AsiaInfo Holdings, the Beijing-based software house, has achieved the highest recognition possible for the quality of its software, Level 5 on the Capability Maturity Model Integration standard.

It thus joining the select group of software developers around the
world — mostly in the west and India — that have been certified to
CMMI Level 5.

CMMI was originally developed to certify the quality of software for
NASA spaceships and similar “mission-critical” applications.

is particularly relevant to so-called embedded applications — software
that goes installed in products on the production line and cannot
easily be modified or upgraded afterwards.

While bug-ridden software causes big headaches to business software
users, the consequences of failure in embedded applications like
fly-by-wire systems for aircraft or traffic lights can be disastrous.

Nasdaq-listed AsiaInfo specialise in software for telecommunications
systems, another embedded application where the consequences of failure
while hardly life-threatening, are nevertheless highly disruptive. The
company supplies China's telecoms sector and also now makes security
products and services, after acquiring Lenovo's non-telecom IT services
business in 2004.

CMMI is all about continuous improvement in software development
processes. AsiaInfo began its CMMI process improvement in 2001 and
achieved levels 2 and 3 in March 2002 and March 2005 respectively.

In the two years since starting the Level 5 improvements, AsiaInfo
has reduced its product delivery time by 10%, and the product quality
and project request response time has improved by 8% and 13%

That a Chinese software firm can successfully complete the strict
and lengthy procedures necessary to achieve CMMI Level 5 certification
will come as an eye-opener to western critics who still think the “Made
in China” label is invariably synonymous with poor quality.

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