Will Automobile Makers Begin to Outsource Software Development?
Companies may be having second thoughts when it comes to outsourcing testing, but German automobile maker Daimler AG seems keen on having another organization be responsible for its software development, as a Wall Street Journal article illustrates.
According to the article, Daimler is handing over "all software development for its electronic driver-assistance features to Finland-based Elektrobit Corp., underscoring a growing acceptance by auto makers that they can no longer handle this increasingly complex technology themselves." Now, Daimler is working on a system in which it will come up with the features it wants built and then assign the software creation to Elektrobit.
Although this may seem like an easy enough task, we can point you to several articles on AgileConnection that deal with the problems that arise when developers work separated from the business side, as this piece by Daryl Kulak illustrates. One problem Daimler might run into when dealing with a separate software shop has to do with estimations—what the business side expects and how that differs from what the software folks can deliver.
It will be interesting to follow what the US-based auto companies like Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. do as they continue to invest in high-tech vehicles filled with the latest and greatest apps made by—you guessed it—software developers.
As software continues to play a huge role in the automobile industry, these companies now will be facing the very same issues plaguing software shops for decades: lax code management, security issues, and poor communication between management and development.
Ford has recently indicated that they are a developer-focused institution, so it’s obvious that the company wants to merge coding with its own line of products. We can only guess that a company that big has planned accordingly to merge software development into its core practices without too many hiccups.
What remains to be seen is how Ford will eventually fair. Will it follow Daimler’s footsteps and start outsourcing all its development, or will it truly become a software shop that happens to be part of an automobile company?
This article from a site that tracks outsourcing claims that on a yearly basis, "the company is investing a large sum of $30–50 million into the IT venture in India. Ford's IT enterprise in India will handle all the company's IT work from manufacturing bases spread across the world. The Indian center will also meet Ford's e-business solutions." What will come next is anyone's guess.
I’ll leave you with this interesting video on Ford’s software plans: