Don’t be fooled by slick e-business sites, because as professional as they may appear, in many cases they’re masking problems at the back end, according to Segue Software Inc.
Michael Maggio, general manager and senior vice-president with Lexington, Mass.-based Segue, said IT resources at many on-line businesses – forced to maintain reliability despite heavy traffic and the demands of 24×7 service — are stretched to the limit.
And because e-business infrastructures mix multiple webmasters, developers and servers, finding and fixing specific problems when they occur is difficult, Maggio said.
“Even though the site is up and running, they don’t have anything in place to manage it…they’re getting burned by the fact that they have this continuous deployment model. It’s just chaos.”
That’s why Segue has updated its e-business management system, LiveQuality. LiveQuality 2.0 is a suite of eight software tools designed to help companies build, test and deploy sophisticated e-business systems.
According to Segue, not only does LiveQuality 2.0 help customers launch e-business systems faster, it also helps model “real world” test scenarios, helping customers gauge how their sites will respond to heavy traffic or rapid infrastructure changes.
LiveQuality 2.0 also helps e-business support staff conduct functional and performance tests, so staff can assess a variety of e-business functions, including browsers, HTML, XML and Java.
“It’s tied into the ability to manage all the components,” Maggio said. “It monitors a live site or stage site to see when you run a test what would happen on the individual tiers.”
Segue says launching and maintaining e-business systems occurs in six distinct stages: assembly, testing, modelling, deployment, monitoring and analysis — and the LiveQuality suite features software to handle each of them.
Without a tool like LiveQuality, companies have only two ways to handle e-business demands, Maggio said. One is hoping customers, impressed by the convenience of e-commerce, simply brush off the odd error message or site downtime.
“The other way is brute strength – just putting more hardware into it and more bodies into it, but that’s hitting the bottom line. And eventually, [the business world] is going to ask these guys to be profitable.”
Eric Holstege, chief technology officer with Release Corp., an e-commerce outsourcer based in San Carlos, Calif. that builds and hosts hundreds of on-line stores, is planning to implement two tools from the LiveQuality suite – SilkTest and SilkPerformer — to help automate testing of user interfaces and simulate real-life traffic loads.
The latter function was key for Holstege, who said Release has to assure customers that their on-line stores can handle traffic stresses. Initially, he considered building something in-house, but ultimately he chose LiveQuality, based partly on Segue’s reputation as a test software manufacturer.
However, he admits there wasn’t a lot of tools to choose from. “[Segue] is really the only game in town, in my opinion, not only from a current assessment, but from their historical roots. Really, it was a make or buy decision, and when it came right down to it, there weren’t any other viable purchase options.”
Although there aren’t many e-business management tools to choose from currently, there will certainly be more if e-commerce continues to grow in leaps and bounds, according to Dave Kelly, analyst with Hurwitz Group Inc. in Framingham, Mass.
The key benefit of a tool like LiveQuality 2.0 is that it frees up in-house resources, so that they can devote their time to the core business, Kelly noted. Because the rapid pace of e-business requires companies to react quickly to changing competitive environments, a tool like LiveQuality 2.0 that manages change can make an important difference.
The only other option is creating sites in the traditional waterfall method – a process that can only result in chaos, Kelly said.
LiveQuality 2.0 will become available within 60 days, although many of the individual tools are ready to ship. Pricing varies based on tools utilized and on individual configurations.
Segue Software Inc. (www.segue.com) in Lexington, Mass., is at 1-800-287-1329.