Defining Software Product Engineering Services
Software product engineering is a key branch of engineering that deals with technology platforms across industries. Decades after the famous quote by Marc Andreessen - “Software is eating the world”, we have started to realize the true power of software across industries. A tectonic shift has happened in terms of operating, business model, and industry structure. The power and importance of data have forced us to rethink privacy concerns and formulate laws like GDPR. Previously ISVs targeted primarily the B2B segment but the internet companies targeted the B2C segments and crated new segments that eventually brought structural changes in several industries. Slowly, some of the internet companies have started to venture into the traditional areas also (such as through IoT platforms and smart manufacturing narratives, they are targeting the industrial vertical). This is an opportunity for the service providers as internet companies continue to explore new areas.
Here we will discuss key aspects of the overall software product engineering domain, key engineering features, and outsourcing.
Key players in the software product engineering domain:
The presence of enterprise platforms was there for a long time with widespread adoption. In the post-dot-com bubble era, internet companies started to flourish in new areas such as e-commerce, internet search, social media, etc. Over the years, internet companies have become dominant over the traditional enterprise platform enterprises and are now at the forefront of all the cutting-edge developments (IoT, AR/VR, etc.).
- Enterprise Platforms: Includes enterprises that are offering platforms for specific horizontals (such as CRM, PLM, ERP) and industry-oriented workflows. Examples include GE, ANSYS. JDA Software etc.
- Internet Companies: Includes enterprises that are operating in e-commerce, ride-hailing, online content platforms, and social media among others. Examples include Google, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, etc.
Software product engineering segmentation by components:
This segmentation can be conceptualized from both horizontal and vertical perspectives. The horizontal ones cut across the verticals, creating a matrix structure overall. Some of the ISVs play in both segments. For example, Oracle has its broad ERP software offerings along with specific industry portfolio (such as Retail). ServiceNow’s initial offerings were horizontal in the ITSM domain, but now it is developing more industry-oriented workflows. Siemens has PLM software along with industrial software offerings.
- Vertical ISVs: Includes enterprises offering industry-specific software acrossBFSI, Healthcare, Retail, Manufacturing, Utilities, Telecom, Travel, etc. Examples include FIS, SWIFT, Genesys Telecommunications, etc.
- Technology ISVs: Includes companies catering to enterprise technology, consumer technology, etc. Examples include SAP, Salesforce, Pegasystems, etc.
Key trends in the software product engineering domain:
Some of the key trends of software product engineering are highlighted below:
- Platform engineering: With the success of internet companies, the platform concept has become very popular due to the network effect. As ecosystem collaboration has become essential for the success of most initiatives, thus platform engineering tenets are used across industries and applications.
- Cloud-native, Agile, DevOps, & API: With the advent of digital, access from anywhere is critical with modular technology architecture. So, cloud computing and API concepts are becoming a must for software product engineering. As “Fail Fast” and “Continuous Improvement” are becoming the key tenets of development, so adoption of agile methodology and DevOps are increasing.
- Product management: Enterprises are shifting from their “Project-oriented mindset” to “Product-oriented mindset”. This brings the adoption of modern technology practice, digital mindset, and organizational culture change among others. A product-oriented approach helps in centralized control with less complexity, the easy & rapid rollout of new features, and enhanced customer experience.
- Low Code/No Code development (LCNC): According to experts, the future of coding is no coding. Though it is quite an ambitious statement with several constraints, LCNC has brought several benefits (rapid deployment) to certain stakeholders (particularly business users).
- Emerging technologies: With the advent of emerging technologies (IoT, AR/VR, voice recognition, etc.), the applications of software product engineering are not limited to traditional IT applications rather extended to a modern application like infotainment.
- Privacy & cybersecurity: Data privacy and cybersecurity are critical for the success of any software application/platform primarily from a user trust point of view. Enterprises have to maintain user anonymity, country of origin, etc. to comply with the local rules.
Software product engineering services opportunity:
Engineering service providers can focus on the key segments of software product engineering as mentioned below.
- New Product Development: Includes ideation & conceptualization, architecture design,
UI/UX design, prototyping, and core Development
- Product Sustenance: Includes product reengineering, maintenance, enhancements, change management, localization, and end of life support
- Product Testing: Includes unit testing, functional testing, non-functional testing among others
- Product Deployment: Includes build and release management, customization, documentation, and data migration
- Product Support: Includes helpdesk, technical support, and upgrades
- Product Management: Developing product roadmap, managing product user groups, customer relationship management