Australia now has its own software development seal of approval recognising companies that adopt software engineering best practice within their organisations.To be launched in July by Software Engineering Australia (SEA) the SoftwareMark initiative targets software development companies and major software users.
It provides templates and standardised, documented processes for better control, reduced development risks and better quality product through a portal that will be available in early 2004.
A range of companies, including global hardware suppliers, law firms, investment banks and industry consultants have signalled support for the SoftwareMark badge which will be a market differentiator or brand identity representing achievement in software development.
SEA CEO Nathan Brumby said the portal does not aim to teach organisations how to develop software; it simply fills technical gaps and will assist in project management, software testing and development skills.
Brumby said guidelines will be released alongside the portal and participating organisations will complete the SoftwareMark program for eligibility assessment.
To ensure the brand is upheld, he said random checks will be undertaken in addition to an annual review. The brand will be removed if organisations do not fill the criteria.
While the program is a positive initiative for local industry, it is unlikely to bring an end to vendors saddling users with bug-ridden products in a bid to get to market faster.
A study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a US agency that conducts research into technology issues, found software bugs cost an estimated $US59.5 billion a year with more than half of the cost borne by end users and the remainder by developers and vendors.
Improvements in testing could reduce this cost by about a third of the total cost; users incurred 64 per cent of the burden and developers 36 per cent, according to the study which was released last year.