How to Measure Software’s Ability to Deliver Value

October 29, 2018

What if a 5-minute survey could set you on a path towards saving 20% or more of your IT budget? And what if this survey could also compare your software team to others in the same industry?

Pivotal Software recently released the Benchmark report, a survey conducted with Longitude Research and Ovum with more than 1,600 respondents across six regions (Australia, Germany, Japan, Singapore, UK, and US) and five industries (Automotive, Banking, Insurance, Retail, and Telecoms). The Benchmark provides a quantitative framework of measurable indicators designed to gauge how well an organization builds software that delivers business value.


Why you should take the Benchmark:

When you complete the Benchmark survey, you get a customized result that you can share with members of your team, which can unlock conversations around how to be more software-driven. If your team is tired of fighting fires, answering texts on weekends, manually patching, and fighting for budget, this can be a great tool to get going in the right direction.

Here are the results for a fictional insurance company, SafetyCo Insurance. Let’s dive in to see what kind of data the Benchmark can provide the good people of SafetyCo.

First, let’s look at how SafetyCo’s budget compares to others:

SafetyCo has a fully committed IT budget, which is unfortunate, as our research found that leaders in software development are able to rapidly and reliably address changes in direction in service of the business. But SafetyCo does have a high percentage of their budget set aside for ad-hoc software, which provides room for creative solutions and innovation.


You want to improve product development

Product Development provides a comparative snapshot of software development teams’ productivity and efficiency. Because so much depends on the unique circumstances of each individual company, there are no ideal absolute numbers of developers or applications. Ratios may be a better guide to development efficiency—the size of the developer team to that of operations staff or the number of developers per application, for example. In product development, a lower developer-to-application ratio, a lower defect rate, and continuous deployment, among other attributes, suggest higher levels of efficiency and productivity.

One metric of software development efficiency is having a high ratio of developers to operators. In this chart, we see that SafetyCo has slightly higher than average ratio of developers to ops and QA staff.


You want to reduce your change failure rate

This is when things start getting real. Our analysis of the responses suggested that software leaders demonstrate a low percentage of new software launch or upgrade delays due to defects from low-quality software. Here’s how SafetyCo stacks up:

That’s a higher percentage of delayed launches not just for their industry but compared to the overall Benchmark cohort as well. But now we know one area that requires improvement.


You want better scalability

To succeed in today’s digital environment, IT must provide apps and services on-demand and explore all options with minimal friction. We found that leaders strive to attract developers and ramp productivity linearly with personnel as well as rapidly scale their applications to handle demand. You’ve got to assess how quickly and easily an organization can scale software applications along with the underlying infrastructure.

Let’s imagine a good problem to have: the number of users for your apps is poised to double thanks to an upcoming focus on sales. How well would SafetyCo be able to handle the load?

That level of disruption might be something the organization wants to prevent.


You want to go fast forever

Ah, speed—we all want our ideas to move quickly. One way to measure velocity is to calculate how long it takes a small team to get a feature of a critical app into production. Here’s how SafetyCo would do:

That’s almost twice as slow as industry peers! Our research found that high-performing incumbents are able to move quickly and reliably respond to changes in direction in service of the business.

But another factor for speed is having a modern architecture. We’ve found that cloud-native organizations (i.e., those that are fluent and comfortable in deploying and maintaining apps on a combination of public and private clouds) have applications that perform better, are more resilient, and are easier to manage.

So how does SafetyCo stack up?

Well, let’s just say there are areas for improvement.

This is just a sampling of some of the insights the Benchmark can provide into where your team stands compared to your competition and technology teams at large. And although some of this can seem like intense news for SafetyCo to process—at least now we know some major areas we can improve.

Digital transformation is not just a one-time discussion; it is ongoing, and the Benchmark can spotlight which areas that need work. And don’t worry, we’ve seen it all—there are solutions to every problem, whether it’s through training, hiring, better infrastructure, or a combination. We’re here to help.

Take the Benchmark now. See you how measure up in the digital future.


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