Software delivery has never been a more critical business function than it is today

If you’re like many of our customers, the phrase software supply chain entered your lexicon this year. You’ve begun to feel the complexities and vulnerabilities of that supply chain. You’ve connected the dots between more reliable software delivery and business success. You’re recognizing the gains developer efficiency can have on profitability. And you’ve decided that diving deeper into how your software pipelines are functioning could be a huge strategic lever to business success.

That’s where we come in to help. CircleCI’s 2022 State of Software Delivery report is your guide to navigating the current software delivery landscape.

This report is the benchmark for engineering teams to understand how they can better succeed. But it’s also a resource for leaders to understand the demands and challenges facing their innovation engines.

So what are the truths of great software delivery today?

Businesses will face increased outages and security risks if they don’t understand what’s in their code

Software supply chains include anything that impacts an application from development through production. As we prioritize speed, we rely less and less on custom code, and more and more on libraries built by others. Business leaders need to understand what’s in their codebase to understand where they are vulnerable and where they need to invest to secure their supply chain.

Suring up the supply chain is about more than just security — our own Business of Software Report revealed that individual businesses are risking up to $126 million in lost revenue through ineffective software delivery alone. Most bugs and breaks are avoidable productivity killers that bear unnecessary costs.

Great software delivery is a constant loop, not a linear process

Our report found that great developer teams prioritize being in a state of deploy-readiness and they recover from any failed runs by fixing or reverting in under an hour. In other words, great software development is considered a constant not an end state. The goal isn’t to make updates to your application; the goal is to constantly innovate on your software while preventing the introduction of faulty changes.

Automation is the key to a “secure by design” software supply chain

Our data shows us that Mean Time to Recovery increases across the board for the end-of-year holidays, even more than it increased during the first year of COVID. This time of year routinely sees both an increase in attacks and fewer team members on staff. Automation is critical to plugging the gap, proving that a secure software supply chain needs automation to minimize disruption.

Focusing on testing, whether it’s practices like test-driven development (TDD), or integrating validation into your normal development process at all phases of the SDLC, will give you confidence, even when headcount is low. Small teams can compete with larger ones if they prioritize automation because they can confidently rely on their tooling during times of uncertainty.

Happy developers and great software delivery are not mutually exclusive

Our report measures four baseline metrics that individually give us benchmarks on the highest performing teams, but also inform the dynamics that help developers stay in flow. The metrics that influence great software delivery go hand in hand with the metrics that influence developer productivity and satisfaction.

In addition, business leaders that outfit their teams with the most performant and powerful tools allow their software teams to be engines of innovation, unlocking new ways for their entire company to operate more effectively and opportunities to get better products to customers sooner.

Change validation is the next frontier of software delivery

Even the most gifted team of engineers cannot comprehend all of the components and moving parts that go into the products they build and operate, yet they’re still expected to deliver software incredibly fast with no bugs or vulnerabilities. The only way to manage this complexity is through change validation, which allows you to truly know whether changes to your code are working as intended before releasing software to customers.

Teams that are meeting the benchmarks on CircleCI are running more advanced pipelines than ever before, indicating that our users are becoming experienced enough at Continuous Integration to implement Continuous Delivery and Deployment scenarios as their business demands. This automation is the critical path to achieving change validation.

No matter your industry or the stage of your company, software delivery is the foundation of modern business. It’s your most strategic asset and your biggest vulnerability. 2022 is the year software delivery must rise to the top of every leader’s agenda. The success and survival of your business depend on it.

Read the 2022 State of Software Delivery report to see the best practices for building great software development teams that we’ve gleaned from more than 50,000 organizations across software, healthcare, retail, financial services, real estate, media services, and other industries worldwide.