IT Chiefs Don’t Care About Software Quality, Survey Says
October 21, 2008 Alex Woodie
More than 40 percent of CIOs and senior IT executives participating in a recent opinion survey indicated they don’t care at all or care very little about the quality of their companies’ software, according to Original Software, the developer of software testing tools that funded the survey and recently released its findings.
Original’s opinion poll, which was conducted on board a cruise ship during the recent Richmond Events 2008 CIO Forum, was not a scientific survey. The company did not disclose the number of people it polled, which would allow the calculation of a measurable rate of error. Nonetheless, it’s still possible to get something of value out of Original’s survey, which it dubbed a “qualitative poll.”
Original disclosed the results of its qualitative poll in a white paper titled “Software Quality and Testing: A CIO Perspective,” which is available on Original’s Web site at www.origsoft.com/ciosurvey/ciowhitepaper.pdf.
While the executives admitted that technology was transforming their businesses, and that they were successfully taking advantage of the advances of technology (virtualization and application consolidation being the top two), the survey points to a gap emerging between executives’ expectations of the powers of technology and the actual work required to effectively unleash that power.
“There was a stark (and somewhat alarming) difference of opinion regarding the perceived importance of software quality,” Original’s white paper reads. “On one hand wernsee a healthy 44 percent of people tell us that SQA [software quality assurance] is either a fundamental business process or of strategic importance.” On the other hand are the 40 percent of executives who said SQA was either “nice to have” or of “no interested at all.”
“Such disregard is surprising given the number of high-profile horror stories the media have recently reported about poor software quality,” says Colin Armitage, CEO of Original Software. Armitage cited several horror stories, including the disastrous launch of terminal 5 at London’s Heathrow airport; the failed ERP installation at American LaFrance that caused the fire-engine company to go into bankruptcy; and dozens of cases of hospital patients dying due to computer flaws that caused systems to administer heavy overdoses.”
It’s time to rethink the roll of SQA in the enterprise, Armitage says. “CIOs cannot forego basic IT fundamentals and CEOs and shareholders cannot let them,” he says. “We need cost effective technology in these cost constrained times.”