Shove off, Excel
Plutora hopes to ease test environment woes
San Francisco-based Enterprise SaaS provider Plutora, which specialises in enterprise release management software, added an update of cloud based tool ‘Plutora Test Environment Manager’ to its repertoire last week.
For the uninitiated, this on demand application does exactly what it says on the tin, providing organizations transparency and control of their test environments, helping them to better manage and control their test environments to support releases.
Plutora Director Dalibor Siroky and his team originally conceived the platform in a bid to help slice the time lost in testing - around 30-40 percent of which he estimates is related to challenges or problems in individual environments. A considerable task considering that every delay caused by environmental problems in their ecosystems can run up collateral costs of around $100,000 (Aus) a day for companies.
Ultimately, with the development of Environment Manager, Siroky hoped to remedy the lost productivity brought on by “spreadsheet sprawl and poor collaboration between delivery and operational teams.”
Anyone with a claim to be able to cut these levels of expenditure is bound to attract attention, and indeed, since the platform update officially went live last week, Siroky’s office has received a healthy volume of calls from clients eager to take it for a test drive.
Having started worked as a consultant on large scale IT projects, before moving on to a role as a CIO at an investment bank, Siroky is well aware of the issues facing large scale testing environments. When the bottom went out of the systems banking market, he took the opportunity to branch into the world of startups, working with a group of similarly experienced tech colleagues to, as he puts it, “solve this problem that we're trying to solve on a day to day basis within the organisations that we've worked in previously”.
Once they'd established what they wanted to do with Plutora, the founders pooled their knowledge, taking what they’d learnt from working in environments as diverse as banks, a utility company, and a telecommunications company, and “ basically started cutting code”. A devs team was hired to architect the team’s first product, and building commenced, greatly bolstered by the strong market connections within the fledgling company.
Siroky explains that they were able to “validate a lot of our thinking very early on”. It was very easy for Plutora to talk to a CTO or development team lead, or lead developers or architects in a number of organisations, and, he says, “when we actually got to release the product, we had a lot of validation, and it was very market driven in the way that we developed it”. This profound understanding of the market greatly helped in the conception and delivery of the Test Enterprise Manager.
Siroky explains that his platform effectively builds a forge schedule around those testing environments. “It provides them with the configuration around those test environments to ensure that the right environment is at the right place at the right time and from a technical perspective, the way that we do that is that we very clearly match the release requirements, the configuration, the versioning, the application code, very specific to what the actual release would require”.
Although Siroky can’t disclose the big name entities that his company is working with, he hints that some very large scale financial institutions indeed have been working with Plutora to manage their applications. It’s thanks to working with these market leaders that Plutora have been able to confirm that their product is up to scratch, and after three months of testing, and confirmation that the release is “really good” from their customers, Plutora felt confident enough to make a full announcement of Test Environment Manager 2.0.
Perhaps what makes Plutora’s new addition to its clutch of SaaS solutions most unique is the fact that it’s taken a process which was traditionally done by most of their clients using relatively basic methods on to a much slicker plane.
Slightly incredulously, Siroky reaffirms his surprise that release management is still, at the enterprise level, done on spreadsheets. He explains that, at worst, “a lot of the time when an app gets pushed out, its a manual provisioning process, done on spreadsheets...with no system to manage that”. Siroky proudly notes that Plutora have now “industrialised” the process - and hopefully helped IT departments save a few hundred thousand dollars along the way.