Achieving Success with Packaged Software Implementations/Upgrades requires good development as well as a complementary QA approach
Advances in the design and building of software have been tremendous over the last twenty years. Software applications continue to evolve at a rapid pace and now bind our professional and personal lives together. In short, software applications have been so successful they have become ubiquitous. This phenomenon has created a relentless pace of innovation and change in the software world. A question worth asking is, “What’s driving this software transformation?” The obvious answer is the need for information, but this isn’t a complete explanation. It’s the velocity and accuracy of information that makes it useful. Data is useless when it’s not flowing in a timely manner to the appropriate consumers. Any disruption in the timely flow of valuable information, or the delivery of inaccurate information, erodes the return on investment in software applications.
The continuous arrival of new, innovative business software, such as SAP, leads to new projects for an IT organization to manage. These projects are typically outsourced to the usual suspects, the large systems integrators. The implementation and testing are owned by the same party in most cases. Also, less than 10% of SAP customers use automated tools. Software development practices have made quantum leaps. However, software testing continues to be a lagging discipline. Why is this? It’s hard to understand using a manual approach when testing comprises, on average, forty percent of an IT project budget.
A company that manufactures air planes has core competencies in the design, build and operation of aircraft. One can argue, the most valuable skill in the IT department of any aerospace company is the quality assurance of the software systems used to produce aircraft. These software systems deliver information about the collection of business processes employed to produce aircraft in the most efficient, optimum way. For example, Spirit Aero makes money for its shareholders by producing and selling aircraft. Any breakdown in the software or processes that drive aircraft production at the company will have an adverse effect on company’s performance.
These are simple concepts. Modern companies have a high reliance on software applications and processes to help deliver profitability for their business. Do non-software producing companies organize their IT operations around quality assurance? How are IT departments driving quality and who’s leading them? How are the costs of poorly implemented software systems measured and communicated to executives?
Whose responsibility is quality… IT or THE BUSINESS? Who knows the most about the business requirements? THE BUSINESS! Who is best engineered, structured and skilled to execute a full quality program? IT! So why aren’t enterprise Quality Programs implemented? And if they are why don’t these programs have equal representation from IT and THE BUSINESS? Why is quality and testing software engineered for IT use solely? It’s time to expect more from your organization and your technology! TO BE CONTINUED…