6/3/2003 - Compuware Corporation (NASDAQ: CPWR) announced the results of a recent study commissioned by the company and conducted by Forrester Research, focusing on the experiences of IT and business executives in delivering reliable business applications.
“The purpose of this study was to better understand how organizations approach application quality and to better quantify the effect poor application quality can have on a business,” said Tommi White, Chief Operating Officer at Compuware Corporation. “First and foremost, the findings of this study support what we are seeing today and have seen for some time in the marketplace--applications that fail after being deployed have a direct and negative impact on the business. In fact, the senior executives who participated in this study were quick to link application failure with material revenue loss.”
The study, which included 125 senior IT and business executives from large companies in the U.S. and Europe, found that 82 percent of respondents associate application failure with material revenue loss. This same study found that 44 percent had experienced an application failure in the last three years, with 64 percent of this group directly experiencing material revenue loss due to application failure.
Meeting Delivery Schedules as a Quality Metric?
The study also found that project delivery is the most popular metric used to ensure that applications meet quality targets. Allowed to select multiple responses, 82 percent of executives indicated that delivering an application on time and on budget is their key measurement in determining the quality of an application.
“We feel that this Forrester study confirms the very real and very serious dilemma facing today’s IT organization--the balance between application delivery and application reliability,” continued White. “As a former CIO of a Fortune 1000 company, I know full-well the tremendous pressure IT executives are under to deliver highly complex, highly functional business-driving applications on time and within budget. Conversely, as a businessperson, I fully understand the severe, negative impact that deploying faulty applications can have not only on a company’s bottom line, but also on its reputation, competitive position, market share and other critical business-success factors. The consequences of application failure once deployed are pervasive and debilitating. However, delivering applications on time and within budget and deploying reliable, dependable applications do not need to be mutually exclusive. They can be achieved simultaneously. Frankly, for the overall health of the business, it is imperative that these two objectives are both fulfilled.”
Knowledge is Power When It Comes to Deploying Reliable Applications
Not having enough information or the right type of information was cited as the primary culprit behind the deployment of applications with questionable quality, with 86 percent of executives attributing lack of visibility as the top reason applications are deployed despite quality issues. This lack of visibility includes issues not visible to decision makers, issues not known at the time of deployment and problems not appearing severe enough to delay deployment.
Quality is Tied to Business Requirements
Executives agree that meeting business requirements is their top quality objective. Allowed to select three choices, 86 percent of respondents indicated that meeting business requirements is a top quality goal. Given only one choice, 63 percent said that meeting business requirements has the most significant impact on the business. The next two closest factors, reliability and application availability and uptime, came in at 17 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
Tools Can Get You Part of the Way There
Approximately 60 percent of respondents indicated that they have invested in quality testing tools for application development. Opinions were varied concerning the effectiveness of these tools related to the quality of their applications. While 24 percent saw significant improvement, 63 percent only experienced some improvement, with 13 percent seeing minimal improvement. From Compuware’s perspective, these numbers verify that automation is important in helping to achieve application quality, but it is not a complete solution.
Quality Processes Can Help--If They are Consistently Used
A similar story can be told related to the implementation of quality processes. Seventy-five percent of respondents said that their organizations have implemented formal processes to ensure application quality. However, more than two-thirds (69 percent) indicated that some parts or most of the organization fail to follow the processes consistently. Furthermore, the study showed that most companies that have experienced an application failure and have implemented processes do not consistently follow their quality processes. Of the 36 companies that reported experiencing application failure over the last three years and have implemented formal processes, only 11 percent said that everyone in their organization follows these processes all of the time.
“Clearly, implementing quality processes into the application delivery cycle is an answer to the quality issue, but it is only a partial answer,” continued White. “This data shows that processes are only effective if they are being used consistently across the organization. The discipline to use implemented processes is key.”
Comprehensive Approach is the Best Means to Improving Application Quality
Of the 125 companies surveyed, 60 percent indicated they have implemented tools, 49 percent indicated they have implemented both tools and processes but only 18 percent indicated they have implemented tools and processes, which they consistently follow. Related to quality, 34 percent of the 125 respondents indicated that they are very satisfied with the overall quality of their applications. However, this number jumps to 55 percent for those 22 respondents indicating they have implemented tools and consistently followed processes throughout the organization.
“A primary conclusion that must be drawn from this study is that the best approach to ensuring reliable, deployment-ready applications starts at the business requirements level and involves a combination of technology, quality processes and the discipline to follow those processes,” concluded White. “At Compuware, we have taken this a step further. Through the Compuware Application Reliability Solution (CARS), we have combined technology from Compuware’s vast products portfolio and our patented, risk-based methodology with the expertise of highly skilled professionals to provide the discipline and knowledge to ensure that business-driving applications meet business requirements and perform reliably once deployed. This is what our customers tell us they need, and what we believe this study confirms.”
Conducted between February and March of 2003, the study was designed to understand the impact of application quality on business results and to understand how firms ensure the quality of the business applications they develop and deploy. The results were based on in-depth phone interviews with key decision makers using a structured research guide. These key decision makers included 75 IT and business executives in North America and 50 IT and business executives in Europe. Respondents by role included 85 percent IT executive (CIO, CTO or VP of IT), 13 percent line of business executive and 2 percent Chief Financial Officer. Fourteen percent of the executives represented companies with annual revenues in excess of $10 billion; 59 percent of the executives represented companies with annual revenues ranging from $1 billion to $10 billion; and 26 percent of the executives represented companies with annual revenues ranging from $500 million to $1 billion.
For more information about CARS, please visit http://www.compuware.com/cars
Compuware Corporation, a multi-billion dollar company, provides business value through software and professional services that optimize productivity and reduce costs across the application life cycle. Meeting the rapidly changing needs of businesses of all sizes, Compuware’s market-leading solutions improve the quality, ease the integration and enhance the performance of distributed, e-business and enterprise software. For more information about Compuware, please contact the corporate offices at 800-521-9353. You may also visit Compuware on the World Wide Web at http://www.compuware.com.
Compuware, Compuware Application Reliability Solution and CARS are registered trademarks of Compuware Corporation.
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