By Richard Bishop
Vivit Board President
From 26th to 28th March 2019, Micro Focus held their annual Micro Focus Universe conference in Vienna. I was fortunate to be asked to attend along with two colleagues from Lloyds Banking Group as well as two other Vivit board members (Bob Crews and Jonathon Wright) and our EMEA liaison, Annemarie Stuiver.
This year’s event was focused on five key themes:
- Application Delivery Management (ADM)
- Application Modernisation and Connectivity (AMC)
- End User productivity (EUP)
- IT Operations Management (ITOM)
- Security, Risk and Governance (SRG)
Track sessions were a mixture of customer presentations as well as presentations by Micro Focus product managers and their R&D teams. Attendees learned about Micro Focus future product direction as well as hearing innovative customer stories both in track sessions and in discussions throughout the week.
Micro Focus Global Vice President, Marketing/Enablement, Genefa Murphy (center) joined the Team Vivit (Left to Right), Jonathon Wright, Richard Bishop, Annemarie Stuiver and Bob Crews.
Customer Advisory Board (CABs)
Prior to the conference, I was invited to attend a Customer Advisory Board meeting (CAB). This was a really good opportunity to share experiences (and grievances) with other customers who use Micro Focus software. People who attend CAB sessions tend to be large customers and this meeting was no exception. In my CAB there were customers from large financial and manufacturing organisations, government departments and large technology consultancies from across Europe.
CAB sessions are designed to help Micro Focus to receive unfiltered feedback from customers, deepen customer relationships, improve customer service and validate their long-term plans for product development and future software releases. The round table format which provided the confidential discussion forum for customers worked very well. From my point of view, discussions with other banks, in particular, were really useful and gave me an insight into how other organisations are handling the problems that we face when testing software. After the meeting, I agreed to work with two other companies to help develop reporting software for testing using an “open-source” model.
The day after the CAB sessions, most customers start to arrive and the registration desks were busy as people arrived ahead of the afternoon keynote sessions. My attention was drawn to the ADM topics in particular. Of particular interest were announcements related to mobile device testing which is an area of interest for me as well as the imminent release of AI-based testing software which should take much of the drudgery away from testers who struggle to maintain test scripts in rapidly changing Agile development labs.
Break Out Area
In common with other conferences, there were demo booths hosted by Micro Focus and their partners where it was possible to ask questions about the use of MF software and see demonstrations. I found the mobile and functional testing demonstrations particularly interesting, as well as having the opportunity to join in several ad-hoc meetings with other Micro Focus software users at the Vivit booth.
Vivit “Ask ADM Anything” - Breakout Session
On the last day of the conference, I was asked to host a session on the ADM stage, asking Micro Focus ADM executives including; Raffia Margaliot, Tali Levi Joseph and Archie Roboostoff to field questions from Vivit members. These questions came from Vivit members on a wide variety of topics and this will be available via Micro Focus “Universe On Demand” shortly.
This open Q&A format seemed to work well and Bob Crews repeated it at the ADM Summit in Chicago last week. We also plan to host a similar session at the ITOM summit as a way to help our members communicate with Micro Focus openly and directly.
Vivit Board President, Richard Bishop moderates the Micro Focus Expert panel, Archie Roboostoff, Raffi Margaliot and Tal Levi Joseph.
After taking some time to merge the former Mercury businesses acquired from HPE software Micro Focus now seems to be increasing the pace of innovation. Product updates and releases are happening more quickly after a switch to Continuous Application Development and there are plans to introduce much simpler licensing models, making it easier for customers to use software on a “pay for what you use” basis.
Micro Focus seem keen to use their Vertica analytics platform to provide deeper insights into test results, helping customers to make better-informed decisions about their software deployments.
Significant investments in AI should help to reduce the workload for testers maintaining automated tests. In the future, testers will be able to write scripts in natural language, for example by, asking test tools to login as user X, check an account balance, then logout, rather than struggling with object identification and xPaths!
Simplifying the license model and software upgrade path for ADM software also seems to be important. Allowing customers to test and use the latest software before making major purchasing decisions should help customers to stay up to date, rather than lagging behind the development curve for new software releases.
If you want to stay up to date with developments, Micro Focus will be hosting a series of follow-up events later this summer which are worth attending if one is in an area near you. As well as this, Vivit, the Micro Focus software user group will be hosting webinars and local meetings over the coming months, stay in touch if you want to hear more.