A strong digital presence is a must for any business in 2018- whether that means a brand new app, an updated website, or improved back-end systems.

Unfortunately, when corners are cut, the consequences can be hugely damaging to a company’s reputation.

Recently, a number of Australian businesses have been making headlines due to computer glitches which have cut customers off from their bank accounts and left them stranded at the airport. One glitch even ruined an exam that soon-to-be doctors spent years training and studying for.

Computer systems and software are now a part of almost every aspect of our lives. But these recent failures demonstrate just how disruptive they can be when they fail.

What happens when software fails?

Good support is hard to find for software failure

Software failure can be much more serious than simply being unable to access your email. For businesses and infrastructure relying on software to stay active, a failure can interrupt processes, and the systems and infrastructure we use every day can grind to a halt.

Last month, every Woolworths checkout in the country suddenly went down. Customers in the process of shopping were forced to leave their trolleys and walk away empty handed. Earlier on in April, customers from Commonwealth Bank were unable to see their loan and credit card balances. Many had their debit cards declined around the country and their wages failed to appear in their accounts.

In Melbourne last year, a tiny computer glitch led to commuter chaos on the train network, as a complete mass outage left thousands of passengers stranded during rush hour.

These examples all point to the importance of getting the software right before it’s released. While many businesses are keen to begin using new software as soon as possible, taking the time for testing and ensuring ongoing support is critical to prevent these types of problems.

Software can automate many tasks that were once time-consuming for us to do. But our increasing reliance on software also means that we’re at increased risk of being impacted by a small error which could have catastrophic results.

What causes software failure?

To prevent damage to your reputation from a software failure, it’s important to understand the risk and likelihood of your software failing. Once you understand how this failure happens, you can develop strategies to prevent it from happening.

One of the top reasons software will fail is due to human error when the software is being programmed. This can cause bugs once the software has been deployed, especially if businesses are using the software in ways that programmers hadn’t anticipated.

A simple typo or sign error during development can cause failure once the software is being used. These should be caught during testing, but if they’re not, then the software may not be able to perform certain actions.

So how can businesses innovate with updated software and systems while still protecting themselves from outages and failures? While you won’t be controlling the actual coding or development process, there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce your risk.

The first step is to hire an experienced, trustworthy software development company. Take your time when you’re searching for a software developer for your project, read testimonials and reviews, and ask to speak to references.

Once you’ve found a software development provider you feel happy with, it makes sense to hire them to provide ongoing maintenance and monitoring of your systems. This will usually ensure that any bugs or problems are picked up before your business is even aware they exist. And in the unlikely event that your system does have problems, you’ll have a support team immediately working hard to resolve the problem.

Some of the recent examples of software failure may make it tempting for business owners to put off the development of their own software. But with quality testing, regular maintenance, and reliable support, you can continue to innovate without risking damage to your reputation.

Are you looking for a software development company for your next project? Get in touch today.

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