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Higher build quality for lower software total cost of ownership

3 min read

Written by: Luc Brandts

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When people buy a car, they spend ages comparing specs, looks and costs. The internet is, of course, a very helpful tool to support such a decision. For some, this internet quest is even a deep search for arguments supporting their gut feeling, convincing others involved in the decision. But at some point, rationale always comes in. What do I get for the money invested initially? And what’s it going to cost me in total?

One important aspect that most people are interested in when buying a car is the total cost of ownership (TCO). There’s a good reason why the average person probably shouldn’t buy a 30-year-old car at a low price. Unless you’re a car mechanic, your TCO will potentially go through the roof, despite the low starting cost. When browsing the internet, you may come across sites that will tell you about how reliable the car is and what repairs to anticipate. This will give you an indication of what to expect. When you have enough data for enough cars of the same type, you can actually start building a benchmark and really comparing. This is exactly what leasing companies have done. The car industry has become so mature, that leasing companies can give you a fixed monthly price for cars up to a certain age. They have the data.

A determining factor in the TCO is the build quality. Components will fail more quickly when they’re not properly made, when tolerances aren’t as strict or when low-quality parts are used.

And evaluating software is no different.

Much QA effort is focused around what the software does, if it does it correctly without any flaws or bugs. This is the external quality of software; compare this to how the car looks (UI/UX usability), how it runs, how fast it is, and which color is available (functional suitability).

The build quality is all about the internal quality. With 60% of all bugs stemming from poor internal quality, and with software TCO largely determined by the build quality, the internal quality is a largely undervalued element of software evaluation.

Internal quality/build quality is of utmost importance for your TCO. What if you could determine TCO, evaluate different software strategies upfront, and continuously steer your development efforts towards minimizing TCO? That would allow you to:

– balance technical debt discussions between management and development teams

– manage vendors, accepting or rejecting their software

– make strategic decisions based on true quantitative insight

– benchmark your efforts against others in the world as well your own industry.

If all this were possible…you’d be an SIG client.

On your own, you would never have the data to assemble the data to support such a model. Much like in the car industry, you need a party who has all this data and has built a reliable benchmark. With 36 billion lines of code across more than 280 different technologies, we’ve been able to create the world largest benchmark database, focusing on exactly this.

However, unlike the car leasing companies, we remain independent and don’t lease software (nor cars). We use the data to help you drive your TCO down.


Luc Brandts

Group CEO

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