Winning in software for industrial companies

A new compendium compiles articles that can help industrial companies excel in software by improving strategy, operational excellence, and talent acquisition and retention.

Within the industrial sector, a recent survey shows that 38 percent of corporate leaders expect more than 50 percent of their revenues to come from digital solutions by 2023. To help them succeed in their initiatives, we compiled our current thinking in a compendium, Winning in software for industrial companies. The articles focus on three themes: development of a strong software strategy, operational excellence, and talent acquisition and retention. A link to the full compendium appears to the right.

The strategy topic needs immediate attention. While most corporate leaders understand is importance, they often encounter challenges when defining the path forward. That’s especially true if they have not traditionally focused on software. In our first article, “Hardware’s business-model shift: Finding a new path forward,” we examine how players can develop software business models that will help replace the revenues lost as hardware becomes increasingly commodified.

The next three articles describe insights that can help companies create a strong software strategy and measure their success. These include “Four myths about building a software business,” “Cloud-migration opportunity: Business value grows but missteps abound,” and “SaaS and the Rule of 40: Keys to the critical value creation metric.” These are followed by three articles that focus on software strategies in specific sectors or geographies: “Rewiring car electronics and software architecture for the Roaring 2020s,” “Winning formula: How Europe’s top tech start-ups get it right,” and “Cybersecurity in automotive: Mastering the challenge.”

Even with a strong software strategy, companies require operational excellence to succeed. Three articles in this issue discuss this topic in the critical automotive sector: “When code is king: Mastering automotive software excellence,” “Mastering automotive software launch excellence,” and “Software ‘should costing’: A new procurement tool for automotive companies.” The latter will help automotive OEMs achieve operational excellence even if they do not produce software in house. The last article on operational excellence, “Developer Velocity: How software excellence fuels business performance,” can help companies make changes that improve revenues, customer satisfaction, and innovation.

With the scarcity of software talent, companies may have difficulty implementing their defined strategy, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many people to leave the workforce voluntarily and resulted in the highest attrition rate in decades. Companies will gain new talent insights by reading our interviews with two corporate leaders. In “Software and the next normal: A talk with Workday’s cofounder and co-CEO,” Aneel Bhusri reimagines the future of work. And in “Unleashing developers’ full talents: An interview with Twilio’s CEO,” Jeff Lawson provides his perspective on attracting and retaining software talent. The interviews are followed by another article, “Developer Velocity at work: Key lessons from industry digital leaders,” which reviews characteristics of high performing software-development organizations, including their talent strategies. Finally, in “The product management talent dilemma,” the authors describe four levers that can help with recruitment and retention for one of the most critical roles at software-enabled companies.

We hope that these articles provide food for thought as you consider your next steps, and we welcome questions and comments about them, especially those that relate to your own experience.

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