IT managers are being advised to prioritise application testing to minimise risk, as research reveals that UK firms are losing up to £500,000 through software failures.
A survey of UK IT directors found that 70 per cent estimated poor software cost their businesses up to £500,000 each year, a problem compounded by an ad-hoc approach to application testing.
The pressure to deliver new applications or upgrades on time can squeeze the time allotted to testing, making it imperative that it is prioritised, said Sarah Saltzman, technology support manager at IT services firm Compuware.
"If testing gets squeezed, IT managers need to know which elements are a priority," she said.
Almost half of the survey's respondents received no guidance from business managers about which parts of the application were critical. Two-thirds reported that they ended up taking a blanket approach to testing.
"You need to identify which areas of the application carry the greatest risk and concentrate your efforts there," said Saltzman.
"If you know elements are business-critical or that bugs have been found there in earlier versions, you can identify areas of higher risk."
The dangers of cutting system testing were highlighted last year by problems with the Inland Revenue's £170m Working Tax Credit system, where testing time was cut by 75 per cent.
On going live, the system buckled under the volume of transactions.
In its report on the events the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee said the government should have been more cautious and realistic in fixing the timetable and assessing the resources needed for setting up and testing the system.
Research firm Vanson Bourne quizzed 100 IT directors from large UK enterprises.
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