IBM on Wednesday announced its first acquisition of the year -- and Charles Chu, director of product management and strategy at Big Blue's Rational Software unit, is offering the inside scoop on how this technology will help the software testing world.
IBM acquired Green Hat, a software quality and testing solutions for the cloud and other environments. Financial terms were not disclosed. Green Hat will become part of IBM's Rational Software business when the deal closes.
Green Hat helps customers improve the quality of software applications by enabling developers to leverage cloud computing technologies to conduct testing on a software application prior to its delivery.
App Testing Complexity
"In the application development area, especially with managing quality, the industry has faced three primary issues," Chu said.
"Over the course of the last decade-plus, there's been a lot of labor moving from mature markets to lower cost countries such as India or China. After the first big bang re-level set onto a lower cost base, the cost base increases and it's driving more cost-pressure on the rest of the industry."
The second factor Chu mentioned is the sheer complexity of testing today's applications. He noted that our fathers and grandfathers had a pretty easy life -- developers wrote applications in COBOL, tested them and launched on a mainframe. Today, there is a myriad of applications running at the same time that make it more difficult to test and manage quality.
This reality has historically forced developers to construct an actual testing lab made up of both hardware and software to test applications. This time-consuming and labor-intensive process has become even more compounded with the short development cycle needed to compete in rapidly expanding markets.
Balancing Speed and Quality
"The third dynamic we see is customers trying to tune between quality and speed. When a telecom provider provisions a new phone, that is one application. There is also an ERP application that manages inventory and a billing system. So every time I need to test my application I need those three environments -- or some small subset of those three environments -- in my test lab and I need human beings to set up a test lab for me," Chu said. "The alternative is not to test it as often, but that sacrifices quality."
When combined with the IBM Rational Solution for Collaborative Lifecycle Management, Chu said developers and testers can achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency, effectiveness and collaboration while delivering quality software to their business. The example he offered from the telecom provider is actually a real one.
"One of the top three mobile providers in Europe has reduced its testing time by 50 percent and saved about $1 million over a three-year period," Chu said. "One of the top three commercial banks using the software has reduced its manual testing time from 10 days down to 10 minutes and it has saved over $7 million to date."