Jonathan is an experienced writer with over 20 years writing about the Technology industry. Jon has written more than 750 journal and magazine articles, blogs and other materials that have been published throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has expertise in a wide-range of subjects within the IT industry including software development, enterprise software, mobile, database, security, BI, SaaS/Cloud, Health Care IT and Sustainable Technology. Jon holds a B.A. in History from Gettysburg College. He enjoys attending sporting events, cooking, studying American history and listening to Bruce Springsteen music.
If you read the news these days, one would think that software security is something that is layered on top of existing software systems. The truth is, however, that software security needs to be woven into the very fabric of every system and this begins with eliminating vulnerabilities by measuring software quality as the system is built.
During the CAST Software Quality Fall Users Group, Dr. Carol Woody, PhD, senior member of the technical staff at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University, whose research focuses on cyber security engineering, discussed the importance of software quality as a basis for security.
Last month in this space I wrote about the importance of optimizing the cost-effectiveness of Captives (i.e., Global In-House Centers) by setting metrics and enhancing process transparency for better management of them. For these management methods to work, though, an organization needs to employ automated function points as a way to way to gain insight about current costs and supplied value, which can then be used to enhance received output from current or future providers.
They say “if something works, don’t fix it.” This old adage may be the reason behind why some organizations hold onto legacy systems longer than they should, but it is also the reason why these same organizations struggle with software complexity. In fact, according to the GAO, Uncle Sam spends 80 percent of its $86.4 billion IT budget on legacy systems.
Some organizations choose not to struggle, though. Take for example the story of Pennsylvania-based underwriter NSM Insurance Group. It was reported recently on SearchCIO.com that NSM last year purchased a company that still had a COBOL-based back-office system from the 1990’s.
Barbara Beech, an expert in the field of IT development for telecommunications companies, recently spoke to CAST in a video chat about her experience using software analysis and measurement as well as automated function points to gain visibility into IT vendor deliverables.
As a solution to gaining visibility into IT vendor deliverables, Beech points to the CAST Automated Function Points (AFP) capability – an automatic function points counting method that is based on rules defined by the International Function Point User Group (IFPUG). CAST automates the manual counting process by using the structural information retrieved by source code analysis, database structure and transactions.
Benjamin Rehberg, Partner and Managing Director of the Boston Consulting Group and former consultant for IBM Global Business Services, discusses the importance of both IT risk management and application portfolio management (APM) in a video conversation with CAST. He looks at the challenges for IT leaders, the need for software measurement and discusses how IT transformation can improve business operations.
During the brief discussion, Rehberg provides answers to the following questions:
How big a challenge do you see transformation for IT leaders today?
How does software measurement affect transformation?
What are some examples of transformation projects that you’ve seen?
How would BCG characterize where we are with measurement and analytics in IT?
Why should software leaders care about software measurement?
How can metrics improve IT’s dialog with businesses?
There’s an old adage in the IT industry – you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Knowing how complex an organization’s application portfolio is provides insight into how to manage it best. The problem is the issues that comprise software complexity – legacy system remnants, antiquated code, overwritten and rewritten code, the integration of formerly proprietary applications, et al – are the same things that make measuring it difficult.
With multiple system interfaces and complex requirements, the complexity of software systems sometimes grows beyond control, rendering applications and portfolios too costly to maintain and too risky to enhance. Left unchecked, software complexity can run rampant in delivered projects, leaving behind bloated, cumbersome applications. In fact, Alain April, an expert in the field of IT maintenance, has stated, “the act of maintaining software necessarily degrades it.”
As IT organizations face increasing demands from business, their IT systems have become increasingly complex. Today’s applications are typically a heterogeneous web of systems and software from an array of vendors and custom development.
Managing those vendors and dealing with those complexities has not escaped business and IT leaders. Nearly 50% of global business continuity decision-makers and influencers have called “increased reliance on technology” the number one risk to their organizations. Another 37% said the “business complexity of the organization” is their top risk. Much of this risk can be attributed to vendor management.
So, how can IT leaders address the dual challenges of managing the complexity of their IT environment, while also optimizing IT budgets and reducing IT borne risks to the business?