DevOps Update: Continuous code quality management – the answer to the global problem of ballooning technical debt and why SonarSource has a bright future

Have you heard of technical debt? It is what makes the life of a software developer a lot less fun. It is the reason for developers to spend 80%1 of their time reviewing existing code, rather than putting their creativity to work  coding new functionalities or entire new software applications.

Technical debt is best defined as the effort and cost required to fix violations of good architectural and coding practices. It is a compounding problem as technical debt remains in the code base when an application is released; because unlike bugs, it does not necessarily cause the software application to malfunction once in production.

But for any enterprise that manages sizeable amounts of code – and today, almost every large company runs millions, even billions of lines of code – the sins of the past are creating enormous problems each time changes are made to the code base which usually contains applications written in more than one programming language and that are of various origins and age. Quick-and-dirty design decisions are responsible for delayed software releases and significant additional costs are incurred. Technical debt has developed into a liability that code owners can no longer overlook. In short, the efficient or entire maintainability of their software is at risk if they do not manage code quality.

The answer to this global phenomenon of rapidly ballooning technical debt is ‘Continuous Code Quality Management.’ To get it right, code quality inspection has to be continuous and more importantly, code quality management has to be put where it belongs, as an integral part of the software development lifecycle. Code quality management rapidly improves development team speed and efficiency, and the ROI on  software development projects is measurable and immediate. CIOs have recently begun to realise the importance of Continuous Code Quality Management as they stand to save millions, and in some cases hundreds of millions of dollars on  software development . This trend is now fuelling the rapid growth of a market for specialist Continuous Code Quality Management software. Today, the clear global market leader is without doubt Swiss-based SonarSource which was founded in 2008 and is now on a stellar growth track on the back of its success in the market.

Mooreland Partners is pleased to have recently advised SonarSource on a $45 million minority investment by Insight Venture Partners. SonarSource has been at the forefront of solving the code maintainability problem for its customers since inception. The recent investment is bound to catapult the business into its next, exciting stage as Continuous Code Quality Management is rapidly turning into one of the hottest trends in the wider DevOps space. We expect interest in the sector to increase strongly in the short- to medium-term, as players in adjacent code inspection and DevOps fields  turn their attention to this exciting market opportunity.

For more information on the transaction, please see here.

With four completed transactions in the DevOps space in the last eighteen months, Mooreland Partners is excited to remain at the forefront of transaction activity in this exciting sector of the global software market; the firm recently advised on transactions for EZSource (sale to IBM), Secunia (sale to Flexera) and Checkmarx (investment from Insight Venture Partners), in addition to SonarSource.


(1) IBM, Gartner & Forrester estimates

Fabian Zimmer

Fabian Zimmer

Fabian joined Mooreland in 2008, and is a member of the Enterprise Software and Industrial Technologies and Electronics teams.