October 13, 2015
The Value of Software
Software is changing the world. At first we thought it was the ‘computer revolution’ but time has shown that the ‘software revolution’ is far more important. Industry after industry has been transformed by software. Our pest control industry will also be transformed. This post is intended to look at the big question of why software is so important.
The injection of software into any industry provides an immediate competitive advantage. The company without effective software quickly finds themselves falling behind other providers. How is it that software can make such a difference? One reason stands above all others. Software provides a platform for growing and improving the industry. The expression, “A rising tide lifts all boats”, fits here. Software provides a rising tide. And it does it with ‘stepping stones’ and ‘new tools’.
Lets look at ‘stepping stones’ first. Stepping stones can allow us to cross a small stream or help start a new business. In business, they provide a foundation of experience for new entrants. Software screens and processes codify an industry’s best practices as ‘stepping stones’. Software provides new users with many lessons and techniques that were formerly only knowable to people with 30 years experience. This framework of experience, allows all its new users a leg-up with introductory experience. Good software, in any industry, is effectively the distilled wisdom of hundreds or even thousands of companies that have participated it its creation. And really good software is rapidly appearing today in every industry.
How does this knowledge get into the software? Good software developers have a strong relationship with their users, so that their ideas and suggestions quickly make it into the software. At PestaRoo, we get great suggestions every single day for making the software easier to use and more powerful. So, again, software is the distilled best functions that our companies need and use. Ideas and processes flow into software from our experienced companies, fleshing out more of the software’s power every day.
Without software, a new start-up company struggles to “learn the ropes”. But with software, they start with the many years of experience that is embedded into that software. Imagine starting a company with a set of ‘helpers’ who, between them, have many many years of experience to guide you. That is what software is. Even established companies are constantly picking up ideas from their software also. In essence, software is the vehicle where ‘best practices’ spread throughout an industry. It makes every user a better player.
A famous affirmation says, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Or more simply put, “We discover new truths by building on previous discoveries”. This is what software really does. It makes each us better, and leads to ever growing improvements in our industry. It allows each of us to stand upon the shoulders of the more experienced companies in our industry. And in a healthy software ecosystem, we work with our software developers to give back what we learn. At the same time, the experienced companies pick up new tricks from the newer generation of companies. And so the software improves hand-in-hand with the overall industry. Stepping stones for each of us.
Second, software provides new tools. Tools that appear ‘magically’ with each new version. Tools providing new ways to grow and improve your business. A new icon, or a new graphic in your software can be all it takes to open your eyes to new possibilities. In other cases help files, support documents, and blogs may be where you bump into a new idea or technique. But they are there to the people with open eyes. Software is not static, but dynamically ever growing.
Take this example: Imagine walking into a fine workshop filled with wonderful tools. Perhaps a large clean workbench sites in the middle of the room. A stack of finely cured lumber is stacked along the wall. It just begs you to explore a bit. Look in the cupboards. Open the drawers. Feel each tool carefully with your hands. Look at the care with which that are made. Admire their design. You’ll quickly find a growing desire to try out each of these tools.
In analogy, that is what software is… a collection of wonderful tools, well-honed for their respective tasks. And because your software is probably a subscription, you know that with each new update there will be new tools and ideas waiting for you to test out. Developers work every day to build new tools to enhance the software. And these new tools don’t just appear from random thoughts, they develop out of excellent ideas from smart and creative companies in the industry, and from outside industries. So, in addition to stepping stones of experience, software provides new tools and techniques with every update. Shipping bytes instead of atoms has become the key agent to economic growth and change. And it should be updated constantly. This is why all quality software is sold as a subscription, rather than a static purchase. Do you want an old toaster that never changes? Or, a tool box that keeps surprising you with new tools? A tool box that actively helps you adapt and even flourish in today’s rapid changes. Subscriptions mean new tools.
Software enhances every industry via these two methods. Stepping stones and new tools. To grow your business and to be part of the rising tide, embrace software that is built around these two ideas. You will win, and the industry wins with you. Good software helps to make you an industry leader, while companies without software become followers. As is much of life, it is “lead or follow”.
The tools for the software developer are also improving at an unprecedented rate. And those tools are helping us build great (not just good) software for our own industries, like pest control. Software is going to dramatically transform our pest control industry in the next ten years.