Software Frankensteinisation

Enterprise software can often be influenced by the requirements of key customers. This can lead to a type of ‘Software Frankensteinisation’ where the software morphs into an unmanageable beast, with more add-ons than teams of software engineers can manage. (Don’t worry, we do know that Frankenstein was the creator, and not the mosnter!)

In this episode of LokadTV, we investigate the social dynamics between companies and software vendors and try to understand how companies can evolve and adapt without relying on technology that can rapidly become unmanageable. We examine how Lokad, by developing Envision - its own domain specific programming language, managed to create somenthing that is completely customizable for its clients, while avoiding such a software frankeistinization.

Often businesses are run on the ethos that the customer is king. We discuss why, in this multi-tenant world, this is not the ethos to follow and how it can result in serious scars within the software. Through a series of examples coming from giants of the tech world, just like Google, we attempt to understand what can be done to ensure that the demands of customers are met without compromising on quality.

To finish up, we give some practical advice, intended for Supply Chain Executives, concerning the right way to negotiate possible customizations of the software they are using. We learn more about why the relationship with the vendor’s CTO is of primary importance and why it is important to choose a series of specialized softwares, instead of the sometimes more tempting but quite ineffective choice of just one that seemingly does it all.

Timestamps

00:04 Introduction

00:22 What do you actually mean when you say Software Frankensteinisation?

02:32 What does those “scars” look like?

05:32 When does something become a scar and when does it become a good feature?

08:55 How can software companies introduce these features to keep their clients happy without introducing an extra layer of complexity?

10:55 You are basically saying that big companies like Google or Netflix are not listening to their customers? What about those pop-ups that allow us to express our opinion?

13:13 What have you done differently at Lokad?

17:42 Is there anything other software companies can do? For example removing some of the new features?

22:41 If I am a Supply Chain Executive, what should I look for in terms of software?