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Enhancing innovation in software development using business process excellence
Hattingh, Rayno Jacob.
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The aim of this study was to assess the impact that Business Process Excellence has on the innovation process to create new products and services in the software development environment. The best practices were identified in the current use of BPE in software development organisations. Subsequently, a proposal was put forward to enhance the use of BPE in the software development process to create innovative products and services. Once these products are implemented the organisation can use these products as a sustainable competitive advantage. The use of Business Process Excellence in software development creates an innovative environment for employees in order to develop innovative products that can create shareholder wealth, and increase market share. Companies want to create products that are unique to the market, and be able to offer their customers products that only they can offer in order to secure future business. Innovation is a key factor to enhance processes within the software development company. Enhancing the processes can generate new ideas that contribute to the sustainable competitive advantage of the company. The literature does not create a definite link between the use of Business Process Excellence and innovation, and the study aimed at evaluating the possibility to merge the concepts. Business Process Excellence optimises a currently implemented process, by exploring all ideas to increase the effectiveness of the system. It is a structured way to ensure that all possibilities are explored before a decision is made on how the process is structured to implement new products or services. The software development industry is a very competitive industry, and most companies do not share their competitive strategy, or make it available to the public, to ensure that they would be offering their customer something unique. These companies would only make their strategy known to the market once the new product or service is launched, and the trend is set for other companies to follow. It also creates the opportunity for companies to become the market leader within the industry, to ensure growth, and increase profits. Some key aspects were identified that companies could focus on to encourage an innovative environment. Most employees are willing to accept responsibility for the innovative ideas, since this will benefit the company. Managers should take responsibility for their actions within the software development department, and reward employees that assist in reaching the goals set in company strategy. The software development process should always include a step for quality and reliability. This step is needed, since even the most innovative product needs to be stable and reliable, otherwise the product will not be used by customers if they are frustrated.