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Detroit-based Compuware offers CARS to drive application quality

The quality assurance bugaboo that has resulted in flawed application development efforts since the punch card era continues to plague companies today, according to a survey by Forrester Research, Inc., (www.forrester.com) Cambridge, Mass.

Two-thirds of executives surveyed indicated that part or most of their organization fail to follow established QA processes consistently, said John Williams of Compuware Corp., (www.Compuware.com) which commissioned the survey.

Compuware released the results of the survey this week (June 2) has part of the launch of a new product combining QA software and consulting aimed at addressing the gap between theory and practice.

The Forrester survey of IT executives as well as a small percentage of business executives in North America and Europe indicates that problems with consistently implementing quality management persists even though application failure can prove costly.

“The findings corroborated a huge connection between application failure and business consequences, specifically in the form of material revenue loss,” said Williams, who is directing Compuware’s product launch.

He explained that 82% of the respondents indicated that the consequences of an application failure would be material revenue loss to their company.

“When we actually drilled down on their experience with application failure, Williams said, “44% of the respondents indicated that they had experienced an application failure in the last three years. Of those who acknowledged an application failure, 64% said they had experienced a material revenue loss from that application failure.”

The lack of success was not necessarily due to a lack of software tools or the establishment of formal QA processes.

“When we looked at the issue of practices,” William said, “we found that 60% of the respondents had made an investment in quality testing tools and in the process area 75% indicated that they had initiated formal processes to assure quality. However, this did not appreciably alter their experience with application quality. Of those who had both tools and processes, only 39% indicated that they were highly satisfied with quality versus 34% of the entire sample.”

Based on the Forrester survey, Williams said Detroit-based Compuware believes that the solution is to find a way to make sure quality processes are followed throughout the application development lifecycle. That is the goal of the Compuware Application Reliability Solution (CARS) products and services being launched this week (June 2).

What is different about this QA product is that Compuware is not just selling methodology and testing tools, although that is part of the offering. When a company signs up for CARS, a team of consultants comes in to set up a “Center of Excellence” to oversee the application quality lifecycle that runs parallel to the development lifecycle, Williams said. The CARS team then runs at least one application development project through the system to train company employees and assure that the process is working, he added.

“One major drivers for creating this CARS offering was to help assure that companies follow processes consistently and establish that discipline,” Williams said. “What we’ve done in order to do that is not only include a structured methodology but also imbed that methodology in the underlying technology, so as to insure that all of the participants follow the process. There’s a workflow built right into the quality assurance workbench that comes with the offering that helps to insure that you follow the discipline that comes with the process.”

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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