Code Quality; a strategic asset

Christophe Shaw is a major code quality advocate (aren’t we all?) so he wrote a piece on this important topic for French newspaper Les Echos, which you can find here in French.

We took the liberty of translating the article for any of our non-french-speaking readers. Here’s what he had to say on the matter:

With 6 out of 10 companies having embarked on a digital transformation process, code represents a new strategic asset. So, why don't decision-makers pay it the same attention as they do their other assets?

In all sectors of activity, from customer relations and working methods, to partnerships and business processes, companies are adopting a strong digital presence. Products themselves are becoming connected, from Netflix replacing DVD rental - and even the cinema seat - to our cars, which are becoming just as much digital as they are mechanical. The global health crisis has only reinforced this underlying trend.

At the heart of this digital transformation: code. A language in its own right, which is now a strategic asset for a company, just like its industrial assets (factories) or intangible assets (patents). A language that few decision-makers master, because of it’s new, technical and ever-evolving nature. Mastering the production of code has become an essential skill in terms of efficiency, innovation and competitiveness. But how can decision-makers take an interest in and control the production of a software product if they themselves do not master the language?

The stakes are high: three-quarters of the software on the market contains security flaws, 24% of which are considered "very severe" (State of Software Security study, 2020). What manager would accept such risks on their manufactured products?

In addition to the quality and reliability of the products and services themselves, customers judge the company through its digital shop window and the design of these products and services. This is why Apple is so successful. 53% of users leave a site if it does not load in less than 3 seconds and 70% of online businesses fail due to poor user experience (Google, 2018) All the "abnormal" behaviours of an application, related to flaws within the code, are a major contributor to user loss. The worst thing is that they go straight to the competition, without these errors ever being reported.

Online, even more so than in the physical world, bugs are no longer acceptable: they have a direct impact on user satisfaction and on the company image.

The solution? Invest in quality, i.e. putting tools and processes in place to detect all anomalies, as early as possible in the code production cycle.

The industry history of recent years, that of Toyota, Honda and Opel, to name but a few, has illustrated how crucial it is to identify defects before a product is put into production. “Zero defects” and “total quality” have radically transformed the production methods of major industrial players.

The same applies to code and digital products. The solution lies within the development teams, with more attention and investment in the "digital factory", the beating heart of all digital organisations. Not forgetting that fewer errors to correct means more time for developers to work on improving existing products, or developing new ones. The ROI for the company will be significant; Gartner estimates the cost of a bug at €5,600 per minute of software downtime!

Thanks to Christophe for continuing to fight the code quality fight and continuously sharing his knowledge and experience.

If you’re interested in finding out more about code quality and the importance of unit testing, you should check out our blog post on What the heck is unit testing? We also have a handy code quality cheat sheet with some steps to follow to ensure your code is of the highest quality possible.

And finally, start your company code quality journey now, with our unique Ponicode Enterprise offer! 🦄 💰 🚀

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