Hmm? What? I didn’t hear anything.
*thud* *thud* *thud* *THUD*
Oh, that! That’s just the sound of my head hitting my desk while I’m working with our company’s proprietary software. You see, Diana’s article last week got me thinking about how our company handles its software. Of course, our IT software development group tells me the software is great. Had I not used other commercial programs prior to this I might believe them, but as it stands I’m slowly *thud* wearing a hole in my desk *thud* with my forehead. *thud*
Keeping it In House
There are some great things about building your own software: you can customize it to exactly your needs, it’s highly modifiable, and the software experts are on site.
The really nice thing is that your software is extremely purpose driven. By that I mean the piece of software probably only does one thing, but it does that one thing very, very well. These types of tools are invaluable and can reduce work time by an order of magnitude.
The strength of these programs though are also their Achilles heel: they are useless at anything other than the one task they were designed for . This program is a screw driver, which is totally useless *thud* when I have to drive a nail. Working with other pieces of proprietary software? Forget that too.
The biggest complaint I have about in house software is that the people who design it hardly know what they’re doing. I’m not calling any specific person incompetent, *thud* it’s just a fact that a general software writer will never be able to create a piece of software as good as a team of specialists.
So if our companies can’t compete in terms of quality with the specialized software groups out there… then why do we build our own software at all?
Because commercial software can be expensive. Every user needs to have a license, and for even medium sized companies that can get expensive fast. *thud* Also, the software is made for the masses, so getting it to work specifically for your company’s niche can be a chore.
However, these programs built by professionals tend to be much more robust in terms of features and capabilities. Additionally these programs tend to be compatible with other mainstream programs, so one program crashing another isn’t very likely. In fact interoperability between computer programs is pretty common in the commercial realm.
Worst of Both Worlds?
The reality is that in house developed programs aren’t going away. In some sense that’s probably a good thing; I’m sure there’s plenty of people out there who like their company’s developed software. Let us know in the comments section if you like your in house software, or if you can’t stand it.
How do I feel on the issue?