5 costly software failures that could’ve been avoided



Our monthly roundup of software failure around the world includes the grounding of Singapore’s stock exchange and more than 2,000 flights at Southwest Airlines.

There’s also a glitchy software update at Lexus that left an unknown number of motorists riding around lost in luxurious silence because their stereo and navigation systems were shut down.

You see what happens when you don’t test with Service Virtualization?

System failure grounds Singapore stock exchange for nearly a day

The longest disruption is the history of Singapore’s stock exchange is being pinned on a combined hardware/software problem, according to a report in FastFT,

Apparently, software supplied by the United States’ NASDAQ market failed to detect a failed hard disk and switch over to a backup as it was supposed to, the report said.

The market ground to a halt for nearly a full day, embarrassing a country known for efficiency. The market said it was working with NASDAQ to investigate what went wrong.

“We take this disruption seriously,” exchange CEO Loh Boon Chye said. This is the fourth system outage to hit the Singapore exchange since 2014, according to reports.

Software brings new low of government dysfunction

The state of Alabama has filed a lawsuit to void a technology contract that is said to have cost the state $47 million because of glitchy accounting software.

According to Alabama Today’s Elizabeth Lauten, CGI Technology and Solutions INc. was supposed to develop a new system called STAARS for state financial transactions. On its unveiling in 2015, the system flopped immediately.

Lauten wrote that the state was left with a backlog of bills. State agencies were even unable to pay each other, leading one state official to quip about “a new level of dysfunction.”

“The previous accounting software was old, but it worked,” he said. “This new software is new, but it does not work.”

Indy wants its money back, too

A software company’s failure to install and test an emergency dispatch system has the city of Indianapolis in court over an estimated $8.3 million in costs and damages, according to TV station WISH.

The lawsuit says the computer-assisted dispatch system was supposed to be in place nearly three years ago. The lawsuit says the company “had failed to accommodate critical user and system acceptance testing activities in its original project planning.”

Imagine that, a company planning a rollout and forgetting to account for testing.

Southwest Airlines failure was more than a bad router, experts say

Tech experts are saying it couldn’t have been just a failed router that grounded more than 2,000 Southwest Airlines flights last month.

Instead, they suggested to the Associated Press that the problem was more likely failed design and test of its computer systems, leading Southwest unions to call for the heads of top tech executives at the airline.

Bob Jordan, the carrier’s executive VP, said it was the worst outage he can recall in his 28 years there. Officials have fingered a single failed router.

But the AP cited independent IT experts who suggest the problem is more likely to be software-related — software should have detected the failed router and prompted a failover to backups.

The AP cited expert Doron Pinhas as saying Southwest likely didn’t test its system adequately to see what would happen in such a failure: “You can’t blame the router. The router triggered a chain reaction that should not have happened.”

Indeed, companies that employ Service Virtualization have the ability to test for any imaginable scenario, component failure or traffic load. Such failures as the one at Southwest can be avoided entirely.

Another car-related failure, this time at Lexus

According to Fortune, the latest auto-related software failure to make news is at the luxury Toyota brand Lexus.

A spokesman told the publication that Lexus pushed out a software update that shut down the infotainment and navigation systems in newer Lexus cars. It’s not known how many cars were affected, but the outage was described as “widespread.”

The company said safety and functionality of the vehicles was not affected. (It’s not known how many drivers are still driving around lost.)

Have a great month, and don’t forget to test!