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Software Quality Measurement

Typical mission-critical applications—that is, the software that brings to life a company's products and services—easily exceed more than 1 million lines of code. The sheer breadth and complexity of the software required to run a business demands that companies proactively manage the quality of that software.

Businesses rely on complex custom software to automate their core processes and to create a compelling offering for clients and customers—often weaving together solutions from multiple vendors. Even though it rarely tops a CEO's agenda, software plays such an integral role in operations and underpins so many products and services that missteps in software can have highly visible and dramatic effects. A company that fails to manage the quality of its software jeopardizes its reputation—and its ability to win in the market.

To assist our clients in evaluating the quality of their platform and software, BCG uses a proven, three-pronged methodology: 

  1. Conducting a deep, detailed assessment of architecture components 
  2. Testing the performance of applications and software 
  3. Measuring against industry standards and best practices in engineering to diagnose structural flaws in a company's source code 

To complement our proven approaches in managing software environments and software delivery transformation, BCG has partnered with CAST, a leader in software quality assessment. CAST's automated analytics tools help quickly and effectively assess how an organization's source code stacks up against industry standards, recommend improvements, and monitor progress.

The Right Tools for the Job

Combining BCG's expertise with CAST's software analysis and measurement tools brings our clients objective transparency into application development, maintenance, and sourcing. The result: disciplined and data-driven performance improvement in software quality and productivity. CAST's tools automatically quantify standard measures of software quality: 

  • Risk—robustness, efficiency, security 
  • Maintainability—changeability, transferability 

They also measure: 

  • Technical debt (in dollar values) 
  • The functional size of the overall application (using function point analysis) 
  • Performance and productivity

Measuring Software Performance to Deliver Measurable Improvements

CAST's tools prove most useful to our clients in several powerful ways: 

  • Modernizing core systems and consolidating systems after a PMI. Quantifying the robustness, efficiency, security, and maintainability of a platform makes it possible to prioritize the key systems to be modernized—and to identify the best approach for doing so. By periodically measuring an application's size (function point count) and structural quality, we can help companies measure the progress of modernization projects—and ensure that the resulting system is robust. 
  • Delivering high-performance software and agile transformation. Measuring quality and productivity provides an objective basis for tracking team performance over time. It also enables us to compare the effectiveness of different teams and methodologies, such as the differences between agile teams and teams working under a standard waterfall model. 
  • Simplifying IT. Attaining accurate measurements of the risk, complexity, and technical debt of an existing application landscape makes it possible for BCG to focus with precision on eliminating software complexity that adds no value. It also allows for a comparison of the structural quality (robustness, risk, etc.) of different vendor applications and improves the accuracy of IT resource planning. 
  • Reducing mainframe consumption. By automatically scanning source code for lead indicators of poor code optimization, we can employ a pattern-driven approach for long-tail optimization and establish a baseline of performance for measurability.

Technology & Digital
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