In today’s competitive day and age, every business strives to make their software product more efficient, increase its productivity, and lower maintenance and cost. After all, the number one goal is to ensure that your product is relevant and headed to marketing and economic success. That’s where a software audit comes in handy. Auditing your software helps to get a reality check on the state of affairs, to safeguard your position and more importantly – move forward.
Software audit is an essential step for your business as it helps you be on top of things regarding your software. It keeps everything up-to-date and properly functioning. So sit back as we guide you through the software audit process.
Why You Need a Software Audit
There are some reasons why conducting a software audit is important. As previously mentioned, one being – to make sure everything is properly functioning, your business is heading in the right direction and the software you are using stands the test of time. And if not, to find all the flaws and what needs improvement to keep the business running smoothly.
The other way to look at the importance of software evaluation is to make sure you are making the right choice by acquiring new software.
There’s a common mistake a lot of businesses are guilty of committing of not doing a thorough investigation before the purchase. When you take into account all the financial and temporal resources, time spent on the implementation and maintenance, not to mention training of your human resources, it becomes clear that investing in enterprise software is a huge step. Nevertheless, very often companies blinded either by the desire to kill off competition or just want to take a shortcut in determining their software needs, end up making an impulse purchase. In the end, they are left with a bunch of software that either doesn’t match their business requirements, company’s expectations or simply incompatible apps that they have no idea how to put into a good or, for that matter, any use.
But as it turns out, only two-thirds of companies conduct a formal software evaluation before making a decision, a study says. While 18 % of those base their decision on the evaluation of a single product.
The study further suggests that there is a clear correlation between software evaluation and business improvement. The best in their league companies tend to carry out software audits while the lagging companies are three times more likely to miss out on software auditing.
Not to mention, that conducting a software evaluation has a positive impact on business. Formal evaluation means better business decisions, faster reporting, increased revenues and reduced costs.
It’s becoming quite apparent that investing in software audit at the initial stage will safeguard you from unnecessary expenses later on. Poorly written software means more expenses in the long run. It entails some additional financial costs for maintenance, adjustments and some enhancements. Well-timed software audit can save you time in the future by pointing you out the “weak spots” that need refactoring and replacement.
What to consider before auditing software:
- The type of project and its needs
First thing first, assesses the complexity of your situation, whether you need to modify or upgrade your existing software or replace it with a new one. This stage involves a lot of self-examining to realize if your current software is missing some functionality or if you need to bring new technologies (cloud, Big Data, machine learning) to up your game.For instance, in finance industry machine learning can be useful in fraud detection/prevention to identify suspicious transactions or to build risk models for stress testing. Or by adding a pinch of AI, chatbots, in particular, can sufficiently cut down your costs, estimated $8 billion by 2020 to be precise.
- The importance of research
After you’ve identified your specific needs, it’s time to take the next step and look into the unique requirements you expect from your software. This is a step of carefully researching and looking for the best solution for you and gathering requirements from the people that are to benefit from new software and deciding to what extent make use of today’s tech trends.Augmented reality can help you engage and interact with your customers and bring you a massive revenue in the meantime. Or maybe blockchain is not just a buzzword but a technology that you can actually make use of. This is when you explore and decide.
- Getting help for the evaluation
Lastly, if you don’t have enough in-house resources to perform a thorough software audit, consider getting some professional help from the outside. The right partner can help you assess all the risks and vulnerabilities and reach a solution that meets all of your needs.
How to Do an Audit
At Perfectial, we realize the importance of software evaluation. It is a complex procedure that incorporates several phases: Business Audit, UX Analysis, Software Audit and finally Quality Assurance Audit. We envision software audit as a two-stage process which consists of:
- Software architecture analysis
- Source code review
Software architecture analysis
This stage determines the degree to which the architecture meets its goals, whether specific application quality attributes (robustness, portability, extensibility, modifiability) were achieved and how potential future changes can affect them. Software architecture analysis comes in handy for validation during the development/testing or when acquiring new software.
The assessment is accomplished via scenarios (a brief description of an interaction with a system). Scenarios test quality attributes and propose changes to be made to the system, threat actions to ensure security, and identify potential risks.
They reveal how easy it will be to change the system in the future (modifiability); how the system handles unexpected (robustness); the ease of a software to perform in a new operating system or on a new device (portability); or how effortless it is to add new features (scalability).
Modifiability embraces two concepts: maintainability and flexibility. Or how easy it is to modify the system to correct faults, improve performance, adapt to a changed environment.
Robustness reveals whether the system stops or if it handles the unexpected error. If it logged the error for the future debugging.
Potability means the software is cheaper and works in a wider range of environments. Portable software is easier to support and should increase customer loyalty. On top of that, it leads to reduced maintenance costs and increased product lifetime.
And finally, scalability. It is not something companies focus from day one. But if you look a little bit further into the future, you will see that a lot of actually depends on your software’s ability to add new data or say users. It directly impacts productivity and profitability.
Source code review
And the final step towards improving your software – a source code review. This stage involves examining the source code to make sure it works and providing feedback and some suggestions for improvement.
So why go with all the trouble of reviewing the code? It allows limiting the risks. We are all prone to mistakes and developers are no exception. Code examination can spot unnoticed mistakes and make sure everything is working properly. Not to mention, it can improve the overall quality of your code. The source code review is important as it makes sure that the code is readable and checks if there’s a need to refactor.
Refactoring means taking the existing code, restructuring its body by altering the internal structure without changing the external behavior. It’s useful when you want to add new features, find and fix bugs and generally better understand the code. Conducting a thorough review of your source code is significant as it helps you to maintain a high-quality of your code and product overall.
It is a powerful weapon as it makes software easier to understand and cheaper to modify. Refactoring improves the design of software, and makes it readable for future developers that might work on it. And by breaking down code into sizeable portions it helps to see the bigger picture.
We hope we helped you to grasp the importance of taking time and performing a software audit to get to the bottom of your software, understand it better and check its maintainability, scalability, and security.
If you have further questions, feel free to contact us for a free consultation or ask our expert.