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Software: an utility or a strategic asset?

«One of the most important ways in which these efforts differ is where the risks lie.

For utility projects the biggest risk is some kind of catastrophic error – you don’t want the sewage pipe to break, or to miss payroll. So you need enough attention to make sure that doesn’t happen, but other than that you want costs to be as low as possible.

However with strategic projects, the biggest risk is not doing something before your competitors do. So you need to be able to react quickly. Cost is much less of an issue because the opportunity cost of not doing something is far greater than costs of software development itself.»

— Martin Fowler, on software as utility or as strategic assET

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