Feeds

Software guru wants New Accounting

I'm a VB programmer, and I need TLC

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Alan Cooper, the "Father of Visual Basic, has some humane and eminently sensible thoughts about software usability. If more developers read and absorbed the advice in his book The Inmates Are Running The Asylum, computers would be far less annoying to the user. But Cooper on software economics is a different proposition.

After the greatest loss of wealth in human history, software developers are struggling to to justify themselves. ROI is now very closely examined, as CIOs take a cold hard look at large projects. And the resulting recession has prompted many large employers to turn to the much cheaper option of outsourced software development.

What's Cooper's suggestion?

It's simple, he argues in an essay this week. We simply need a new form of accounting to make expensive software projects look justified.

"The only available economic upside comes from making your product more desirable by improving its quality, and you can't do that by reducing the money you spend designing or programming it," he writes in a laudible plea for better software.

But Cooper makes a sophomoric error by claiming that because software defies the traditional economics of production and distribution, it defies simple profit and loss analysis too. This simply isn't true. If a software project costs $2,000,000 and saves the company $200 - it's a disaster no matter how you look at the balance sheet: upside down, in a mirror or translated into Klingon.

"No company can treat programmers the same as a factory because programmers demand continuous attention and support well beyond any factory."

But some demand less attention and support than others, as the outsourcers fully appreciate. Ironically, while Cooper might succeed in ingratiating himself with his developer audience, it's articles like this one which make CIOs more inclined to ship the jobs offshore where costs are lower. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.