Automated error reporting : Business-to-business aspects to consider for a software provider
Abstract: Computer errors are a constant problem for software providers. To completely avoid bugs has proven very difficult even though computer software goes through rigorous testing before released. One of the challenges for developers is recreating errors that end-users experience. User-submitted error reports can often be of help for developers to localize and fix bugs. However, the reports often vary in quality depending on the user's experience and the effort they put into writing the report. Instead of relying on manual error reports, some software providers have equipped their software with automated error reporting functionality. These programs are set to collect important information about the computer and the software in the event of a crash. There are pros and cons with both automated and manual error reporting. The research that has previously been done in the field of error reporting has mostly focused on the situation where private persons are senders and corporations are receivers. This report addresses the setting where both parties are corporations, which brings several new aspects to the problem. The five main topics this report focuses on are: customer attitude, which data to send, privacy, user interaction and feedback. A study has been conducted at the ERP system provider IFS in Sweden where interviews with employees and customers have been performed. Interviewees in the customer companies have been primarily ERP and application managers. The results of the study show that companies are less concerned than what the literature suggests even though the attitudes differ some depending on line of business. Conclusions are that a high degree of configurability of what is sent in the error reports and the level of user interaction is needed for companies to accept automated error reporting.
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