Saturday, March 14, 2009

Getting ready for the next boom

The keynote address at yesterday's Application Platform Congress was given by Sam Guckenheimer, Microsoft's Group Product Planner for VSTS, and one point he discussed really resonated with me.

To paraphrase, he said that all applications begin in some shape or form as custom applications before maturing into everyday, off-the-shelf solutions that have broad acceptance and implementation. Smart companies, however, are the ones that invest first in custom applications and new technologies that fit their business, thus gaining first-mover advantage over their competition. The earlier you go in, the more advantage you enjoy.

It sounds terribly obvious when you hear it, but it's a different message from the one that many vendors have been pushing these past few years (one-size-fits-all solutions) and ties in with my own experience that you're better off getting your software to work the way your business works than adapting your business processes to suit the limitations of your software.

The wonderful truth in 2009 is, there are no limitations in IT projects - everything is possible - except those imposed by time and other resources. And even then, you really can do more with less nowadays. It's a great time to be a developer.

(It's also a great time to be a customer. If you believe you're going to survive the current downturn, now's the time to think about where you want to be when business picks up. Maybe now you've got a little more time on your hands?)