Enabling More Rapid and Affordable Software Solutions through Automation

By Bernie Gauf, President & CEO,Innovative Defense Technologies (IDT)

Today, technology is advancing rapidly. In turn, success in business often parallels the speed at which new technologies can be adopted and deployed. Accelerating the time to market is more than just a desire, it’s a necessity. Businesses need to stay out in front of change or get left behind.

“The use of automation introduces unprecedented efficiency across the entire spectrum of the software development lifecycle.”

To keep pace, new technologies that enable the faster and more affordable delivery of capabilities must be embraced. One such technology is the use of automation in software development. Automation technology has the power to revolutionize the design, development and delivery of software-based systems. Yet many industries and businesses have been slow to adapt to this change.

History is replete with illustrations of innovation and its effect on industry. A notable example is the use of robotics in manufacturing. Forty years ago, manufacturing  plants and assembly lines were completely staffed by workers who were required to perform manually intensive, highly repetitive and sometimes dangerous tasks. But following the introduction of robotics, previously manual tasks were eventually automated. As a result, assembly lines became faster, safer, and more efficient. Robotics is now essential to manufacturing, and companies that adopted this change thrived.

A similar opportunity currently exists in the software industry. Just as industrial robots changed manufacturing, automation has the potential to transform software development. Automation enables more efficient system design, integration, and testing across the entire software lifecycle. It can replace many of the tedious, repetitive, manual tasks involved in the delivery of software systems—offering CIOs and program managers a game-changing alternative.

Capabilities of Software Automation

The delivery of large, complex, high-performance software systems is an ever-increasing challenge. The demand for new features to be designed and integrated is expanding; the rate of change is accelerating; the number of platforms and configurations that need support is exploding. At the same time, quality expectations surrounding software are rising. CIOs and program managers are faced with the challenges of increasing functionality, improving software quality, and delivering faster—while also driving down costs.

Automation has the potential to revolutionize software development processes and make a real difference in the creation and delivery of software-based systems. The use of automation introduces unprecedented efficiency across the entire spectrum of the software development lifecycle. It can be highly effective in software design, code generation, and testing, as described below.

Software Design: The design of large scale, mission-critical systems is a complex undertaking. Engineers and developers must meet thousands of requirements to make sure that systems work as needed and fulfill customer expectations. Automation can increase software design efficiencies as requirements are decomposed from high-level concepts into detailed design and interface descriptions. In addition, automation can facilitate the rapid assessment of engineering trade-offs during the design phase. This can speed the development of design variants and automate repetitive and tedious design tasks—accelerating the design process and increasing productivity.

Code Generation: Automation can also be leveraged for source code creation. The automation of previously tedious, highly repetitive code-writing tasks increases efficiency and improves quality. Automated code generation also reduces errors and can simplify future updates. The strategic use of automated code generation can significantly increase productivity, provide consistent documentation and ensure consistent coding standards, all of which contribute to delivering faster, improving quality, and reducing cost.

Testing and Analysis: As software systems grow increasingly complex, manual testing simply cannot cover all of the testing that is needed while also meeting demanding development schedules. Automated technologies enable test and analysis to cover more requirements, more permutations under which requirements are tested, and more configurations in much less time and with fewer people. Automation enables repeatable, consistent and comprehensive testing, analysis, and reporting across the entire lifecycle from development to deployment to maintenance.

Benefits of Software Automation

Automation changes the dynamics surrounding software development and delivery. It empowers CIOs and program managers with technology that yields unparalleled benefits when compared to traditional development methods. Properly designed and applied automation can dramatically accelerate software design, development, testing and analysis. The three primary benefits are improved software quality, reduced costs, and faster delivery.

Improved Software Quality: Automation enables a consistent and repeatable methodology, eliminating error-prone, highly repetitive, tedious tasks, and supporting the assessment and verification of thousands of conditions and permutations. Quality is never an accident. When automation is used in software development, systems are more accurate and dependable.

Reduced Costs: The increased efficiency achieved when incorporating automation into complex system development directly affects the bottom line. Automation enables 24/7/365 processes; it can significantly reduce the required manpower when compared to the traditional manual approach; and it can be rapidly scaled to meet project demands. 

More Rapid Delivery: As automation is applied to design, development and testing, it enables the faster delivery of superior software and systems. Using automated testing as an example, our customers have seen an average increase in efficiency of 85 percent. Automation is able to complete tasks in a fraction of the time relative to today’s common practices, enabling the more rapid delivery of capability.

Technology-driven change isn’t going away. On the contrary, it is accelerating. However opportunities for growth and increased efficiency are enormous.

Innovations in automation are redefining the software development environment and generating a cultural shift. Automation enables CIOs to more rapidly and affordably deliver critical new capabilities. To thrive in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven climate, organizations must embrace the power of automation.

 

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