Software is taking over the world. You would be hard pressed today to find a company without dedicated software development efforts. But even in traditional business models, this is not confined to line-of-business applications. Organizations now have public, contractor and field team applications—as well as end users. And they must consider the results-focused future of software development and the need for faster, higher quality application releases. This is the business value of software quality.
Development teams are no longer considered a cost center. The applications they write don’t just solve critical business problems that may or may not help the company’s bottom line, they are directly responsible for performance and customer satisfaction. And because corporate users expect user-friendly, bug-free and frequently improved functionality, the development process for these applications is critical.
Business is driven significantly by technology, so establishing new functionalities shows the market how agile and technically advanced the company is. As a result, the impact of poor software not only frustrates users, but also makes companies less competitive.
You are now a high-tech company
Beyond any line-of-business application development your organization does, your company must have a modern development shop. Driven by DevOps, this shop should have a keen eye on results, maintaining a steady stream of features and churning out new software releases.
The first step to building this team is to bring on development and IT operations team members that have experience rapidly releasing high quality software. This won’t look like your typical old school IT team. There will be an emphasis on delivery, not documentation; culture, not red tape; and empowerment, not due process.
Often organizations don’t understand quickly enough how much impact the organizational chart has on software development. Unfortunately, some organizations only realize when customer satisfaction (and their bottom line) are affected—when it becomes no longer possible to ignore the effect of a slow, and buggy, software release schedule, when a competitor leapfrogs the company, or even worse, when a tech company enters a non-technical field and achieves success faster, at a lower cost and at higher quality.
Go all in on quality
Sometimes organizations turn to IT Automation Standards, IT Service Management and Agile to justify a partial move to modern development. In the end, this change only establishes fast waterfall with good documentation. In reality, the team should concentrate on results driven first by culture, then by process and, finally, by tools. The best way to accomplish this is to change the hiring process to focus on people who have proven success and experience with this type of work.
The benefits of the DevOps method will be obvious almost immediately. Because software development in this type of organization moves at a rate where results can be measured on a monthly or weekly basis, the value of the new team will be readily apparent. If the composition of the team still isn’t quite right, you’ll be able to respond more quickly to that as well.
Analytics is another critical business benefit of modern development infrastructures. The software analytics DevOps-driven development teams produce are rich with information that will benefit even business teams. These reports can be produced on the fly with great accuracy and provide information on usage, application details and customer adoption that executives did not have access to previously. Once your business team realizes what kind of data a DevOps team can generate, they’ll never give it up!
Clearly, high software quality is critical to users, and the path to better, faster releases is modern software development and tools. Establishing a team that concentrates on quality first with adequate error tracking like what RayGun (full disclosure, RayGun is both a friend and previous client of mine) provides, ensures that application releases create better first impressions and that bugs are not responsible for delaying future releases.
Software development is undeniably a business issue in our high-tech world, and it will affect your bottom line.