A website only runs in Flash and doesn't work on Macs.

An online photo-sharing service is slow due to lack of scalability for a high volume of concurrent users.

A memory leak goes undetected through manual code reviews, functional testing and performance testing.

This is the software world. Things go wrong.

Catch it Early

The longer things "go wrong," though, the more costly the rework can be for your business. Voke Research delivers this message in a new brief, "Reducing the Cost of Rework" (subscription required).

"All software has defects," Theresa Lanowitz, lead analyst at Voke, told CMSWire. "The cost of defect remediation is dependent on when the defect is identified and remediated, how the defect must be remediated: is it the cost of development and test time, or is it something that manifested in production and requires crisis public relations management, development and QA time, travel to a customer site, loss of customers, etc.?"

It can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $700,000 to remediate a problem, Voke estimates.

Voke officials cited recent software failures due to Heartbleed, Poodle and Shellshock vulnerabilities as reminders to enterprises to make prevention the priority.

Quality is Key

information management, Organizations Ignore Quality When Buying Enterprise Software

Organizations fail when they focus on speed and agility in their software purchases -- without thinking of quality. The thinking can lead to "catastrophic failures" and "skyrocketing costs."

Voke officials say the removal of defects earlier in the lifecycle "is essential to eliminating the risk of exponential cost overruns and time-to-market delays." (Voke, based in Minden, Nev., did not survey people. The report is based on statistical models, which is explained in the report).

Learning Opportunities

"Reducing the cost of rework comes down to determining how the software that is being built/delivered will be used," Lanowitz told CMSWire. "Is it a research project to pilot an idea or is it an application that is critical to the business?"

Enterprise teams must also have adequate tooling and software professionals with responsibility to reduce defects and the cost of rework, he added.

Test, Test, Test

But all software has defects, and high profile and catastrophic software failures happen on a daily basis. Lanowitz cited Home Depot, Kmart, Target, www.HealthCare.gov and United Airlines as recent examples. 

"The better an organization knows its software," she said, "the less risk there is in an unknown defect being exposed."

Security issues with software are one type of software defect, such as in the recent Poodle example.

"Proper security testing is important and must be included in a thorough software engineering approach," Lanowitz said. "Security testing is part of a quality approach to designing, developing and delivering software. In the past two years, tooling from software vendors has become more advanced, sophisticated, and easier to use. Teams that are not taking advantage of modern tooling will be at a deficit. One of the things that Poodle teaches us is that software defects may remain dormant but are always there."

Title image by JaysonPhotography/Shutterstock.