8th August, 2021
There's an element of software to everything we do today. We use ten different software to connect to work and colleagues while working remotely and a dozen more to manage our personal life. There is hardly any aspect of our lives that software doesn't touch, and we are just beginning to participate in the software revolution!
With software getting ubiquitous, we believe a new revolution is coming—the software revolution.
Before delving deeper into the software revolution, let's take a look at three recent revolutions—the industrial, computing, and information revolution—and see if we can find a common trigger.
The 3 Recent Revolutions
Impact of the Industrial Revolution: The industrial revolution was a turning point in human history. Before the revolution, every single chore has to be done manually. From plowing the field to manufacturing clothes, one has to break his sweat and work hard.
Machines gave humans a luxury that offered them respite from the arduous lifestyle. Post the industrial revolution, all the agrarian and handicraft industries shifted to machinery.
With the introduction of machines, every aspect of living was influenced. People benefited from bulk production in the factory. They were able to access products that were expensive earlier.
The most significant impact of the industrial revolution was that it increased people's living standards.
Now, let's see what triggered the industrial revolution.
Cause of the Industrial Revolution: The main factor behind the industrial revolution was the availability of labor. Machines made the labor better, faster, and cheaper.
Machines were far better than humans in terms of accuracy. They were less prone to errors. They don't require training to start the work, unlike humans.
The machines were highly efficient. They just need electricity to operate and can constantly run, unlike humans who need regular breaks.
Additionally, machines were less expensive than human labor. A machine can complete the work of several people in fewer hours without errors.
Earlier, farmers used bullocks to plow a piece of land. It was tiring and time-consuming. But after the invention of tractors, it could be done in much less time.
Machines made the labor better, faster, and cheaper.
The computing revolution gave birth to what we call PCs now. Before PCs, there used to be mainframe computers that were huge, expensive, and only accessible to scientists in governments and large corporations.
On the other hand, a PC or personal computer can be operated by anyone and doesn't require years of training.
Today, computers have taken various forms: Laptops, desktops, palmtops, tablets, and mobiles. They have become a vital part of our life.
They are now used everywhere—education, transportation, communication, finance, etc. Go to a supermarket; you are billed through a computer. Go to a bank; your account details are stored in a computer.
As a result of the computing revolution, computing power has gone into the hands of ordinary people.
Now, let's see what caused the computing revolution.
Cause of the computing revolution: The main factor behind the computing revolution was the availability of computing power. Transistors made computing better, faster, and cheaper.
Mainframe computers were made from vacuum tubes that made them bulky, expensive, and unreliable.
Further, operating mainframe computers required expertise and training as they were complicated. Additionally, because of the heat dissipated, they were prone to errors and required a large amount of electricity to operate.
Personal computers (PCs) were far better than mainframe computers. They were easier to learn and operate. Their processing unit was made of transistors, which made PCs much faster and more accurate than mainframes.
In 1965, the co-founder of Intel, Gordon Moore, predicted that transistors on a microchip would double every two years (called the Moore's Law), which means the speed and capability of computers would increase every couple of years while the cost would decrease.
This is exactly what happened. While 1 MB storage by a mainframe computer was seen as an achievement in the 70s, for PCs, that was relatively modest.
While a mainframe computer requires more than a person to operate, which means more labor and more compensation to be paid, PCs could be operated by a single person.
Transistors made computing better, faster, and cheaper.
Besides, mainframe computers can only be used by computer scientists whereas even a child could use a PC.
Now, let's look at another revolution that changed the way we communicate forever—the information revolution.
Earlier, people used to depend on newspapers, radios, and televisions for information. But with the advent of the internet, they get all the information they want immediately.
The internet enabled people to communicate with each other instead of just listening to what some few had to say.
Today people living thousands of miles away from each other can talk through video calls because of the internet.
If you want information about a particular topic, you can immediately Google it. If you want a step-by-step tutorial on cooking a dish, you can watch it on Youtube.
The internet has made it possible to collaborate with each other during a pandemic where working in an office environment has become impossible.
With the internet, smartphone, and UPI, one can carry out cashless transactions from any part of the world. That's the revelation the internet has brought us today.
The internet has empowered people in ways that no other media could. Social media allowed people to express their opinions publicly, which has dramatically impacted policymakers.
Those who were denied justice in the past got help from communities that came together to support them online. And all this is possible because of the internet. Now it has become a powerful tool in the lives of netizens.
What led to the information revolution. The main trigger behind the connectivity revolution is the internet. It made sending and retrieving information better, faster, and cheaper than ever before.
The internet proved to be better than the older ways of retrieving information. Who would want to read books or skim through a bundle of newspapers for information? The internet saved time and gave people the information they required at the moment they needed it.
The internet was also faster than the traditional ways of communicating. Who would want to write letters to communicate with their loved ones when they can have a real-time video call over Skype?
Also, the internet has evolved at a much faster pace than the old ways due to technologies, such as 4G.
Furthermore, the internet has made many tasks possible that were not possible earlier, like doing online transactions and sending and receiving multimedia messages.
Today, even a common person from a rural region has a smartphone with an internet connection.
The internet made access to information better, faster, and cheaper.
As we can see from all three revolutions, the trigger for any revolution is that something gets better, faster, and cheaper.
We see a similar thing happening in the world of software: The SaaS delivery model has made software better, faster, and cheaper.
Let's see how.
Earlier, you needed to pay huge setup costs for on-premise software, and the whole process was time-consuming. But since there were no trials available, you have to continue with the same application for years without being able to try out other available options, pushing you to vendor lock-ins.
On the other hand, there are plenty of SaaS applications for each use case. As a result, you have a luxury of choice. You can select the one that best suits your budget needs.
The SaaS model has made the software easier to procure. While the traditional on-premise software requires huge setup costs, time, and expertise to implement, you can get started with SaaS within a few minutes.
SaaS apps providers offer free trials. In addition, many vendors have freemium plans to get started. And if you aren't satisfied with your current vendor, you can switch to another vendor easily.
The evolution of smart technologies has made machines interact with each other and make decisions autonomously. As a result, the software is increasingly being used at offices, homes, malls, & restaurants.
Earlier, software was limited to enterprises and available for fewer tasks but now SaaS providers have started to develop products for small and medium-sized businesses. Today, we can find apps for anything and everything we want to do.
Many things that we have felt remarkable in the past have become normal today and all credits to software. Already the shift to a completely softwarized environment has kickstarted. So, it's true that we are moving to a 100% software era.
Since the adoption of software will become easier and cost-friendly, organizations end up having a clogged SaaS landscape that has redundant applications in the form of unused licenses, duplicate apps, and wrong tier plans.
Furthermore, it will lead to shadow IT. We've discussed the risks of shadow IT in this post, but here is a summary: Shadow IT brings financial, compliance, and security risks. And these risks are not limited to business software, even simple software in a smart washing machine or fridge, if not monitored, can cause headaches.
A business that uses plenty of software can't just stop with its adoption. That too, with the SaaS market flowing with applications, you need to select the right ones, or a small security threat can cause costly damages to your organization.
Therefore, we think we will need to govern software similar to electricity meters. We can already see the emergence of SaaS management platforms for the same.
Zluri, a SaaS management tool that helps you eliminate budget wastage on software, automate IT tasks, and reduce risks.
Zluri makes sure you are secure and compliant. It gives real-time alerts when a high-risk application has entered your SaaS landscape. It also helps you with employee onboarding and safe offboarding. 
Every revolution is built on the infrastructure of all the previous revolutions. Building computers on a mass scale was possible due to factories built during the industrial revolution. Internet penetration was possible because devices on which it runs like mobile and computers were already there.
Because of this, every next revolution takes place in a shorter time frame than the previous one. Industrial took 50- 100 years, computers took 30-50 years, the internet took 10-20 years, and we think that we will reach 100% software era within the next 5-10 years. [Zluri]