Amidst fast technological developments, where innovation unfolds in the blink of an eye, a quiet revolution appears to be happening in software development.
As an academic in computer science, I have witnessed this revolution for coming up to two decades.
Recently, during a lecture with my undergrad Software Engineering students, I was engaged in a discussion on the significance of software quality for organizations to achieve their business objectives.
The business objectives for software organizations can be diversified, for example, reducing the development cycle, increasing revenues and profits, getting more business in the case of a services-based company, and building an image in the market as a provider of quality software products.
Regarding any of the above objectives, quality is at the forefront, and all or most of these objectives seem linked.
For instance, incorporating quality assurance processes at each phase of the software development lifecycle reduces the rate of defects at the later stages of software development. This eventually reduces the need for rework and minimizes the development cycle. This way, organizations can complete the projects within the budgets and as per schedule.
Likewise, quality software development processes help organizations elevate their reputation in the market. As a result, the need to market themselves as an organization is reduced. Even in some cases, marketing is not required at all.
During the discussion, I asked, “Have you ever seen tech giants like Microsoft or others advertising their products on billboards or roadside banners?”
At first, the students laughed, but then they got curious and confused because my question was unexpected. The room became quiet as they started thinking about it.
All this led me to write a few words.
Why Quality in Software Matters
Software quality means software that can continue to meet or exceed users’ expectations regarding functionality, reliability, performance, and ease of use. It is software that fulfills its intended purpose and provides a pleasant and seamless user experience. This will include minimal errors and bugs, the effective use of system resources, responsiveness, and a comfortable user interface.
Quality software is characterized by its ability to perform tasks reliably without unexpected crashes or disruptions, ensuring users can depend on it for their daily needs.
The importance of high-quality software cannot be underestimated because it directly impacts the user’s satisfaction, reliability, and success in this field for many years. The primary element in the quality of software is user satisfaction.
It is easier for users to enjoy using software products and recommend them to others, thus maintaining loyal customer bases when they perceive it as intuitive and trustworthy. The reliability element, which is a second essential factor, builds confidence in the user.
The Google Chrome browser is a significant example of a software product that excelled due to its high quality. The speed, stability, and user-friendly features of Chrome have been consistently complimented. Its goal was to deliver a browser that offers quick loading of pages and provides an assured and reliable browsing experience. This has led to a rapid rise in popularity, outpacing the competitors who need help with performance and security.
Prioritizing Software Quality Over Marketing Brings You Loyal Customers
Traditional marketing strategies and quality-oriented approaches differ significantly within the software development sector. To gain consumers’ attention and generate sales of products, traditional marketing has usually relied on an extensive advertising campaign, including billboards, television commercials, or promotional material.
It prioritizes creating hype around a product, sometimes overshadowing its quality. Marketing budgets represented over 9.5 % of total revenues, demonstrating the financial investments made in these activities, according to a survey by Gartner on CMO expenditure carried out in 2022.
On the other hand, to reduce the need for aggressive promotion, quality-first approaches focus exclusively on software production of exceptional quality. Over the years, this approach has become increasingly common among major software organizations such as Microsoft. Their flagship products, such as Windows, are known for their reliability and robustness. The priority of software quality is also a driving force for Adobe Creative Cloud. Likewise, by ensuring a consistent updating process, resolving problems, and delivering the best experience, Apple’s iOS ecosystem strengthens customer loyalty.
The quality of the software leads to enduring user relationships and increases customer loyalty and confidence. Customer satisfaction is enhanced by regular updating, fixing bugs, and user-centric design.
The quality-first approach in software development is reshaping the industry. Prioritizing software quality over extensive marketing efforts enhances user satisfaction and builds lasting customer loyalty.
Examples like Google Chrome and the practices of major players, such as Microsoft and Adobe, illustrate the profound impact of this shift.
Quality software speaks for itself, reducing the need for flashy promotions and ensuring sustained success.