Energy, Prototyping and Information Architecture

Ten years ago....a young start-up software company would conceive of an application, raise a bunch of money then build a prototype that could face its target market for feedback. There was a lot of praying and a lot of waste that resulted from the application developer's inability to test if the app knew quickly what was important to the user and in what order. This made investment life difficult for investors who thought process improvement in upstream energy was a good place to invest. Too much time was required and industry cycles amplified the risk of "too much time." First the cloud came out which shortened time and then prototyping as a service.

The cloud negated the requirement to build plumbing for the application and this shortened the time requirement to get to prototype. Of more recent vintage is "prototyping as a service." This enables starting companies to develop a working theory of "what was important to the user and in what order." This is generally known as information architecture. This is a click through form of the application with which a target user can experiment and the developer can observe. Companies like inVision make this happen.

The leverage of software prototyping is huge. It takes a LOT of slack out of the development cycle which means it takes a lot less money to get an application to market and have "product market fit." This is something that software vendors targeting the energy sector would be well served to understand. The domain vernacular is like no other and the processes are many times unique. This would add significantly to the success of the market.

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