"Lets Not Reinvent the Wheel"

I was reading about hidden costs of “packaged” software solutions – that is, using existing software to solve problems – and came across this sentence:1

While the packaged solution saved some money on development, they more than made up for it in implementation.

Huh? I typically do not distinguish development from implementation. What McComb is calling “implementation” I just call “installation”. Weird.

He goes on to detail the following activities needed to “install” a packaged solution:

Wow. Although “configuration” can conceivably be nestled under the term “installation”, the modification/extension, integration, data conversion, and change management activities are better subsumed by “implementation”! Consider yourself lucky if/when you are able to simply “pip install” and lightly configure a package without needing to do any of the above.

Can you simply “install” that package? Or will you need to implement it? To what extent does the existing wheel fit your vehicle?

This post was adapted from a note sent to my email list on Scientific Data Unification.
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  1. McComb, Dave. Software Wasteland: How the Application-Centric Mindset is Hobbling our Enterprises. Technics, 2018. ↩︎