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What is a software audit, and why should your business conduct it?

March 29, 2021
Andrii Rybakov

In a modern competitive environment, all businesses aim to make their software products more efficient, increasing their productivity and lowering current maintenance costs. According to ZDNet, 69% of companies indicate optimizing and saving on software spending as the top reasons to conduct a software audit. Gartner also states that 65% of organizations will definitely ‘cover IT governance in audit activities over the next 12 to 18 months’. That makes a software audit a crucial step for businesses as it helps stay updated with new things regarding software.

So what is a software audit? Why should your business conduct it? What things do you need to consider before? Read in our blog post.

What is a software audit, and who can conduct it?

When your company is working on a software product for a while, you may start asking various questions. Are you following all the necessary best practices? Is your architecture good enough and scalable for future needs? Are there any weaknesses or security issues that you have not noticed? An appropriate option to answer such questions is to conduct a software audit.

A software audit is a practice that involves internal or external analysis and observation of particular software. Here, we will focus on the external one. You can conduct it for various reasons, including:

  • To verify licensing compliance;
  • To monitor quality assurance (QA);
  • To comply with industry standards;
  • To ensure your team is following industry best practices.

What about an external software auditor, it can be a person or an organization with corresponding experience and expertise in your software stack. As a result of auditing activities, the auditor provides your company with a report with a detailed evaluation of all discovered issues and suggests how you should address them.

Besides, you have to remember that an external auditor serves as an ally for your current software development team. Thus, you must explain it to team members as sometimes they may be protective since somebody else is inspecting their programming activities.

Why is a software audit important for your business?

There are several reasons why performing a software audit is a necessary process for each business. Firstly, you may need to ensure that everything is working appropriately, your company is moving forward in the right direction, and your current software meets all modern standards. And if not, you have to find weak spots that need improvements to keep the organization running smoothly. Another way to look at the value of software auditing is to be sure that your choice to acquire new software is the right one.

However, there is a common mistake for many companies that do not make a thorough analysis before purchasing. When you consider different financial resources, the time required for implementing and maintaining software, training staff, it will become clear that the investment in software development means a huge step.

Therefore, in numerous cases, businesses are blinded by the intention to win the competition in their market or aim to take shortcuts in defining software requirements. That results in making impulse purchases and leaves companies with a bunch of software. But it cannot match their expectations and particular business needs or even incompatible applications that they also cannot put into any proper use.

At the same time, your organization can notice a direct interconnection between software auditing and business improvement. Such a formal evaluation makes a positive impact on operational performance. It helps adapt better business decisions, provides faster reporting, increases revenues, and reduces costs. All best companies in various industries tend to conduct software audits quite often, while the lagging ones are more likely to abandon software auditing.

Ultimately, investments in software audits at the initial stages can safeguard your business from different useless expenses later on. Thus, poorly written software requires more if considering the long run as you will spend additional financial costs for maintaining, adjusting, and enhancing it. As the opposite, well-timed software evaluation will save your time and money in the future due to determining all weaknesses that must be refactored or replaced.

Things to consider before software auditing

  • Project type and its requirements. The first thing to analyze is the complexity of your existing situation, whether there is a need for modifying or upgrading current software or replacing it with a new one. That helps determine missing functionalities or other weaknesses of your software. Also, this stage realizes whether you should provide new technologies like cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), or machine learning (ML), etc. For example, by adding some AI, such as chatbots, you can significantly reduce your costs.
  • A value of research. After identifying specific needs, you should consider the unique requirements that your software must provide. During this stage, you should do careful research and look for the best solution for a business. Also, it involves collecting requirements from people who will benefit from implementing new software and deciding how to use modern tech trends more effectively. For instance, augmented reality (AR) may help your company interact with the clients and lead to massive revenue.
  • Cooperation with a professional. Finally, if your in-house resources are not enough for performing a thorough software audit, you should consider cooperating with relevant professionals from the outside. The appropriate partner will help you evaluate all the risks and weaknesses and find a solution that will satisfy all of your requirements.

The bottom line

Software auditing is a continuous process that is critical for staying compliant and safeguarding your software positions. At the same time, ZDNet states that 51% of companies plan to avoid future costs by optimizing their software licenses. As a business owner or executive, you should understand that a software publisher serves as the owner of its products. In turn, publishers can ask for your company to account for how it is managing the software at any time. Thus, being ready for such requests allows eliminating risks and enables your business to move smoothly.

Are you already using software auditing? What are the key reasons for your company to do that? Or what factors prevent your business from conducting an external software audit? Share with us in the comments below.

How AgileVision Can Help

Over the past several years, AgileVision has conducted software audits for many businesses and helped them cut down cloud hosting costs, improve the product’s scalability, and identify security issues. Are you considering software auditing for your organization or need advice on your existing architecture, practices, or security?

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