Last night I read through the results of a study from Original Software entitled Software Quality and Testing: A CIO Perspective. After I read it, I had to pick myself up off the floor. “Why was Chris on the floor” you ask? Because one of the main findings of the study was that 40% of CIO’s reported a general indifference towards the quality of the software they produce. When directly asked “What is the perceived importance of Software Quality Assurance (SQA) in your organization?” here was how the CIO’s responded:
I found it really shocking that 25% of CIO’s considered SQA “Nice to Have” and 15% apparently don’t even think about it. Why this is so shocking is that the same exact CIO’s who said that SQA is not really important to them said that their #1 management challenge is cost reduction. Hmm…consider the cost of software failures (both small and catastrophic) due to low quality. It could be in the millions from lost revenue, a reduced customer base, and let’s not forget about the law suits if you really messed up. Now, reconsider the cost reduction strategy. 40% of the CIO’s surveyed had not invested in any type of software automation at all. Only 1/3 made a significant investment of over $100,000 in testing automation, and another 18% were “just dabbling in it”. When you consider that really large companies could spend upwards of $250,000 on automated testing tools, it seems like a small amount to spend considering the large amount of money a company stands to lose due to catastrophic software failures.
To me, this cost reduction (or avoidance) strategy just makes no sense at all. I believe that CIO’s that ignore is discard the benefits of testing have a careless disregard for customer satisfaction, not to mention disregard for the long-term bottom-line health of their companies. To me, it’s a short-term, near-sighted solution, that in the long run can cause the demise of otherwise healthy software companies. So, do yourself and your customers a favor and make the investment in software testing. And if you decide to make SQA more than just a cost of doing business, make it a fundamental business practice or a strategic business imperative, you’ll have a competitive advantage over 56% of the rest of your competitors.
Note: The survey was conducted by Richmond Events and sponsored by Original Software. The respondents were all delegates of the CIO Forum in New York, their companies having average annual revenues of $5.8billion, and IT budgets of $764 million.