Forrester Research’s Global Tech Market Outlook 2013-2014 points out that software as a service (SaaS) and data-driven smart apps will be the major growth engines for the global software market.

The report forecasts that the SaaS market will increase in 2013 by 25% to $59-billion and to $75-billion in 2014 – but is this the type of software that South African businesses really need ask Dariel Solutions?

Yes, says Malcolm Rabson, MD at Dariel Solutions, but indicates that it is a little more complex than following the global market.

“SaaS allows developers to reduce cost-to-customer substantially, since a subscription fee normally replaces the higher initial cost of purchasing equivalent enterprise software licences. In addition, there is further potential to reduce costs related to IT support, by outsourcing hardware and software maintenance and support to the SaaS provider.”

In line with this growth trend, smart computing will certainly play a leading role. Defined by Forrester as apps that, for instance, provide direct access to data for decision making, smart computing includes data analytics and business intelligence.

“With a predicted market worth of $41-billion in 2013 and $48-billion in 2014, the ability to provide added value to customers through a careful analysis of these opportunities will set proactive software developers apart from the pack,” says Rabson. “Mediocrity and ambivalence will hamper growth potential and eventually eliminate also-ran developers from the race.”

On a cautionary note, it is all very well espousing the virtues of this high-growth technology to clients, but unless developers have taken care to completely familiarise themselves with the advantages and disadvantages, and the cost-versus-benefit factors, there is little value to be derived.

Dariel Solutions believes that by employing teams that have a solid theoretical and practical grounding in software development, developers are able to design software solutions that maximise business data.

“Familiarity with the technology around Big Data, or the process of storing, accessing and analysing vast amounts of unstructured data with immediacy, is an area on which developers need to concentrate,” says Rabson.

“Utilising Business Intelligence to mine usable data, centred on points of commonality or trends, is another focal point. The bottom line is that in order to create benefit for clients, software developers need to be able to leverage the expanding technologies by selectively applying them in a given scenario.”

Strategising the optimisation of customer software architecture will entail a comprehensive understanding of technology trends – cutting through the buzz words and hype. In addition, it will force innovative software developers to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of usable technology versus technology that weighs down rather than enhances software architecture.

Adds Rabson, “Only once software development teams have invested time and energy in developing skills in these rapidly developing technology arenas, will they be able to extrapolate the useful information derived to drive cost and operational benefit to their customers.”

Dariel Solutions believes that in order to obtain maximised customer service and profitability, businesses need to form relationships with companies that employ forward-thinking strategies.

“By making use of new opportunities and technologies where appropriate and implementing an effective data strategy, we can provide businesses with a competitive market advantage and long-term stability and that is exactly what South African businesses need,” concludes Rabson.