Thursday, April 20, 2006

Software testing: the new value add?

I’m at the ACCU conference in Oxford this week. As always the conference is lively and giving me a lot to think about. I’ll blog some more about this next week.

But, before then: Monday’s FT had an interview with Larry Ellison of Oracle. He discussed the possibility of Oracle producing its own distribution of Linux. One of the drivers for this is to allow Oracle to compete with Microsoft in the OS market but it wasn’t the only one.

According to Ellison some of Oracle’s customers want a single supplier. They want one company to take responsibility for a systems performance. In other words, they don’t want the ERP vendor saying it is a database problem and the database vendor saying it is an OS problem.

So, if Oracle had its own distribution of Linux they would test that the OS worked with the database and the database worked with the ERP. What I find interesting here is that Oracle would be selling “piece of mind”, “proven software”, or simple “tested applications”.

The value add would not be in the products themselves but in the fact that they all worked together and were shown to work together. In other words, producing the software isn’t the difficult bit, testing it works together is. Hence it is the testing that adds the value not the development.

To my mind this is either a great step forward or a sign of a truly crazy world. I’ve not worked out which yet.