In times of competition pressure and economic crisis (not necessarily a crisis triggered by the financial market) one of the first steps is to reduce employees in order to cut down costs. This may be a very logical step for the manufacturing part of a company but usually affects also other employees from service departments or employees maintaining the internal infrastructure of the company. Basically it means usually (even on reduced sales) that less people have to do the same amount of work. I have seen several client companies "optimizing" their "structures" with the idea of doing more (or at least the same) with less people.
In times of economic crisis (or in areas of hard competition) a general idea is even to reduce the time needed for production or for completing services - also in order to reduce overall costs.
Last but not least all the optimizations needed have to be implemented quickly.
As an effect of appropriate optimization actions quality of service is often reduced - not by intention, but as a (logical) side effect.
Improving the efficiency and maintaining the services (or even improving them) although reducing staff is only possible with the help of technical improvement (in production as well as in administration and even sales). This includes appropriate hard- and software to be optimized.
To gain an advantage in comparison to other companies it would either be required not to do the job as all the others do it also - no, only investing into innovative new solutions could bring an advantage.
Being a customer I faced several issues with companies lately where they could not provide me the service I would have expected because of inflexible software. New solutions available on the market right now on the other hand are often too flexible - offering the possibility of doing everything and nothing. The used software should offer a concrete help for providing the required services and support company workflows.
Oh, and I lately thought about who would the government finance the help given to banks or other companies. Then I heard of the idea introducing a tax on internet traffic. Then I thought how would this affect company strategies. Many programs would have to be optimized to produce less internet traffic.
So I think that there is still much software to write although there is so much written these days...
Related posts: IT investment required, Bronze age of IT, IT project costs explosion, The Open Source movement, Scope of IT projects.