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“Industrial Strength Software” – Why Quality Matters

“Industrial Strength Software” – Why Quality Matters

Lateral | 30/04/2014
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When I talk to potential customers I always tell them we focus on building “Industrial Strength Software”. This is important to us because we believe it’s one of the things that defines who we are as a company.  Of course some of the customers then naturally ask what that is or why is it important.

What it is; I base it on the definition of industrial strength, i.e. “unusually strong or effective; able to withstand great strain or use” (Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/)

So with software, the elements that we believe are critical:

  • Security – information in the system is secure and protected
  • Robust-performance – it’ll handle rigorous use, it’ll handle unexpected occurrences
  • Integration – it doesn’t stand alone, it connects to existing systems to simplify work
  • Maintainability – it can be built upon and maintained without much effort and worry of collapse
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Why is all this important. It’s a little bit like cars, some are engineered to higher standards of performance, efficiency and safety than others. You might pay a higher cost upfront, but the value is in the long run where the benefits come through or in the case of an unforeseen event, i.e. an accident.

In the new world of app development, Industrial Strength is more important than ever. Regardless of whether we’re doing Android development or in iOS developer mode the apps we build will in most cases have a cloud backend or need to integrate to an existing system. Being secure and robust are key. If it gets broken into or can’t cope it means significant loss of users, reputation and eventually revenue.

The problem is for most people if you’re not from the world of IT how do you know this stuff is in the software you want built. It’s not easy and you may need to quiz your software or app builder. Instead of accepting an answer of “yes sure it’s all there” ask them for examples of how they approach some of the critical industrial strength areas.

We recently had a customer come to us who already had an app built for him, it need to be able to handle lots of users, be secure and be enhanced easily. He had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right so he asked us to do a review. We found 32 issues around security & privacy, performance & scalability and code quality. Not all major, but some posed quite a bit of risk to what he wanted to achieve. Needless to say we are now helping rebuild components of the solution to ensure its truly industrial strength.

It’s often in the long run or unexpected that you really see the benefits of industrial strength software.

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