Ten years after the publication of the oft-quoted Marc Andreessen op-ed "Why software is eating the world," lines of code are still revamping industry dynamics and generating fresh revenue streams. Disruption has even accelerated given wider cloud adoption and the influence of AI.
Companies worldwide are on pace to spend nearly $600 billion on enterprise software this year, according to Gartner projections. In 2011, when investor and entrepreneur Andreessen first published his op-ed, Gartner estimated total enterprise software spend worldwide at just $269 billion, a growth spurt of 123%.
Today, every company is software intensive, according to Arun Batchu, senior director analyst in Gartner's Software Engineering practice. "That means, if they do not have a software strategy, then they will not be able to compete in the world and eventually kind of fade out."
The implications of software impact the business world at large, as companies today incorporate software into their product offerings, operations and use it to generate additional revenue.
A decade ago, the industries disrupted by software were far ranging. Netflix challenged other video content providers and Amazon stood firm in the e-commerce space.
"Companies in every industry need to assume that a software revolution is coming," Andreessen wrote in the op-ed, which first appeared in The Wall Street Journal on August 20, 2011. "This includes even industries that are software-based today."
Today, software is baked into company operations, products and services in every industry. No longer a cost center, software can deliver productivity or innovation. Software can also ease technical talent shortages.
Through development tools, software will also "become more accessible to everyone, and in many cases experience or baseline knowledge in this area will be a necessary skill set for many jobs where it isn’t required today," said Christian Beedgen, co-founder and CTO at Sumo Logic, in an email.
A growing number of businesses are now software market players, even those with long trajectories in other verticals.
Some businesses, leveraging success with internal software practices, can produce platforms and sell them to other companies, effectively connecting the dots between software development and a fresh, previously untapped revenue stream.
Walmart is one recent example of software-turned-product-line beyond the traditional vendor market. The retail giant announced in July it will integrate its technology offerings with Adobe's commerce platform, and bring its digital and tech solutions to other players in its industry Duke Energy also found a revenue stream in software by selling its VR-enabled technician safety training platform to other businesses, according to Bonnie Titone, SVP and CIO.