Enterprise teams and IT suppliers not adequately prepared to address mission-critical software failures

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Undo, the leader in software reliability based on software flight recorder technology, in partnership with IT analyst firm Freeform Dynamics, has announced the findings of a survey of more than 350 IT vendors and enterprise customers, which reveals both are not adequately prepared to address mission-critical software failures.

Software suppliers and their customers agree that fast, reliable and efficient response times are crucial to limiting the financial, reputational and resourcing impact of a software failure. However, both feel that they are unequipped with the right tools and information to be able to quickly diagnose and fix production issues, leaving dissatisfied customers and hundreds of hours of wasted resource.

“Bug free software does not exist,” explained Barry Morris, CEO of Undo. “But of course we’re doing everything we can to attain that goal. In the meantime, what is important is for software suppliers to work with their customers to limit damages caused when intermittent, non-deterministic issues take hold. It’s not the issues themselves that make customers lose faith with a technology solution or supplier – it’s the lack of timely support provided by that supplier, either in diagnosis or repair. User satisfaction is an important measure of success for many software vendors; and this report highlights that more needs to be done, as software becomes increasingly critical to business operations across all sectors.”

For customers, the top three challenges that negatively impact the buyer-supplier relationship, as revealed by the survey findings were as follows:

Unexplained software issues that drag on (93% of respondents)

Lack of timely support from the technology supplier (88% of respondents)

Users being forced into inconvenient workarounds when using software with bugs (89% of respondents)

However, suppliers sometimes feel as though their hands are tied and unable to address the above concerns efficiently. Miscommunication, mishandling and lack of insight provided by the customer to the vendor into on-premise information are all made worse by the supplier’s necessity to operate within the limitations of the operational environment.

When bugs are hidden in millions of lines of code, troubleshooting intermittent failures which are difficult to reproduce is a particular challenge, with 80% of software suppliers agreeing with this statement.

In particular, when attempting to fix an issue off-site, understanding how a bug is executing within its environment is an incredibly time-intensive task. Customers may be sharing code dumps or information in ad-hoc or a disorganised way, making the code almost impossible to read and fix. This is not the only issue; enterprise IT teams themselves acknowledge that they may not have the skills, resources or information to be able to help remediate production failures. Findings demonstrate:

80% of enterprise IT teams agreed that they have a lack of training, knowledge or skills to diagnose and fix software failures

48% of enterprise IT teams agreed that they are sometimes unwilling or unable to spend time or effort troubleshooting

The survey explored technology professionals’ appetite for record and replay technology, and the potential for recording a software program’s execution as it fails, essentially ‘catching bugs in the act’ – and replaying that recording file backwards or forwards to obtain full visibility into what the software really did just before it crashed.

More than two-thirds of the customers surveyed (68%) feel that the use of record and replay technology by their software supplier would increase their level of confidence in being able to provide effective IT support in their business. Similarly, 68% of technology suppliers thought this technology would help in the diagnostic and issue resolution process.