Singapore is missing new software boat

Singapore is missing new software boat

Western countries are losing in "old" industries like consumer electronics, but they aren't too bothered by this. That's because they are still front runners in new software-centric industries - despite years of outsourcing.

Singapore is missing this boat.

Netscape founder and HP board member Marc Andreessen recently wrote an important article - Why Software Is Eating The World - about how software is disrupting traditional businesses.

The role of software is changing from one of business support to being a core business. Companies need to re-learn their new core business, otherwise software companies will learn their old core business and disrupt them.

For example, brick-and-mortar bookseller Borders went bankrupt in 2011, while, a software company and online bookstore, is thriving. Closer to home, Singapore's biggest computer bookstore closed in the same year - who still buys technical books in a physical store?

Many companies in Singapore don't realise this shift. They don't consider software their core business and they don't see software development as an essential skill.

The result? Poor-quality, non-functioning, badly designed software that causes them to lose business.

For example, Singapore Airlines "upgraded" its website in 2011. The "improved" site was so bad that I was unable to buy tickets and eventually switched airlines. There were also media reports on customer complaints about its poor website.

SIA reported an unexpected loss last year due to "weak travel demand". Was the fall due to weak travel demand or customers' inability to buy tickets due to a poor website?

The airline's spokesman was quoted in this newspaper, saying: "As with any major IT project, we do expect teething problems."

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