Today is Halloween. Most of us expect to be scared today in some form or fashion by someone or other. Ghosts, gremlins, and goblins lurk about, waiting to yell BOO! when we least expect it.
If you have anything to do with software, you know ghosts, gremlins, goblins, and glitches have to be contended with every day. But if you think you have it bad, check this out, as reported by UTOR, a software-testing firm in Ukraine:
An extraordinary case happened in 2003 in a hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A software bug in the patient database declared 8,500 people dead. All of them were safe and sound, but it was detected only after the investigation by insurance companies. The thing is, after a patient dies and a corresponding record appears in the hospital’s database, an insurance company receives a notification with the requirement to cover the treatment costs and pay compensation for the family.
We’d imagine, along with health insurance treatment claims, some insurance company also gets a claim for the death benefit on a life insurance policy for person who hasn’t yet bought the proverbial farm. Halloween or not, that’s pretty scary.
If you’re tempted to wonder at the cost of software glitches, that information — along with almost anything else you might want to know these days — is surprisingly available. Here’s just one example: Raygun, a New Zealand firm dedicated to detecting software errors, reported:
According to the Consortium for Information and Software Quality, poor software quality cost US companies $2.08 trillion in 2020. These losses span all business sectors and include costs from operational failures, unsuccessful projects, and software errors in legacy systems.
Compared to losing more than $2 trillion to glitches, the prospect of facing ghosts, gremlins, and goblins one night a year doesn’t seem quite so daunting.
The remedy, of course, is arcanely known as The Two Ts — Trust and Test. If you trust your vendor and test the software to verify it’s free of bugs (along with ghosts, gremlins, goblins, and glitches), you’ll increase your chances of positive outcomes precipitously.
No tricks. All treats.