Tools in Software Engineering – Strategic Investments or Cost Controllers?

A few days back, readers indicated that they did not expect a slowdown in the development of new software under these tough economic conditions. I had posted a survey and a discussion thread on the Software Testing Club — to find out if people will test more and develop less during the economic downturn. I found that the majority expected to develop and test more during the economic slowdown (vs. just running maintenance and testing projects while maintaining status quo).

The interest in building and testing new software brings up a related question — As you/your teams are building/enhancing systems how are you viewing your IT budgets related to tools for software development and testing (software engineering)?

  • Are you looking to make strategic investments in tools to improve your workforce productivity and value?
  • Or are you looking to invest in tools to reduce/control your IT costs?
  • Or both?
  • Or (worst case) neither?

Strategic IT Investments – Impact the Corporate Top Line: These are tools that improve your software development/testing workforce productivity. They also enhance the worker’s value in the software development life cycle (SDLC). They are strategic IT investments which directly impact the organization’s revenue or top line. These tools will help you improve software quality and achieve more in a shorter time frame, i.e., they will shrink your SDLC (allowing you to reach market faster). This usually happens through automating processes, better data exchange, reducing friction in communications and so on.

Cost Rationalization – Reduce/Control Your IT Costs: On the other hand, you could invest in tools that control/reduce your IT costs. These tools will help you drive synergies, eliminate duplications in the system, improve efficiencies and so on.

I believe that there is merit to both considerations. In my next 2 posts I’ll talk about virtual lab automation solutions along each of these dimensions.

In the meanwhile, tell us … what is your priority in the tool set for software development and testing? Improve the top line or reduce costs?

– Srihari Palangala

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One Response to Tools in Software Engineering – Strategic Investments or Cost Controllers?

  1. […] Automation as a Strategic Purchase in your Software Labs In my previous post, we talked about tools in software engineering being either strategic purchases OR cost controllers (I’m ignoring the case of the folks who are in status quo and don’t want to do anything […]

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