More Concerns About Software

Dr. Aho added that the issue of software is an extremely important one, and that software productivity has always been a matter of concern to software engineers. He also raised several questions: How much software is required to run the global economy? At what rate is it growing? Are there any measures of the volume of software? He raised a related issue: Once software is added to a system, it is difficult to remove it. He expressed concern that in many cases, the software people in a company are younger than the systems they are maintaining. This can create handicaps in trying to upgrade such systems.

Dr. Jorgenson commented that both the preceding observations were germane in describing what we know about software investment. He said that such figures are not available for other countries in comparable form and they exclude the phenomenon described by Dr. Raduchel. We have made some progress in our knowledge about software especially since 1999, the year when the Department of Commerce began to track it. The most significant gap in our knowledge, however, is how to use these numbers to calculate productivity. He ended the session by expressing the hope that the current workshop would shed some light on precisely this issue.


Systems Management (Spring). The authors write that re-engineering “...was enthusiastically advanced by the popular business press and was tried by a substantial number of major business firms, despite high costs and a failure rate of 75 percent.”

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