Software Engineers Should Focus on What They Do Best
2022-03-07 Terry Gaul
The value of engineering time: That was the essence of an interesting e-book authored by Michelle Boucher, VP of Tech-Clarity, an independent U.S. research firm. The title of the e-book was How to Reduce Non-Value-Added Work in Engineering. Data was collected via a survey of over 220 manufacturers examining how engineers spend their time. What got my attention was this notion:
“Engineers are under constant pressure to meet tight deadlines. They need time to balance quality, cost, and performance criteria as well as to innovate and solve problems. Unfortunately, they waste too much of their valuable time on non-value-added work. Imagine the opportunities if engineers could reduce those tedious activities to focus more energy on engineering work that leads to better designs.”
It makes total sense. Eliminate distractions and non-essential tasks and allow engineers to focus on the job they do best – create solutions for complex engineering problems. The article noted the business value of enabling engineers to focus on their task at hand without distractions:
- Faster time to market
- Lower product development cost
- Better product quality
- Reduced product cost
- Increased sales margins / profitability
The notion holds true in the software engineering world as well. What do software engineers do best? They create complex code and transform it into innovative applications that solve real world problems and bring tremendous value to just about every industry imaginable, from enterprise office applications to smart Industry solutions. But software engineers face distractions as well.
From a code security standpoint, the challenges and requirements change every day; cryptography is evolving; and new operating systems and components are invented. ISVs must protect their software and IP from illegal copying, counterfeiting, and reverse engineering from a growing nefarious element of software piracy. In some cases, an outdated protection scheme is worse than no protection at all.
From a business standpoint, the market is evolving; consumer preferences are ever changing; and ISVs must be in a ready position to adapt their business models, delivery options, and pricing strategies as the market demands.
Hence the distractions for software engineers. Many organizations have gone the “grow your own” approach to building software licensing and protection systems internally without the help of outside security professionals. That’s where the burden falls onto the software engineer. Instead of dedicating their efforts to developing code, many software engineers are saddled with additionally creating and integrating licensing and protection technologies themselves, most likely in areas that are outside their technical comfort zone.
Let’s take a look at some of the issues that come into play when developing a software licensing and protection system:
- Consumer preferences are evolving: Pay only for what you need mentality
- Hybrid work environment: 24 x 7 access to apps from anywhere from any device
- Shift from transaction-centric model (perpetual software license) to “as-a-service” model – software delivered as a service and sold as a subscription
- Software monetization – shifting market environment requires agile licensing and pricing capabilities
- Software protection – modern encryption technology needs to be built in to protect against IP theft, reverse engineering, and software piracy, and continuously monitored and updated with state-of-the-art technologies to stay ahead of would-be attackers
- Does the organization possess the required expertise and resources to create the licensing and protection solutions in addition to developing software?
- Does the organization possess the required expertise to deliver software as a service via the Cloud and create, deliver, and manage licenses and entitlements via the cloud?
- Does the organization possess the required expertise to provide user-centric web-based license management, such as an end user license Web portal?
The ongoing effort required to develop and maintain a scalable software licensing and protection solution and the expectations heaped upon the shoulders of software engineers to create and implement it should never be underestimated. Fortunately, ISVs can turn to commercially available licensing and security solutions that can easily be integrated into the software and the back-office licensing and sales systems to alleviate the burden on software developers and leave the business side of the process to others.
If you think your organization can benefit from a proven, award-winning software protection, licensing, and security solution, I invite you to take a look at our CodeMeter platform and read some of the many case studies that demonstrate how ISVs across a wide variety of industries are profiting from its implementation of CodeMeter into their development and business processes.
Vice President Sales USA
Terry Gaul is a sales and business development professional with extensive experience in the software and technology sectors. He has been involved with software protection and licensing technologies for more than 20 years and currently serves as Vice President of Sales at Wibu-Systems USA. When he is not helping customers with software licensing, Terry typically can be found coaching his daughters' soccer teams or camping with his family on the Maine coast.