The Software Quality Debate Rages On

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RFG believes that enterprise application software vendors who rigorously quality test their code and partner with customers will emerge as champions over those who do not. Those vendors that do quality test their code should have no problem demonstrating to their customers and prospects that they have a rigorous system testing and release process, and that the code is stable and performs as claimed. Moreover, they will secure steady revenue and an annuity steam because satisfied customers will remain loyal and will buy additional products based on a vendor's reputation for delivering quality software.

Finally, there is the issue of compliance. IT executives, along with other C-level executives and officers of enterprises, will soon be required to sign off on the accuracy of financial statements and other reporting instruments. It would be heinous if inaccurate reporting and misstatements made by C-level executives were, in fact, based on a software bug in an application that had gone undetected by vendor QA, or lack thereof. Savvy IT and C-level executives will compel their application software vendor partners to certify that the software code being delivered has passed internal quality tests, is stable, and contains no known errors that could limit or eliminate entirely the application's accessibility or functionality and ability to perform. These executives do not want to be led away in handcuffs only to discover that a vendor-generated software bug was responsible for reporting errors.

RFG believes IT executives, their C-level and LOB counterparts, and the vendors themselves are beginning to understand that a company's partnership with a few good vendors will be of greatest value to the organization. IT executives are becoming vocal with their IT vendors about the requirements of their organizations and compelling them to listen and take action or forfeit business. Moreover, IT executives are engaging legal counsel and knowledgeable third parties to negotiate for amenities, penalties, and other protective clauses in contracts that mitigate enterprise risk and exposure. IT executives should continue on this course, as in doing so they will continue to add value to the organization and elevate the role of IT. Application software vendors, who have not already done so, should take heed as those vendors who understand the value of partnership, quality, and shared risk/reward will ultimately prevail.

RFG analyst Maria DeGiglio wrote this Research Note. Interested readers should contact RFG Client Services to arrange further discussion or an interview with Ms. DeGiglio.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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