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IBM Takes the Guesswork Out of Services Consulting

Big Blue pushes a new research discipline called services science

6 min read

Money, money everywhere for R&D, it seems—hundreds of billions, in fact, and more of it every year—but barely a trickle goes to services research. Yet, the services sector now accounts for between 60 percent and 80 percent of developed countries’ gross domestic product and worker wages. Does innovation improve only the proverbial widget, or can services firms leverage R&D to spur innovations and increase productivity?

IBM Corp. is launching a bold new initiative to find out. The company, which came in at No. 10 on our annual list of top R&D spenders, is the only one of the top 100 spenders that derives a significant percentage—slightly more than half—of its revenue from services. Although the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 83 percent of all U.S. jobs are in services, many of the big tech-related services companies, such as Computer Sciences Corp., in El Segundo, Calif., and Electronic Data Systems Corp., in Plano, Texas, don’t even bother breaking out their R&D expenditures. Only Accenture, in Hamilton, Bermuda, touts its R&D expertise as a competitive advantage, and its US $243 million R&D budget for 2005 didn’t come close to cracking the top 100 R&D spenders, much less the top 10.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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