In olden times, before 2007, companies could compete and win based on who had the best technical horsepower. The best data centers? Winner! The most powerful mainframes? Superstar! The best enterprise architecture? Buy the stock!
This all made sense at the time. In the industrial economy, the best steam engines, factory equipment, business machines all gave magnificent commercial advantage. That philosophy survived, but in the digital economy many of the advantages we think we get from our machines are really mirages, reflections of the past, false flags.
Now, in our post-pandemic actual digital economy, the real competitive advantage is less about the machines and more about … us! We’re in the early days of the phase where people using these fantastic new tools, are bringing new experiences to life, and changing how business is done.
Software of, by, and for … People!
“People are important” is not the headline here. That’s always been true. At today’s current point in the digital technology evolution, we must recognize the industry control point is not the machines—the bits and bytes and FLOPS and hertz—it’s the humans building and using the new tools that are primarily software.
Consider the past for a moment. We think of the Industrial Revolution as a point in time, but what we miss is that it took a long time (more than 80 years). Many of us may (perhaps) remember the story of Eli Whitney and his steam powered cotton gin, but it took many decades for steam, and later electrical power, to become widely adopted for world-changing economic gain.
I assert that we are at the same point now in what the World Economic Forum calls the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The “machines” exist: the cloud, ubiquitous Wi-Fi, low-cost sensors, powerful AI systems, platforms for nearly every work process, etc. These have all been invented. But, and here’s the important part, they have yet to be fully deployed.
This is where talent enters the equation. People with the right skills are more important than ever to unlock business value. The next phase of our revolution is engineering. It’s time to take these new tools to expand the future and bring new systems, processes, and experiences to life in ways that could only be imagined by sci-fi authors and futurists.
It Takes Real Talent To Engineer the Future
Engineers, developers, and coders are crucial to helping companies on their continued leaps into the next digital realm. Engineers build the technology that we can use to manage our money, improve our health, educate our kids, move through the world, and more. This is the fun stuff!
We’re now through the first stages of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and it’s time for the makers of the world – the engineers – to harness our new machines and tools even more to change our work, our lives, and our societies.
Big leaps also bring challenges, but I’m convinced we’re on the edge of an enormous wave of value creation.
As the CEO of Ascendion, my job is to activate our teams to support the business leaders who are realizing this vision. I couldn’t be more excited about where we are today. Software engineering is the skill set to unlock business value. Bringing engineering talent together is what we do every day for banks, retailers, and some of the most important technology companies in the world.