Software Intelligence – What is it and why now?

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Software is important. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that. It runs everything. Reservations for flights, the bills we get for phone service, the systems we use in government and transport, our bank accounts, and increasingly the devices that surround our daily lives. Every major type of business today is mostly run on software – it’s what makes us digital, rather than legacy businesses. According to Gartner, 42% of CEOs say that “digital first” or “digital to the core” is now their companies’ digital business posture.

Having more intelligence about our software is something we all know we need – all the way from the developers and architects who build our systems to the CIOs and C-suite executives that run digital businesses. Most organizations today still operate without significant capabilities in Software Intelligence. As business moves to digital, we see this changing quickly. At the same time, the industry for producing Software Intelligence has recently become enterprise-grade and widely available. This is why it is now, in 2018, that we are seeing the emergence of Software Intelligence as a category of need.

Software Intelligence helps digital leaders communicate, make decisions, measure and drive teams, protect businesses and brands, continuously improve soundness and security, and better understand the complexity of critical systems. While software is still a black box, Software Intelligence creates visibility into that black box and into software factories, helping prevent disasters and generate the most from software assets and ADM budgets.

Software Intelligence helps practitioners – architects, developers, QA professionals – become digital leaders in their own right, by getting really smart about the complex systems they have to build, sustain and enhance. It helps technical personnel navigate these complex systems, see where enhancements create new problems, put architectures in place to maintain high levels of security and flexibility, and generally deliver super software – bulletproof, resilient, maintainable, scalable and secure.

Much of today’s software infrastructure has to be updated, rethought, re-engineered and moved to the cloud. Software Intelligence shows where applications need to be updated to become internet-scale on the cloud. Without Software Intelligence, a move to cloud is just “the same mess for less,” and as large systems migrate to cloud, the costs for operating these systems mount, becoming like the timeshare arrangements of yesteryear. Getting control over these cost drivers can spell the difference between having budget for innovation and spending everything for lights-on operation.

As software becomes increasingly business- and mission-critical, availability, integrity and security issues get more attention from media, the public and governments. Airline failures have received a lot of press and customer attention in 2017. New compliance and risk requirements are starting to emerge in national, state and super-national jurisdictions in all industries in the form of GDPR, Regulation SCI, 23NYCRR 500 rules, FFIEC updates, and HIPPA requirements. Access to robust Software Intelligence helps organizations prevent major outages and breaches, while providing material for regulatory compliance.

Lastly, we continue to have a skills shortage in software development and maintenance. According to McKinsey, demand could be four times supply for Agile development skills. Software Intelligence automated into the pipeline helps development teams do more with less by being more efficient and having a better understanding of the software they are building. It’s not a cure-all, but as we look to automation to help labor shortages in all industries, we should look to the same for software development and maintenance.

As we rush headlong into our digital future, we have yet many capabilities to build, adding layers to our “legacy” application portfolio. We need to treat software as a core part of all our businesses, and that means we need to know more about it than we do today. About its health, size and the risks that lurk within. Digital leaders are getting wise to this need and getting themselves equipped with enterprise-grade Software Intelligence. If you don’t want to be left behind, this is a category you need to know. The time is now to get smart about your software. 

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Lev Lesokhin
Lev Lesokhin EVP, Strategy and Analytics at CAST
Lev spends his time investigating and communicating ways that software analysis and measurement can improve the lives of apps dev professionals. He is always ready to listen to customer feedback and to hear from IT practitioners about their software development and management challenges. Lev helps set market & product strategy for CAST and occasionally writes about his perspective on business technology in this blog and other media.
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