The road back to Craftsmanship

Maintenance as part of the package

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There is good news on the horizon for everybody that values good quality in our consumption-obsessed society. Sellers and traders of IoT devices will be obliged to supply security and software updates for devices that can be connected or offer online services. Even though it is not yet known when this new regulation will come into force, the initial proposal has been approved into Dutch law and stems from an EU directive.

It might come as no surprise that I am happy with this change in direction. Quality trumps quantity almost every time, and I am an avid proponent that quality comes at a price. This aligns with SIG’s worldview of how we want to create a healthier digital world. Not only do we deliver high-quality software and services ourselves, our services help our clients achieve the same by improving the quality and security of their business applications.

It’s my belief this regulation signifies a subtle shift in society’s changing purchasing habits toward more sustainable and responsible consumption. Globalization of trade and communication massively increased our opportunities, but this developed an economy of more rather than better. Across most industries, the drive for cheaper products continuously switched out or upgraded by consumers at an ever-increasing rate has been the focal point of economics. Our very own IT sector is not any different in this regard. Outsourcing software development to larger teams of cheaper developers has been the modus operandi for many companies and still is for many.

This development of consumerism comes at the cost of Craftsmanship. I see it in the stores whereby long-lasting clothing is hard to find and goes at a premium at high-quality brands (rightly so). I see it at home, where my girlfriend is part of a small (but luckily growing) community practicing the lost arts of bookbinding, making clothing, calligraphy, and the likes. I see it when analyzing software whereby functionality and development velocity have been prioritized to the detriment of quality. It is not uncommon that companies are left with apps or embedded s/w plagued with security problems, maintenance issues, and downright weird usability choices due to architecture restrictions.

But that being said, good news is on the horizon with the sales of sustainable goods steadily rising since 2014. Local groceries are in greater demand (notwithstanding recent fuel prices), and we are all fond of the local microbrewery. Nearshoring products is getting a boost, making sure you buy clothes that have been made in your country or near to, instead of importing them from half a world away. It is time that electronics follow suit. Maybe not specifically with buying local, but at least to follow the sustainability trend.

With IoT manufacturers required to commit to their products for longer, they’ll also need to commit to their software. This means the software industry will return to the craft of building software; that is reliable, maintainable, secure, and reduces the costs of future developments and fixes. This should make sure you don’t have to replace your still working TV because there is no new software for it. We foresee that the upcoming regulation will bring the technical quality game to a whole new set of manufacturers and respectively software vendors too!

The only way to do this effectively is by measuring and monitoring the quality and security of the software that is being developed, something we know all too well at SIG. We have already helped 100’s clients kick-start their journey into Code Craftsmanship, improving the design, maintenance, and practices using the Sigrid® | Software Assurance platform.

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