Addressing the “Grand Challenge” with a “Grand Strategy”
Why We Need A National Software Strategy/Policy
Today, Software is recognized as the “critical national infrastructure” (CNI) within the global critical infrastructure (GCI). It is therefore the new centre of gravity of human life and global economy. Conventional wisdom and new lessons learned dictates that: “No nation can survive the concentrated challenges of the emerging Information Society (IS) without building a robust, smart and skillful Software capability and associated capacities of code warriors.
In the very near future, all human activities – in form and content – will be defined, influenced, empowered, controlled and sustained by Information Technology Software – either as a process, product, application and/or service. This real world situation translates to immense opportunities. The Nigerian nation must engage these opportunities for global competitiveness. The time to act is now!
It has become a strategic imperative to turn these emerging opportunities into beneficial solutions. The Roadmap and primary takeoff point to those solutions is to enthrone and elevate Information Technology Software as a matter of national policy. This can be accomplished through the establishment of a National Software Strategy propelled by accelerated legislation – encapsulated in a National Software Bill.The above should naturally lead to a national Software Development, Application and services Act jointly championed by the combined efforts of government, industry, and academia – adopting a public-private partnership (PPP) model.
Background: The Industrial development era is gone and we totally lost out as a nation – making us mentally and economically dependent on global forces and their means and processes of production.
Today, there is a Paradigm shift in global development lifecycle, which is principally controlled, and currently sustained by the institution of Information Technology and particularly by Software knowledge engineering.
Reliable Research works have recognized the complex role that software plays in national economic development strategies, pointing out that the domestic application and use of software products and services must be considered strategic imperatives in parallel with the development of the nation.
What makes software particularly interesting is the diverse characteristics of its global network requirement and effectiveness. These factors have continued to fuel the adventure of globalization and its inherent opportunities. Today, almost all significant aspects of human life are influenced by Information Technology and in particular, by Software Applications and services. Therefore one can safely state that there may be neither a meaningful future life nor development progress without Software.
National Software Capability and Maturity Framework
Focus on Designing and Building the Framework: The Nigerian Software policy Framework and strategy shall be based on the concept of clustering the required political will to ensure and accelerate the designing and building of a critical mass of indigenous software capability and maturity models for the nation.
Today, every accredited and recognized Bank, Petroleum Exploring and Processing Outfits in the world runs on software; so do every Airline, every Automobile Manufacturing Company, every world-class Education institution, every insurance company and indeed, every conscious and serious government. Therefore developing a special national policy and strategy and making reasonable investments on software engineering development capacity in key industries constitutes an important part of a national software policy and strategy.
This strategy contributes significantly in making existing businesses more efficient and more competitive globally. Another critical importance of software is derived from the fact that many manufactured products – ranging from automobiles to toys – contain a lot of embedded software solutions.
Lessons learned: Developing a National Software Strategy
Software exports represent the mainstream of emerging economies and future businesses. Its activities are central to global trade and the generation of foreign currency. For development policy makers, and for entrepreneurs, it is hard to resist expending software capacity to try to build an export industry.
In fact, it is often the case that limited resources are focused on exports when they might best be used to attract foreign investment, revitalize an existing industry, or train the next generation of software people.
As was the case with government modernization, it is the local software consulting and contract services firms who are mostly preferred to be involved with industry modernization, often working with foreign systems integrators and products vendors.
However it is also recognized that local enterprise software product vendors typically appear much later in the development cycle of the software industry. The time for Nigerian Software Practitioners and Developers to emerge, add value and control the industry is now – having garnered commensurate experiences from world’s best known Software and Hardware companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, HP, UNIX, Cisco, Apple, D-link International and others, where Nigerian IT Professionals have successfully served at the top management levels.
And again, involving indigenous software developers in government owned and commercial projects can be an important stimulant and source of experience for the local firms. In fact, domestic experience in a particular industry often shapes the later export offerings of small local firms, many of which are founded by veterans of these commercial projects.
The central goal amongst others is to ensure that Nigeria taps into the window of opportunities and benefits offered by the global software revenue. Worldwide software revenues have taken over those generated by crude oil. Software innovation has become of increasing importance to national development success. It has positively permeated into all facet of human activity – from Education, Governance, Agriculture, Energy, Health and Health-care delivery, Economics, Aviation, Business, Transportation, Manufacturing, Telecommunications, Water Supply, National Security and indeed into almost every other life activity – making them Software dependent.
The National Software Strategy (NSS) will identify and address development objectives and tasks segmented into the following time-based milestones: two (2) year-time-frame, three (3) year time-frame and five (5) year time-frame. This model is designed to ensure that our national software deliverables are in tandem with global software life-cycle.