Eric Veldkamp is managing director van het Nederlandse bedrijf Dynamics Software. HIj blogt in het Engels, dat we onverkort hier plaatsen.
If you need to write something in November there are a lot of interesting topics to write about. You can write about year progressing, what to expect the coming years, about events, trends, cloud, Internet of Things, Machine Learning, new product releases and much, much more. But if you are in the software business there is certainly 1 topic which you should touch and that is Sjoemelsoftware.
One of Satya Nadella's statements I like most is the one he mentioned at Convergence US earlier this year "Every business will become a software business" and that is 100% true. This is a quote made as part of his speech on business transformation, disruption and how the Internet of Things will drive to change business models. He meant business models and software business in a good way, not the change of business model in a bad business. Even in a good business there is the risk of using software in a bad way.
Sjoemelsoftware is the Dutch word used for the Volkswagen emission scandal which headlines the financial news since September 18, 2015. Other headlines used are Emission Scandal, Dieselgate, Diesel Dupe, Defeat Devices or Diesel Deception. The English translation for the word sjoemel is fiddle, cheat or chisel which would make it fiddleware, cheatware or chiselware. Which do you like most?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered that VW cars being sold in America had devices in diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested for emission results. These devices changed the performance accordingly to improve results. The German car giant has immediately admitted cheating emissions tests in the US. VW wanted to seriously increase Diesel car sales in US and that was backed by a huge marketing campaign trumpeting its cars' low emissions. VW has admitted that about 11 million cars worldwide, including eight million in Europe, are fitted with the "defeat device". But it is not the device, it is the software that could sense test scenarios by monitoring speed, engine operation, air pressure and even the position of the steering wheel.
If I remember well it was one of the VW top managers who mentioned it being the fault of IT specialists. Yes, of course.
Another top manager responded that VW has broken trust of customers and public. Yes, indeed.
The financial impact of the recall, fixing the cars, fines, claims etc. will be huge, multiple billions of dollars. The impact of losing trust after fraudulent behavior is undefined yet and can lead to ruining the company. I have seen that before being a former Baan employee and there are many predecessors like Enron, World online, etc.