Software quality management may not be the number one priority of today’s modern CIO. However, left untouched or unmeasured, poor software quality can have negative affects on other critical parts of IT infrastructure, such as application security, software performance and compliance to industry standards. This can hinder an organization’s ability to digitally transform at speed.
Last week, industry luminaries gathered to discuss how organizations can best address software quality to support digital transformation efforts at the Future of Software Conference, held last week in Bangalore.
To begin the day, Dr. Bill Curtis, Executive Director of The Consortium for IT Software Quality, and Akilur Rahman, CTO of ABB India, discussed the importance of trustworthy software systems. Dr. Curtis discussed the era of nine-digit defects, explaining that “when losses from IT malfunctions hit 5 or 6 digits, IT managers are at risk; when losses hit 7 or 8 digits, line of business executives are at risk; but when losses hit 9 digits, C-level jobs are at risk.”
Mr. Rahman echoed the importance of software quality in creating trustworthy systems in a digitally connected world with many IoT devices and dispersed systems that require connectivity. “We count on a high-level of precision for our systems to be fast, reliable and repeatable. As we continue to adopt emerging technologies, like virtual reality and augmented reality, into business processes, we must also be able to control the cost and risk associated with these investments.”
Ramkumar Narayanan, VP of Technology and Managing Site Director of R&D at VMWare, shared his own perspective on how digital transformation trends are impacting the need for improved software quality.
“With everything digitized and connected, there is an even greater need for data privacy and security in business software,” he said. “From business models to people to infrastructure, privacy and security requirements must be built-in and considered as the number one priority.”
Mr. Narayanan went on to emphasize the importance of intrinsic application security across the board in digital transformation. Everything from blockchain to cloud enablement should have security best practices baked-in, he said.
The day concluded with a panel discussion centered around Software Intelligence and it’s ability to give transparency into software quality for cloud migration and outsourcing efforts.
“As developers write less and less code and move to more PaaS- and SaaS-based solutions, establishing software quality standards across the board is critical, particularly for measuring and improving productivity,” said Dr. Bill Curtis. “This is particularly true for incumbent organizations who have to deal with higher software complexity, compared to startups who are disrupting the market by building and deploying software in days, rather than months or years.”
Naresh Choudhary, Vice President at Infosys, took it a step further by emphasizing the role outsourcers play in upholding software quality, particularly considering the rate of outsourced software development by large companies.
“I read a report which says that 90% of the top banks and top insurance companies are still on mainframe systems, and they have no plans to get rid of those systems the near future,” said Mr. Choudhary. “As our customers move from fixed-cost models to outcome-based contracts, we must consistently demonstrate improvement in the quality of the software we deliver, and we must show that we’ve done so in a productive and metrics-driven manner.”