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Complexity Makes Software Hard

The reasons software has been made a part of products and/or is included in the core of business processes are plentiful. Software is perceived to have a relatively low implementation cost. It enables the reuse of more expensive hardware. The quality of service can be improved by depending on high reliability computer automation rather than fallible human effort and business productivity can more easily be improved by capturing improved processes in software. Finally integration of business processes via IT can result in huge productivity gains.

However, there is a price to pay. Such integration increases the software complexity. This may seriously hamper long term business adaptability. It is bad enough if you are in control of the entire integrated IT system. In a flat business organisation this may not be the case and in B2B this is definitely not the case.

  • it is very difficult to get an integration interface right the first time
  • it is equally difficult to get it right every time the integration interface has to change.

The complexity of software has become an important contributor to the inertia against change. Software complexity and the resulting difficulty to change software may cause a significant loss of business adaptability. Quite the opposite to what was intended when resorting to software based business solutions in the first place.

Sverker Griph, December 2001

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2007-10-23 14:31

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