It was a good Test Managers’ Forum yesterday. Alan Wallet from ING did a presentation on the direction of test tools and how the landscape has changed. What struck me most was the general consensus in the room that while Mercury is an expensive and great tool, since they have been bought by HP, they are now ‘sweating the assets’*. They have increased prices and become more inflexible, lowered their service levels and drastically slowed development. This chimes well with my observations and experiences even before they were bought. The upside, in my opinion …? Performance test tools such as NeoLoad, Facilita, LoadStorm, StressStimulus and JMeter are capitalising on the gap being created giving much more flexibility on pricing and, in some cases, increased features and functionality over and above Loadrunner. Mercury created a monster Profit Driven Monopoly* which has caused a spur of innovation in other parts of the market. We now have a multitude of choices being driven by open source; and we’ve gone from Mercury being the only choice to a dizzying array of choices needing consultants to provide advice on the best solutions. Test consultants are thankfully becoming more skilled and in turn justifying their costs on this basis, which means there is also less room for the less skilled which currently inhibit other parts of the testing market.
*A very good and experienced Technical Test Manager, look him up.
**’Sweating the Assets’ – Maximising every morsel of cash from the cow while investing the minimum possible back in. Ultimately killing the cow.
***PDM. Profit Driven Monopoly – It is my observation that most monopolies once entrenched, become profit driven not innovation driven. This means they turn their attention to maximizing revenue from their consumers rather than the advancement of the product for the consumer. They effectively bite the hand that feeds it.
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