In the world of business – where success and survival mean the same thing – the expected pace of change can be quite mind-boggling. And sticking to the old ways of doing business can mean finding yourself in quicksand. So, what’s the way forward? Software 4.0 is a methodology developed keeping in mind the need of the hour and can provide a clear path towards quickly and efficiently taking a business where it needs to be. But before charging ahead, it makes sense to first grasp the demands and goals that take precedence in the market today.

Modern business dictates that the following requirements are a MUST when it comes to surviving in the digital age,

  • Providing personalized experiences to a mass audience
  • Being agile and adapting continuously
  • Be massively distributed
  • Bridging the physical and digital world like a pro
  • Always staying ‘ON’ for the customer

With a challenging list of what software needs to deliver, another important step is taking a note of the ‘why’ before defining the best way forward. Why are businesses chasing the above list? Here is the bigger picture and objectives to keep in mind while designing the next phase of business,

  • Maintaining robust quality,
  • Ensuring greater productivity and
  • Guaranteeing shorter time to market

With a clear end goal in mind and a good idea of what the end user wants, it is time to deep dive into the core principles that make up Software 4.0.

The 4 Core Principles of Software 4.0
Just as a Preamble serves to guide the Constitution and its interpreters, our core principles guide the Software 4.0 methodology. We find ourselves coming back to these time and time again as a reminder of what we set out to accomplish.

The core principles that act like our Preamble are,

  • A focus on continuous optimization and automation that puts the emphasis on being context-aware and content-rich to continuously pursue the next most valuable experience by using the latest in technology like Machine Learning and Process Automation.
  • With a process flow designed for autonomy and interdependence, another core principle highlights creating autonomous teams and systems inside and beyond enterprise boundaries.
  • Software 4.0 also believes in iterative and incremental development. This means growing a system feature by feature in self-contained cycles of their own phases of discovery, defining, developing, delivering, operating and optimizing.
  • And simultaneously providing continuous personalization and placing a high value on quality of experiences. This principle is deeply interested in promoting an amalgamation of culture, methods like agile and an architecture for extreme responsiveness to the new and un- or under-anticipated.

A quick look at the core principles makes it clear that the 4 pillars of Software 4.0 are people, process, tools and data.

The inner workings of Software 4.0

From start to finish, the methodology of Software 4.0 has been divided into the following phases,

Discover Experience-based Design, Business Agility, Hackathons, Value Promise
Define Next Generation Architecture,
Release Train Planning,
Design Patterns & Reuse Planning,
Security, Performance
Develop Platform-based Ecosystem
Personalized User Experience
Open Source Integration
Scrum, XP, Code Quality, Hackathons,
DevOps, Security, Performance
Optimize Data Science & Machine Learning

Gathering a clear idea of ground realities, expectations, best practices and more is a key feature of the discovery phase of Software 4.0. One of the most important and exciting features of this phase is the use of Hackathons. A Persistent Systems’ trademark, Hackathons are habit forming and mindset changing industrialized setups that are necessary to inculcate innovation.

Another feature of this phase is committing to a design thinking process as a structured approach to generating and developing ideas. Beginning from empathizing to defining, ideating, prototyping and finally testing.

In this phase, the path ahead is better understood and the scope of essentials like moving to next-gen architecture is detailed. Old app architecture is revitalized with microservices. With the proliferation of connected devices and connected experiences, scaling and managing small, independent, modular services is the need of the hour.

Here’s a link to Persistent’s POV and methodology when it comes to aiding clients looking to go from monolithic to microservices. The blog details the need to move to microservices and introduces Persistent’s ’17-step methodology’, based on live projects, for seamless migration to ensure success.

Develop, Deliver, Operate
At this stage, the project is ready to be flagged off with a toolkit that features DevOps very prominently. The portmanteau has already become an essential business process that is much more than a mere IT capability. DevOps opens the lines of communication between developers and operations and makes way for a lean and agile way of delivering software in a continuous manner that empowers businesses to swiftly seize market opportunities, enhance customer experience, improve capacity to innovate and facilitate efficient, reliable software delivery through production. Longer term views for DevOps include providing security and creating a culture of continuous exploration and improvement.

Persistent Systems also leverages partnerships with platform-based ecosystems like Appian, OutSystems, IBM, Salesforce and more in a bid to personalize user experiences, ensure quality code, security and performance.

An attitude of continuous optimization is a notable stage in the Software 4.0 methodology. With the data deluge upon us, making sense of it all through data science techniques, machine learning and visualization to maximize productivity while minimizing risk is fundamental. Machine learning is used to predict defects, prioritize testing and minimize risk. The main objective is to understand and optimize strategy in order to,

  • Reduce costs
  • Optimize to find more defects
  • Improve test planning

Software 4.0 in action
The Software 4.0 methodology has helped Persistent Systems sail through numerous projects. Whether it was using the fundamentals of design thinking in hackathons to come up with functional solutions or implementing key features of DevOps to optimize processes and minimize release and implementation times, the Software 4.0 methodology has served as a guiding post. It has paved the way for many a client’s journey towards levelling up their offerings and given Persistent Systems a reliable framework to follow, no matter the complexity of the project.

As every business starts becoming a software-driven business, Software 4.0 promises to serve as our north star in the increasingly bewildering business landscape.