December 9, 2022

5 Critical Business Software Development Goals for 2023

Coding Best Practices

Top technology trends for 2023 continue to focus on AI, edge intelligence, and climate change, but supply chain slowdowns and growing consumer demands threaten the pace of innovation. To remain dynamic in their industries and meet goals of software engineering, software development leaders need to be proactive with their budgeting and time management plans, while ensuring the delivery of safe, secure, and compliant code.

In 2023, embedded software teams must increase efficiency within their existing resources to remain competitive amid increasing market, supply, and workforce pressures. Here are five critical business software development goals for the new year, and how static analysis can support them.

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Top 5 Business Software Development Goals

1. Maximize Existing Resources

Maximizing existing resources starts with a strong software development team. Supporting the software developers you already have by keeping them engaged and productive will go a long way toward, in turn, empowering them to think strategically about how they use and apply existing tools, workflows, and analyses.

Helping software development teams overcome common resource-intensive hurdles is a good place to start. From our survey of nearly 600 automotive development professionals, quality challenges stem from increased code complexity and scale.

Top automotive development concerns
Top quality concerns for automotive development professionals.

Supporting positive developer outcomes begins with the tools and environment that bring maximum value for customers. Truly empowering developers to create applications quickly and confidently requires leadership to translate business goals into development outcomes. These outcomes are driven by meeting quality, safety, and security requirements despite challenging market pressures.

“Embedded systems software development is not for the faint of heart. It's complicated, with many subtleties and pitfalls.”

Skills For Embedded Systems Software Developers,

Aligning a developer’s time and motivation with company goals means eliminating unnecessary complexities, wasteful churn, and excessive delays. Static analysis reduces the inefficiencies in the embedded software development process by automating a broader and deeper understanding of quality, safety, and security checks.

This is where one industry prediction gets it right. Forrester’s 2023 Predictions report recognizes how businesses are seeing automation as a means to navigate today’s market forces successfully, rather than be a catalyst for wholesale change:

“The economy will shift 10% of automation budgets from transformation to resilience.”

Forrester Predictions 2023 report

Modern static analysis tools are able to analyze code without running it and looking deep into both code execution and data flow to uncover errors. Static analysis tools like Perforce Software’s Klocwork align perfectly with today’s shorter release timelines, using differential analysis to power immediate, continuous compliance for quality and security across even the smallest code changes.

When done right, static analysis empowers a highly efficient development environment where complex testing is simplified and momentum replaces stagnation.

2. Maintain Industry Competitiveness

Inflationary threats and supply chain issues only add to the existing need to remain competitive and differentiated in the industry. Every embedded market will continue to grow in 2023, fueled by smart homes, electric and autonomous vehicles, medical devices, sustainable technologies, and more.

The scale and complexity of the systems needed to make these innovations a reality puts embedded code under a powerful microscope. Industry and consumer demands are shifting scheduled releases to multiple deliveries per year for everything from features to security patches. Continuous integration and deployment are now mandatory to remain competitive, and those who adopt agile processes for embedded systems will replace those who don’t.

Agile workflow processes start with reassessing your current development lifecycles. In our report on the state of aerospace and defense software development, top productivity concerns are driven by long review cycles and testing wait times.

Chart of top aerospace and defense development concerns
Top productivity concerns for software development professionals in aerospace and defense.

The role of static analysis for competitive advantage is clear: shorter testing and validation times for new and changed code decreases time to market. Additionally, static analysis tools that find and help remediate issues as early as possible lowers the cost of change.

“We advocate for a system focused on pushing workflow integration as early as possible.”

Lessons from Building Static Analysis Tools at Google, Communications of the ACM

3. Mitigate Software Recalls and Boost Reputation

Software recalls are a fact of life for many embedded products. Automotive systems alone make up four out of the 10 largest U.S. product recalls in history. We know that the best way to mitigate recalls is to adopt preventative measures rather than wait until release but it’s difficult to know how to handle rising software complexity and shorter release timelines.

It’s important to acknowledge the nebulous nature of how consumers react to a recall. Software failures may go unchallenged or they may lead to costly reputational consequences. As former Intel CEO, Andrew Grove, remarked on the Pentium microprocessor flaw in 1994, “We got caught between our mindset, which is a fact-based, analysis-based engineer’s mindset, and [the] customers’ mindset, which is not so much emotional but accustomed to making their own choice.”

Like competitiveness, a defect prevention mindset requires continuous quality improvement and consistent implementation of quality processes. As code bases grow in size and complexity, fast defect detection and remediation become paramount, as developers cannot afford to test everything, and QA cannot spare time to hunt down root causes.

Static analysis is a vital tool for the prevention of field defects, especially when it comes to software safety and security standards. Used at the desktop, static analysis identifies issues before they enter the code base; used as part of a continuous integration process, it can discover defects, enforce coding standards, and demonstrate compliance before release.

4. Make Software Compliance Easier

While innovation is important and time to market matters, it’s also necessary to maintain focus on customer requirements. For many embedded applications, this means complying with industry, government, and internal standards. Trusted tools like Perforce’s Helix QAC help ensure compliance with functional safety standards such as IEC 61508 and ISO 26262; and coding standards like MISRA, AUTOSAR, and CERT for automotive, aerospace, medical device, and other embedded software development industries. Offloading the interpretation, validation, and reporting of these standards by the development team is the only realistic way to take the market lead on compliance without affecting release velocity.

Static analysis gives developers compliance testing and reporting out of the box, without having to parse requirements or build tests. To meet the demands of rapid release cycles, tools like Helix QAC and Klocwork support proving compliance on demand, as code is changed, including sophisticated reporting mechanisms to quickly review and prioritize issues.

📹 Watch Klocwork tutorial: How to Generate Compliance Reports

5. Educate Developers

Over 90% of software security problems come from defects in the design or coding of software. While tools and processes can help, developer education should form a critical part of cybersecurity threat prevention and detection programs.

Scheduling frequent review sessions about common software weaknesses with the Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) list and top Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) vulnerabilities, plus keeping up-to-date with the latest coding standards will help remind your team about best practices and build a good foundation for training sessions on a continual basis. You can also take advantage of training programs included with static analysis tools. Klocwork, for instance, has the Secure Code Warrior platform, which provides a combination of training courses and gamification, raising the level of a developer’s cyber skills to better recognize and fix security vulnerabilities, all within their existing development environment.

Lead with a Clear Plan for 2023

Throwing technology at an unclear plan will never work. Shipping safe and secure code in 2023 means adopting static analysis tools to boost developer effectiveness without impacting release schedules. Static analysis tools like Helix QAC and Klocwork make it easy to meet critical business software development goals by ensuring high code quality and compliance, so that software development leaders are free to focus on innovation.

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