Sauce Labs, is another in the long list of web and mobile application testing companies. It provides an automated test service that allows users to run functional and unit tests on applications – native, mobile web and desktop. Today the company is making dual announcements, the first a closing of their series C funding round (a modest $5M led by Toba Capital). More interestingly is the release of their “Team” product, a test management platform that is being targeted for enterprise customers.

While the release of another product category isn’t normally news, Sauce labs Team edition does speak to an interesting tension within enterprise IT. At the moment there is a real mass of bottom-up developer tools that are being adopted at a grassroots level to speed up development and empower developers to do their jobs more productively. That’s an excellent first step in IT transformation, but it is a step that is unfortunately disconnected from the more impactful change – that of central adoption of widespread tools. Many a company has embarked on a “bottom-up” market entry strategy, only to have discovered that there is a huge chasm between end user adoption and real enterprise buy in.

Which is why it is interesting to see Sauce Labs’ move as symptomatic of an occurrence we’re going to see much more of in the months ahead – smaller companies with reasonable grass roots adoption rolling out new plans in a bid to attract central enterprise IT customers. So, to the Sauce Labs offering, what does it actually involve? According to the company, the team product includes the following broad areas:

  • Management Dashboards – New dashboards enable group leaders to monitor all active tests and users from just a few dashboard views. Test results are now organized by build so users can quickly identity test failures and access and share relevant details. New reporting capacity has also made it easier to search historical data, giving managers the ability to determine the cost of supporting specific browsers or identify patterns in performance
  • Enhanced Continuous Integration Compatibility – Recognizing how users have begun to employ continuous integration within Sauce Labs, which integrates with all of the leading CI frameworks, Sauce Team gives users easy access to all testing activities and results from a build with detailed videos, snapshots and reports on test activities to help speed up debugging
  • Cross-team Collaboration – New capabilities connected to the dashboards enable users to share testing details within the platform to support collaboration. With messages, users can share videos, screenshots and test logs with other team members quickly and easily

But according to the release, this is just the start of this new found enterprise fascination – “Sauce Team represents the first in a series of new products, services and platform enhancements Sauce Labs has planned targeting the specific needs of larger, more complex enterprises.” Or in other words, bottom up adoption is great and all, but the dollars really lie with central IT and we’re gunning to find a way to be relevant to them.

MyPOV

Despite all the hubbub about democratization and grass roots solutions, time and time again we see examples of companies moving from end user adoption to more central IT conversations – we only need to look at Box to see a company that has pivoted its attention almost 180 degrees to a more traditional enterprise model.

Now this doesn’t mean that enterprise IT isn’t undergoing massive changes, it most certainly is. But as I see it, the future will still be made of blanket solutions that meet the dual requirements of central visibility and management, while still allowing the end users to quickly and easily get solutions up and running. Testing applications isn’t sexy, but it’s important – far too important for developers to have to wait a long time for IT to stand services up for them to test with This is why Sauce Labs Team, by giving central visibility and control while at the same time delivering a tool that quickly meets the needs of end users, is a logical step and one which we’ll see play out more frequently in the future.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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