Businesses want to stay competitive, but in today’s world of software development it can be a struggle. In order to be successful, businesses need to deliver software that loads quickly, performs well, and provides a great user experience, and they have to do it fast.

It is no longer acceptable for a business to deliver software and updates annually, or for organizations to wait until the end of a development cycle to test an application, according to Nikhil Kaul, technical product manager at SmartBear. The way in which software is delivered is being sped up and compressed, and businesses not only need to find a way to keep up, but also release high-quality software at the same time.

Continuous Delivery (CD) is an approach businesses have taken to release software more frequently, bring products and services to market, and ensure quality.

“CD is how companies recognize that software is eating the world, and that they won’t be able to remain competitive if they don’t radically change the way they produce business differentiation through software,” said Sacha Labourey, CEO and founder of CloudBees.

Of course, with any methodology that speeds up the delivery life cycle, there is a risk of releasing low-quality software. But with a process like CD, the quality of software actually improves if implemented the right way, according to Eric Wittman, general manager of developer tools at Atlassian.

“Part of the biggest benefit is you are able to get immediate and instant feedback on whether or not your software actually works. In its simplest form, that is the biggest benefit,” he said.

That immediate feedback comes from breaking down barriers between the business, development, quality and operations teams, getting feedback on a much faster cycle, constantly testing an application as the code is being written, and working in smaller batch sizes, according to Dave West, chief product officer at Tasktop.

“Remember, if we are doing Continuous Delivery, it is likely we are working in small batch sizes, and if there is a bug, it is less of a massive ‘Whoa, the world has come to an end’ situation,” he said. “You are able to fix it relatively quickly, and you get the ability to deploy again relatively quickly. It is all about visibility. As soon as you see the problem, you try to fix it. And if you miss problems, then you add layers of automation to fix those problems next time.”