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Five Principle Trends That Have Huge Impact In Software Engineering December 17, 2011

Posted by sayemmarquette in Software Engineering.
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There are several trends that has impact on software engineering. But, out of these trends I think impact of these five trends can bring a huge change in the world of software engineering technology. These trends are:

  • User engagement
  • Applied mobility
  • Pay attention to quality
  • Reliability
  • Real Analytics

User Engagement

User engagement is not something business executives naturally think about – and is decidedly absent from surveys depicting IT spend priorities. Yet it lies at the heart of how businesses can turn newly-connected consumers into new revenue channels, and how they can empower employees to better connect dots and improve efficiency and effectiveness. Continuous improvement can start from the end-user, the literal point of business impact. Enabling technologies are required for excellence in user engagement and they are easily available. Web x.0 tools, platforms and standards have reached a maturity to allow for bold investments. But the real impact rests in defining value, engaging users and enjoying the innovator’s whitespace which results. This part deals with the system integration from the software engineering topics.

Applied Mobility

The rise of mobile computing is staggering in sheer scale (5 billion subscribers by December 2010) and in its breadth of adoption – crossing age groups, economic classes and geographies1. Consumer interest in smartphones, tablets and untraditional connected devices such as set-top boxes, telematics, video games and embedded appliances is growing faster than with any other product segment, with a projected growth of 36% in the coming year2. Connectivity is nearly ubiquitous with today’s mobile computing infrastructure and will only improve with the widespread roll-out of 4G, LTE and WiMAX in primary markets, and the impending launch of 3G in India in 20113. As importantly, the mobile application (app) movement is fully underway, as traditional telephone service takes a back seat to messaging, email, media, social sites, games and productivity tools. As new devices find their way into the hands of business stakeholders, organizations are realizing how powerful a mobile presence at the edge of their enterprise can be. The underlying network, form factor, user interface (UI) and raw device computing power are necessary enablers, but what really matters is harnessing these features into rich yet simple and intuitive apps to solve real business problems. These solutions can be as simple as placing a mobile veneer over existing offerings and business processes – that is, conducting business as usual, but through channels untethered from physical locations. Think of nurses accessing electronic health records from their tablets instead of a stationary hub or nursing station; or of banks allowing customers to deposit checks anywhere by using their mobile phone cameras, resulting in customer convenience with the added benefit of off-loading processing tasks to the customer. These new mobile solutions serve the full spectrum of transactional, analytical and social computing capabilities. Accordingly, they may depart from traditional app design and deployment concepts. Focused in scope and simple in execution, if only from the user’s perspective, these apps have more in common with “applets” than with conventional multi-purpose feature-rich enterprise applications. This is precisely what makes them so powerful – they are elegant solutions to well-defi ned problems, and designed for operations on-the-go. The enterprise arms race has begun in these spaces and more – with big disruptions ahead for organizations that trail their competition. The changes may be even more dramatic. For example, companies are already rethinking business processes and enabling new business models that would not have been possible without mobile technology. Evolutions in location-based services, social networks, mobile payment processing, low-cost device add-ons and integration with enterprise systems has led to the potential for employees, customers and suppliers to consume and produce sophisticated information, goods and services from anywhere. And with the extension of mobile solutions to sensors and actuators in physical goods and equipment, otherwise known as asset intelligence or “the internet of things,” there is the potential for almost anything to become part of the mobile solution footprint. This will lead to entirely new business models like Zipcar’s disruption of car rental – and even ownership – models, or to the connected consumer driving purchase decisions based on immediate access to product alternatives, price comparisons, reviews, inventory levels and direct-purchase options. The trend is toward a future where everything will be digital and available anywhere at any time, and mobile devices will be the medium of consumption. Tapping into this trend presents the opportunity for organizations to define real and lasting value in applied mobility solutions. With the volume of smartphone shipments poised to overtake PC shipments by 201210 – and with connected, intelligent assets becoming prevalent, leading organizations have begun to aggressively establish their brands and services in the mobile world. According to a recent Deloitte study, more than half of Fortune 50 companies have a publically-available, customer-facing application or mobile-enabled Web page11. This growth will continue – notably as location-based services converge with cloud and social computing technologies, and as new consumer behaviors and expectations are established. Even more signifi cant is the potential for business enablement, specifi cally in how employees and partners interact. One mobility guru describes a not-so-distant future of continuous services and connected devices that fundamentally change the way we interact with each other – and with our corporate entities12. As we begin to separate from static, immobile computers and envision a world where business is increasingly conducted outside of cubicles and call centers, different business opportunities are born. Applied mobility is about rethinking business with an untethered mindset, innovating how the enterprise operates at the edge.

Pay attention to Quality

Software quality measurement is about quantifying to what extent a software or system possesses desirable characteristics. This can be performed through qualitative or quantitative means or a mix of both. In both cases, for each desirable characteristic, there are a set of measurable attributes the existence of which in a piece of software or system tend to be correlated and associated to this characteristic. For example, an attribute associated with portability is the number of target-dependent statements in a program. More precisely, using the Quality Function Deployment approach, these measurable attributes are the “Hows” that needs to be enforced to enable the “whats” in the Software Quality definition above.

The structure, classification and terminology of attributes and metrics applicable to software quality management have been derived or extracted from the ISO 9126-3 and the subsequent ISO 25000:2005 quality models. The main focus is on internal structural quality. Subcategories have been created to handle specific areas like business application architecture and technical characteristics such as data access and manipulation or the notion of transactions.

The dependence tree between software quality characteristics and their measurable attributes is represented in the diagram on the right, where each of the 5 characteristics that matter for the user (right) or owner of the business system depends on measurable attributes (left):

Application Architecture Practices

Coding Practices

Application Complexity

Documentation

Portability

Technical & Functional Volume

Reliability

Software permeates our daily life. There is probably no other human-made material which is more omnipresent than software in our modern society. It has become a crucial part of many aspects of society: home appliances, telecommunications, automobiles, airplanes, shopping, auditing, web teaching, personal entertainment, and so on. In particular, science and technology demand high-quality software for making improvements and breakthroughs. The size and complexity of software systems have grown dramatically during the past few decades, and the trend will certainly continue in the future. The data from industry show that the size of the software for Software reliability engineering is centered on a key attribute, software reliability, which is defined as the probability of failure-free software operation for a specified period of time in a specified environment. Among other attributes of software quality such as functionality, usability, capability, and maintainability, etc., software reliability is generally accepted as the major factor in software quality since it quantifies software failures, which can make a powerful system inoperative. Software reliability engineering (SRE) is therefore defined as the quantitative study of the operational behavior of software-based systems with respect to user requirements concerning reliability. As a proven technique, SRE has been adopted either as standard or as best current practice by more than 50 organizations in their software projects and report, including AT&T, Lucent, IBM, NASA, Microsoft, and many others in Europe, Asia, and North America. However, this number is still relatively small compared to the large amount of software producers in the world. Reliability falls in the category of software quality.

Real Analytics

Real-time analytics is the use of or the capacity to use, all available enterprise data and resources when they are needed. It consists of dynamic analysis and reporting, based on data entered into a system less than one minute before the actual time of use. Real-time analytics is also known as real-time data analytics, real-time data integration, and real-time intelligence. Complexity is growing, providing organizations with more data to manage, more decisions to make and less overall certainty. Some business problems are like puzzles, with pieces dispersed across internal and external players, captured in structured and unstructured forms. Competitive advantage will come from winning the race for clarity and precision, and from building the institutional skills to quickly solve the next puzzle that crosses your executives’ desks. Other business problems are mysteries, where the clues may or may not be within your grasp. These require empowered leaders who understand the business issue, who can work with specialized resources to model the problem and who have the analysis tools to recognize and act on patterns that might lead to the solution. Puzzles and mysteries are the purview of real analytics. Both start with a clear understanding of the business problem and a commitment to make the answer actionable once it is clear. Though the magic that happens in between is anything but simple, these two steps are the biggest factors to achieve effective results. Look in the mirror, state your intent for making analytics real, and start digging up your crunchiest questions. This topic helps in understanding interpersonal communication.

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