New IDC Report: Quality Problems Cost Companies Up to $22 Million Annually

5 August 2008

A new white paper by International Data Corporation (IDC), found existing software quality approaches at most companies are inadequate to address the internal and external costs of software defects. Sponsored by Coverity, the IDC white paper “Improving Software Quality to Drive Business Agility,” found that development organizations find major problems with their software even after quality assurance and spend significant amounts of effort and time to repair those defects. Depending on organizational size, respondents from the IDC survey indicated that the costs of debugging are significant, reaching up to $22 million each year for some companies.

The white paper presents the results of a survey of North American companies, ranging from 250 to 10,000 employees, which were polled in the second quarter of 2008. The survey, commissioned by Coverityâ„¢, indicated that developers today see code becoming increasingly complex, with 63 percent of respondents stating that they expected code to become more complex in the coming year. Compounding the impact of this issue, 72 percent of respondents stated their debugging process remains problematic. Respondents to the survey were also found to be overly optimistic about both their defect levels and the success of internal QA environments in identifying and repairing code problems.

“Quality software remains a key business differentiator. Businesses and the IT organizations supporting them have no choice with regard to quality initiatives and the need to address the debilitating costs of software defects,” said Melinda Ballou, program director for IDC's Application Life-Cycle Management research. “Organizations should evaluate current process and organizational approaches to software quality in combination with automated approaches for code analysis and testing to help enable more secure, successful, better managed software implementations.”

According to the findings of the survey, the quality of today’s software is affected by the increasingly complex nature of code, cause by geographically distributed teams, outsourcing, legacy code, the use of open source code and the emergence of multi-threaded applications among other sources. As evidence of this, over 50 percent or respondents stated they find between 1 and 10 critical defects that require patches in the first year after releasing software into production.

“Based on our collaboration with IDC, the industry now has hard data confirming what nearly every software development organization has suspected for years - quality problems are consuming significant resources and still compromise the integrity of software in the field, “said Ben Chelf, CTO of Coverity. “Development organizations today need innovative tools that automate the tedious process of defect detection so their valued developers can stay focused on delivering new features and functionality instead of debugging problems left over from previous releases.”

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