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What ISVs Can Learn From 'Wacky Races'

29/01/2014 15:50 GMT | Updated 31/03/2014 10:59 BST

Competition can bring out surprising sides of our character. Increased demand from customers and end-users - combined with a more competitive landscape - means that the need for fast, agile application development amongst Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) has never been so intense. As a direct result, the race for increased productivity amongst ISVs can sometimes seem like an episode of the seminal Hanna-Barbera cartoon, 'Wacky Races'. The series, which was broadcast in the 1960s, saw 11 different teams racing against each other and employing increasingly slapstick tactics to defeat their opponents. So what can ISVs today learn from the antics of these characters and the tactics they employed?

Perhaps the first thing for ISVs to consider is what they would be willing to do in order to end up at the top of the podium in the great application development productivity race. Indeed, instead of relying on conventional means, many might consider looking to benefit from taking a leaf out of the Dick Dastardly's book. By setting up his own rocket-fuelled car with concealed weapons and the ability to fly, Dastardly favoured a strategy using these tricks to lure opponents into a series of traps. The fact that these plans almost never succeeded is perhaps, instructive. It teaches us that, in order to win the race, ISVs should spend more time worrying about what they are good at, rather than beating the competition at their own game.

Although ISVs might not be able to boast a shampoo foam gun like Penelope Pitstop, or a bulletproof vehicle like The Ant Hill Mob, it's nonetheless clear that they still need to invest in tailoring their arsenal to help outpace the competition. In order to retain and win new business, ISVs must play to their strengths, recognise the need for speed and consequently deliver business applications that exceed expectations.

Of course, a key part of preparing for any race is ensuring you have the best possible pit crew, ready for any eventuality or environment. In 'Wacky Races', it's worth pointing out that no one vehicle was equipped for every environment they faced. For some teams, this resulted in an inbuilt disadvantage as well as a number of inevitable, comical crashes and collisions. In order to avoid a similar fate, ISVs must be race-ready by finding the right application development platform that allows them to adapt their needs, according to changes in their environment.

For example, by choosing a platform that allows them the freedom to adapt by choosing from multiple data sources, deployment environments and sets of business logic, many developers will see an immediate advantage. Attention to detail in preparation can hone performance and create an entrant with the ability to adapt, giving them a better chance of outpacing the competition. Without such a support system, you might as well be driving your vehicle with your feet like the hillbilly Luke in The Arkansas Chuggabug.

If ISVs are to remain in the race, they must stay attuned to their environment and operate at the same pace as their client. By providing powerful, connected business applications, ready to be rolled out across cloud or on-premise platforms, ISVs already guarantee a head-start in the app race. After all, they don't want to face the same fate as Dick Dastardly and Muttley in the Mean Machine by crashing out of the race and be forever viewed as the moustache-twirling villain of application development.

The 'Wacky Race' of app development has few rules and is set up for a tough competitor with a secret weapon and a realistic race plan to dominate the market. In order for an ISV to be the first port of call for businesses looking to develop an app, it's clear that they must prioritise speed of delivery, combined with adding business value and demonstrating superior skills to the competition.

For ISVs, having the ability to develop an application quickly can be the difference between success and failure, and can play a key role in helping them to become the next Peter Perfect in his Turbo Terrific, or Rufus Ruffcut in The Buzz Wagon. Only by creating a race plan from the offset, maximising their unique skills and focusing on speed can developers hope to beat the competition. By marrying speed with performance, ISVs can give themselves a distinct advantage, and put themselves in pole position in the wacky race for application development productivity!