I love the outdoors. Camping in the outback or fishing off the beach is my piece of heaven. I also love creating software with my coders, and applications that give our customers the edge, saves them time and reduces project risks.
On a recent bush trip up north, I had an epiphany of sorts. When you are many hours away from the nearest town, you need to rely on your gear and reliable 4×4 vehicle. If you buy the wrong equipment, can’t get parts, support or you don’t maintain it, small problems can become big issues.
Ok, so what’s the connection between software and camping? Four key points is my answer. Usability, weight, reliability and support.
Those of us that go off-road come in different age groups with different skills, but all need a usable place to cook, sleep and relax. The gas stove works with the turn of a valve and a click. The camp cooler only needs the lid clipped closed and the tent is two poles and six pegs. Anyone can setup a camp.
Your publishing suite needs to be the same. Usability. Login, right mouse, publish IETP, job done. If you need to fight with the software or person “XYZ” is on leave and no one knows how to create IETP’s or PDF; you have bought the wrong gear. Valve on, click, fire, cook! Anyone can publish.
Software has weight, even though it’s just ones and zeros, it can be heavy. If you purchase a system that requires a massive SQL Database server, “middleware” and four months of consulting services to make it work, it’s like you’ve just heavily loaded a with more gear than is required. Just like the 4×4, it will get stuck easily and it will be more work to get out of the mud. Smart campers choose carefully and pay more for aluminium camp tables that disassemble and quality tents made from lightweight materials because weight is the enemy of camping too.
If you’re in the freezing cold high country and the zipper on your sleeping bag breaks, you could be in real trouble because you are relying on that warmth. The same goes for your publishing applications.
If you have contracted deliveries to make, project deadlines that must be met, it has to be reliable every time.
When engineers are waiting on your technical data so they can test that new widget, you need reliable software that has been in service for years within military, commercial aviation and space programs. You need to ensure the software you are purchasing is reliable with a proven track record or you WILL be out in the cold.
Finally, support. When you purchase a gas camp lantern from a reputable vendor, they will stand by their product and support it. They have the resources and customer focus to repair or replace faulty items. If you buy cheap, best you have a good torch on hand as the camp will be mighty dark.
The same goes for software. At OneStrand, a lot of time, money and resources go into product design, QA and support. Just like the company that makes the recovery winch that gets me out of the mud, OneStrand values customer feedback and enhancement requests on our gear. Customer input makes the product better. Period.
So go on a bush trip, do some 4 wheeling in the mud, grill up some fresh caught fish and keep warm under the stars. When you do, stop to think about the fit, form and function of your supporting camping supplies. After much thought, I bet those using the unreliable software solutions that are in the market today, wish those software developers would have gone camping first!
VP Product Development