Jordan , as we claim, has a decent pool of talented resources in different disciplines including software development. We export software, as well as, computer and software expertise – mainly to Arab Gulf countries – .
Sounds promising! Not really, after more than a decade of endeavors in software, I do not see the picture bright!
I do not dare to claim, that there are no serious endeavors. Some Jordanians companies made real breakthroughs and they are competing with big names in the market.
However, in light of our capacity and talented resources pool, I believe we are way behind the schedule for the following reasons:
- Lack of real technical expertise: sounds strange, yet true. Due to the dominating culture, employees in management are paid more than technicians. Results are:
- Technicians tend to invest in building more than technical skills, and faster that it should be.
- Technicians expect to end up in a managerial position in a 5 years or so, if not they consider it a failure, which usually affects their morale.
- Good talents ends up in managerial positions rather than keep building on their solid technical knowledge, that in a way or another could have participated in creating a real software industry.
- Projects Nature: software developed in Jordan is usually tailored to match the size and needs of the client! The development process is usually driven by the user and not by the business. Hence, every new project is a new separate experience of achieving the needs of that specific client! Projects are a property of the client rather than the developing entity.Also, most projects are small or of simple nature, hence less challenges and experiences. Using real estate notation, one can say, we have thousands of civil engineers, but none have knowledge in building skyscrapers!
- Quick ROI: again, the dominating culture. In Jordan , investors believe that the best project is the one that gets you the quickest ROI. Unfortunately, long term investment that needs persistency and patience. does not fall under this category. I believe, it is
- Belief in investment: Investors are still conservative to invest in technology. They believe more in traditional investments like real estate and FMCG. Those investments have tangible assets and ROI can be done with simple math!
- Poor or no methodologies: well known are not or poorly adopted in in Jordan . This adversely affects the quality, the ability to deliver on time and the experience.
- IT infrastructure: Unreliable slow and expensive internet connection is a real hinder to software industry in Jordan . This mainly affects offshore offices in Jordan and makes life harder to coordinate and work with offices and companies world wide.
- Lack of creativity: Even when somebody is considering investing in software industry, it’s just about opening another project based software shop! There are no real creativity in exploring new ideas and business models.
- Absence of a comprehensive perspective: In Jordan, I believe, we need to have a non profit organization to develop a comprehensive and integral perspective to software industry. An entity to analyze global market needs and to suggest directions. An entity to coordinate and encourage join ventures. An entity to encourage knowledge and experiences sharing.
Though, I believe we should have achieved more, I believe it is not too late. Jordan has a decent pool of resources with a great capacity. However, we need to act fast and take real corrective actions, before we loose a real chance of being the leaders in the area of having a real world class software industry.