Have you heard of Meskimen’s Law? It states the following: “There’s never time to do it right, but there’s always time to do it over.” If you work in software development you’ve probably come across colleagues who seem too ready to apply this law in the realm of software quality.
Meskimen’s Law is of course meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but sacrificing software quality for more functionality or faster development is no laughing matter when you care about the bottom line. Back in 2002 a study commissioned by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US found that between 50 and 75 percent of development funds are consumed by software developers identifying and correcting defects, and that software defects cost the U.S. economy almost $60 billion annually.
The upshot is that by focusing on quality a software company can significantly reduce costs and boost profitability. Here are three other reasons why attention to quality makes business sense:
Focusing on software quality promotes business growth
When software is made properly from the outset free from defects, it’s much easier to scale and adapt as business needs change. If a software project is successful and delivers good value to the organisation, there is a better chance the project will require additional features and functionality and be deployed in different areas.
Consider what Executive General Manager for Group Security and Chief security officer John Geurts had to say about Commonwealth Bank’s requirements when investing in software for fraud detection:
“We were […] looking to achieve an economy of scale, reducing data storage costs, enabling reuse across the group. In addition, we needed the flexibility to add new products, services and channels to the platform at a far lower incremental cost than installing another customized fraud detection system.”
Read the full story of how the Commonwealth Bank saw a 95% increase in check fraud detection efficiency.
Software makers who produce quality software thus have greater opportunities to cross sell and to sell into new markets. But if adapting or re-purposing software becomes too expensive or time consuming due to poor original implementation, these opportunities for additional sales are less likely to materialise.
Focusing on software quality promotes customer loyalty.
When a company consistently delivers quality products to its customers, those customers tend to keep returning for more. They also give positive referrals to others. Thanks to the proliferation of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, the impact of these positive referrals can be far-reaching. So too can the impact of negative referrals.
Companies that use software for high-stakes activities such as fraud detection or credit risk modelling can potentially incur millions of dollars in damages due to glitches resulting from poor quality software. You can be sure that when something like that happens it doesn’t take long for the rest of the marketplace to find out about it. By focusing on quality software, companies can ensure their customers remain happy and tell their colleagues about it.
Focusing on software quality increases brand equity
The value of a company’s brand is derived in large part from customer experience of its products and services. Brand equity is difficult to measure but it can impact the ability to raise capital, hire top quality employees, and charge a premium. Software quality problems can significantly affect the experiences customers have with a brand and the damage builds up over time. Is your idea of a good time spending the morning on the phone with Tech Support talking about error logs? (No offense to Tech Support teams!) A good solid brand with a reputation for high quality is a powerful driver of business growth.
For more on the Quality Imperative and SAS' commitment to product and service quality and customer satisfaction, download this free technical paper (no registration required).
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