Some reports may indicate that South Africa will find it increasingly hard to compete on the international outsourcing map against powerhouses like South-East Asia, China and India, but local software development factory, UCSM (UCSSM) Software Manufacturing believes that the country has “pockets of excellence to offer” where other countries will battle to compete.
This is according to Eric van Heerden, business development manager at UCSSM, who says companies like UCSSM can develop world-class software with a small team of developers due to methods and working frameworks developed over the past few years.
“The first wave of software development was from the mainframe to the PC; the second was from text to the graphical interface – the next software development wave, whatever it is going to be, will be massive. There will not be enough programmers to develop or maintain software fast enough.
"The process of software development has to be industrialised and more automated and this is where software factories, like UCSM, will play a major part. It happened in most other engineering disciplines and is the way of the future.
"And, as said, this is where some companies in South Africa can compete on the global outsourcing map. It is not going to be about throwing more developers at the challenge, it is going to be about automation, re-use and following proven processes to develop software better and faster.”
Van Heerden concedes that skills need to be developed faster in South Africa and, perhaps, that more should be "imported", the way of the future is following the methodology of the software factory- as UCSSM has done.
"We have methodologies in place – automated ones – that allow a small team of developers to turn out quality software efficiently and economically. This is the way of the future. It is no longer about how many programmers you can throw at a project.
"The next wave of software development will just be too big –there will not be enough programmers out there. The software factory model – essentially re-use and automation – needs to be adopted.”
Van Heerden points out that the maintenance of current systems will always need costly developers but the next generation of largely purpose-built software will be far more structured and less complex. There will be fewer lines of highly structured code than in the currently manually written code – meaning it will be far easier to understand and maintain.
"So, although there will be huge pressure on resources for maintenance of the current generation of software, the next wave of software – which will be 'factory manufactured' – which will reduce complexity will require far less manpower to sustain."