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50 questions that a Chief Executive Officer should ask about his software !

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With each passing day software technology is becoming more and more important for an organization to move forward rapidly. If you do not embrace new software technologies, you run a risk of lagging behind your competitors.
However, as simple as it may sound, software has been a difficult technology to bring under executive control. In spite of the importance of software to corporate operations, it has remained an intractable technology, which causes almost as much harm as it brings benefits.
Many CEO’s are 40 to 60 years of age, and their background and training did not include much information about software and how to deal with it. This is also true of many vice presidents of operating units such as manufacturing, sales, marketing, and human resources.
This post puts across 50 of the major software software topics that CEO’s should know about, to ensure that the software their companies depend upon will be an asset and not a liability to the corporations they control.

Current “Hot Topic” Questions Involving Software
1. How many of our systems are more than 10 years old and becoming obsolete?
2. How much are we spending on Sarbanes-Oxley each year?
3. How safe are our trade secrets and financial data?
4. How safe are we from viruses, spyware, and hacking?
5. How useful would ERP packages be to us?
6. What is the value of ISO 9000-9004 certification for software?
7. What is the impact of moving up the SEI capability maturity scale?
8. What is our current level on the SEI CMM maturity scale?
9. What are we doing with the Internet and the World Wide Web?
10. What are we doing with Data Quality and Data Warehousing?

Software Usage, Value, and User Satisfaction Questions
1. How many of our employees and managers use computers and software today?
2. What do our people think about the value of our software in doing their jobs?
3. What are the top complaints our people make about our software?
4. Are our customers satisfied or dissatisfied with the software we deliver?
5. Are our customers satisfied or dissatisfied with our service?
6. How many problem reports do we get a year from customers?
7. Are we in danger of being sued because of problems with our software?
8. What are we doing to keep our software useful and valuable?
9. What are our worst current software systems?
10. What are we doing to improve our worst software systems?

Employee Satisfaction and Demographic Questions
1. Do we have the best software people in our industry?
2. What is our current breakdown between software employees and contractors?
3. How many software personnel do we employ this year?
4. How many will we need five years in the future?
5. Are there any critical skill shortages that we’re having trouble recruiting?
6. Are our software personnel satisfied or dissatisfied with us?
7. Is our voluntary attrition rate higher or lower than our competition?
8. How do we stack up to the competition in terms of benefits and salaries?
9. What advantages or disadvantages would we get from outsourcing our software?
10. What are the pros and cons of offshore outsourcing?

Software Economic Impact Questions
1. How much software do we own right now?
2. What is the replacement cost of the software that we own?
3. What is the taxable value of the software that we own?
4. What is our annual growth rate in software ownership?
5. How many of our software projects are canceled and don’t get finished?
6. What are the main reasons for our canceled projects?
7. How much have we spent on canceled projects over the last five years?
8. How much have we spent on software warranty repairs over the last five years?
9. How many of our applications need immediate replacement?
10. How big is our backlog of applications we can’t get built?

Competitive Analysis Questions
1. Which companies in our industry are best in software?
2. Which companies should we benchmark with?
3. If we spent more on software, what should we spend it on?
4. If we spent less on software, what harm would it do to us?
5. How does our software productivity compare to our competition?
6. How many of our software projects run late and exceed their budgets?
7. How does our software quality compare to our competition?
8. What are our main strengths in the software domain?
9. What are our main weaknesses in software?
10. Are we training our people so they stay current with new technologies?

The complete report by Caper Jones is here.

  1. It seems all the questions are much relevant to the present situation and that too it precisely concerns with recession that is going on in USA and its impact on other countries like India. As far as software usage is concerned much quick systems are needed because gone are the days of I.E. 6, web 2,etc.

    With regards,

    Sincerely,

    D.S. RAMA PRASAD DUBEY

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