Does Model Driven Software Engineering result in a true “competitive advantage” for an organisation? From what I have read of things promoting MDD/MDA the answer is supposed to be “yes”. However…..
Michael Porter in the article “What is Strategy” (Harvard Business Review, Nov-Dec. 1996) suggests that strategic competitive advantages comes from choices about what activities a company undertakes and the trade offs required in making those choices. A simple example is McDonalds chooses to make particular type of food, and then develops its business model around that. By choosing to sell mass produced hamburgers, they consciously choose not to compete for high class dinning.
Porter then makes a distinction between Operating Effectiveness and Fit of Activities. Operating Effectiveness is about doing the activities of an organisation better, faster, cheaper. He then says that for an individual activity it is usually easy for a competitor to emulate a specific practice if it is faster, or cheaper. Fit of Activity however is about making it harder to for competitors to emulate and compete, because they must make the same choices. If you want to make hamburgers, you either have to compete with McDonalds, or find a different hamburger market.
Fit of Activities, not Operating Effectiveness is at the heart of strategic competitive advantage. Operating Effectiveness is important, but not business strategy.
To my mind Model Driven Software Engineering is in the Operating Effectiveness category – it’s better, cheaper, faster. It will only temporarily give you an advantage over your competitors, as if we are very successful with it, then people will copy what we are doing. Unless you can find a way to link it to other activities, or better still reinforce other things you are doing well.
So, how do others see it?