that’s not just helpful in this modern world powered by software — we’re seeking to play an essential role in helping businesses maximize the value they derive from software.
Below, you will find a brief exploration of software’s evolution over the past few decades, as well as a vision for software’s future — and the mission that Sastrify seeks to fulfill within it.
The 3 Stages of Software’s Evolution
In 1948, a computer scientist at England’s University of Manchester wrote the first piece of software — a program that calculated the answer to a math problem in 52 minutes. In the 70-plus years since that first program solved a problem, the sophistication and power of software has steadily accelerated. Here’s a look at the 3 general stages of software’s evolution through these decades.
1. Systems of Record
The earliest pieces of software were systems of record. Filing cabinets filled with reams of paper and other documents were replaced by computer programs, including databases initially and then customer relationship management (CRM) and other data entry systems. As systems of record became more and more powerful and complex, computer storage of records became more and more efficient — requiring less and less physical space over time. Computers that occupied large rooms in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s were sitting on desktops by the 1980s and 1990s.
2. Systems of Engagement
Broad access to the internet started to change software development in the 1990s and into the 2000s. Software developers and companies pivoted from simple systems of record to systems of engagement. This collective shift is known simply as Web 2.0 — dynamic webpages and user-generated content (and later social media) replaced the simple, static webpages of the early internet. In business settings, software systems of engagement allowed for collaboration among colleagues in the same location — and even in remote locations.
3. Systems of Intelligence
Here in 2021 and beyond, we have arrived at a new phase of software’s evolution. Today, systems of intelligence (SOIs) are rapidly replacing traditional systems of engagement. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are allowing for a higher degree of automation than the world has ever experienced. This shift toward automation can and will make an impact on the global economy equal to and likely greater than the industrial revolution of the 19th century.
The question is: How will businesses navigate this new phase of software development, finding ways to maximize the capabilities now available to them?
The 3 Software Challenges of the Present and Future
As companies try to make sense of the modern software landscape, they face 3 significant challenges:
- Budgeting: As for-profit enterprises, software companies are regularly updating their pricing structures to capitalize on market opportunity. This creates uncertainty for businesses. For example, as a business becomes accustomed to using a specific program, and as that program becomes an essential part of its daily operations, the risk of a sudden price change for that software becomes greater.
- Procurement: Most companies have not perfected the software procurement process. The departments and teams within any business are focused on taking to market products and services, and they rarely have the in-house knowledge, experience or capabilities to make effective software buying decisions.
- Continued Evolution: The software industry continues to evolve. New innovations can make existing software products obsolete. New regulations can make software inaccessible or unusable in different parts of the world. And the changing internet landscape can quickly shift the software needs of any business.
Too often, the 3 challenges listed above force companies to regularly switch their software tools. These software changes come at a cost, including the significant cost of migration, plus time spent evaluating software options and providing training to team members to accelerate adoption. At Sastrify, we believe there are ways to overcome these 3 challenges and to empower companies to make software decisions that bring certainty, productivity and value to their businesses.
Why We Do What We Do at Sastrify
At Sastrify, we have a vision of how the software landscape will continue to evolve over the next decades. We believe that, in the next 10 years, workers across the global economy will be highly augmented by machines. Lingering systems of record and systems of engagement will transform into systems of intelligence. The mundane and repetitive tasks that have traditionally characterized work life will be replaced by automation. Humans will instead focus on interesting tasks that are too difficult or complex for a machine to solve independently.
In this highly automated future, any company’s competitive advantages will derive from their selection of SOIs. It will be important for companies to choose, use and combine SOIs that maximize their productivity and their ability to serve customers. Companies will not develop their own SOIs, though, because the time, money and resources to do so would be prohibitive.
This means all companies must focus and emphasize buying the right SOIs in order to achieve their full potential.
That is our mission at Sastrify: to support companies across all industries and around the globe in evaluating and selecting the right SOIs, negotiating favorable prices and terms for those SOIs, and then combining SOIs for maximum impact.
Choosing the right software vendor can deliver tremendous upside for business outcomes. It’s no stretch to say that software can make a difference in a startup’s success or failure, or a difference in an established company gaining or losing market share to the competition.
Unfortunately, companies are becoming overly reliant on software vendors, which creates a significant dependency risk. At the same time, the number of vendors and their various specializations are growing, too — creating a fast-changing software ecosystem that few companies can hope to master or keep up with.
Given the uncertain and fast-changing software environment, companies will thrive by establishing an agile process for buying decisions to create efficiency and effectiveness. This is the value that Sastrify delivers to its customers — an agile process that minimizes risk while maximizing business outcomes.
The future of software, of business and of the global economy will continue to grow closer on the horizon. At Sastrify, our services empower companies to embrace this coming future rather than fear it.
Learn more about our services and the ways we support our clients as they navigate the software landscape today and in the years to come.