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Thought Leaders in Mobile and Social: Mike Ryan, CTO of Mobile Labs (Part 2)

Posted on Tuesday, Sep 22nd 2015

Mike Ryan: The delivery infrastructure is almost infinitely very dated. There are 97 manufacturers of mobile devices and hundreds and thousands of combinations. You have the challenge of supporting old technologies as well as new technologies. If you need to support a mobile phone that is three or four years old, you’ve severe disparity. That’s one segment of the challenge. The second thing is that app stores have empowered users in ways we have never seen before. When users post reviews with low ratings, you can get into some hot water.

The activity in the marketplace is astoundingly large now and it’s going to get larger. It’s expected that in 2017, we’ll see 268 billion downloads, which would represent $77 billion worth of revenue. You’ve this challenge with the environment and then with the users. Finally, you’ve the challenge of how to adopt mobility to your engineering practices. We think there is a need for a device cloud for infrastructure support for those activities.

If you look at mobility, it’s the fourth transforming revolution that’s coming along in enterprise computing. Each one has exploded markets dramatically. When you go back to the mainframe days, you see the financially dominant players shift and huge marketplaces opportunities opening up as a result. When IBM mainframe gave way to Microsoft’s desktop applications, the number of seats for computing just exploded. Once we saw the web come about, there was another explosion. This time, we’re not waiting. The technology is already in the hands of users. It’s difficult to measure the opportunities. This is a revolution.

Sramana Mitra: All that is fine. How has testing changed in that context? At scale, what is critical? What is complex? What is challenging?

Mike Ryan: We look at it from the enterprise’s point of view. This business of user reviews on apps kicked this flavor that I’m going to describe in play throughout the entire marketplace. If you look through the history of automated testing, it’s really challenging. When you back to the days when IT could control the environment, you had control of your environment. Mobility has taken the control away. So, number one, you can’t control the environment.

Number two, users don’t want to be told how to use the application. They want to be provided applications that are easy to learn. If they can’t do that, they delete it and they go on to the next thing. You had a tougher time, in the earlier days that I described, in justifying why you wanted to do automated testing because you had a relatively slowly-changing homogeneous environment. In today’s world, the need for regression, particularly in user interfaces becomes acute because you ought to have some way to find out what works and what doesn’t as change comes down the pipe. Mobility has made automated testing an absolute necessity.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Thought Leaders in Mobile and Social: Mike Ryan, CTO of Mobile Labs
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