Posted By Jonathon Wright,
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Let the Vivit Community Make a Real Difference Together
Call to action – Looking for Vivit members to get involved in the fight against COVID-19 by empowering people to keep themselves and their families safer through global, privacy-first, citizen-led, free technology. If you are interested, all you need to do is fill out a Vivit volunteer form or contact Jonathon Wright at email@example.com.
FAQ - By volunteering for this project, you will be joining a global community of engineers, data scientists, digital privacy evangelists, professors, and researchers who are all working to fight the spread of COVID-19. For additional information on how to get involved, click here.
Background to MIT project was founded in February 2020, by a passionate community of people and organizations to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and help revitalize economies without sacrificing personal privacy:
COVID-19 - Contact Tracing (GPS) – Location sensors to enhance manual contact tracing efforts. Find out more.
Google Apple Exposure Notification (GAEN) - Exposure notification with Bluetooth. Find out more.
Posted By Jonathon Wright,
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2020
During this unprecedented time, Vivit wants you to know that #WeSupportYou! We trust that by staying in constant communication with our community it can help us all get through this unusual global challenge.
With that being said, we are excited to announce Vivit’s new podcast, Espresso Talks.
Espresso Talks, will bring the Vivit community short, bold, and strong conversations weekly during this time of uncertainty and for most of you this period of remote working. We created Espresso Talks because we know that many of you are making daily adjustments in your lives to continue to succeed at your jobs during this turbulent time and are juggling your time between working, family, and caregiving. These short episodes will only be about 20-30 minutes but jam packed with valuable information.
Several members have already reached out to us asking for help around topics such as; tips on working from home, how to do more with less, leveraging your existing IT tools, test-run tips and a whole lot more.
So, we took action and have a line-up of Espresso Talks guest speakers scheduled to discuss topics such as:
How to Become a Video Conference Rockstar
Power User Tips & Tricks for Remote Working
Homemade Kanban Now You Can
Lesson Learnt from Gig-Worker in the Gig-Economy
Become a Digital Pioneer, Lessons from a TED Speaker
Your Local User and Special Interest Groups Here to Help
COVID-19 and Testing, Testing, and more Testing
If you’re interested in being an Espresso Talks speaker to discuss your “Magic Brew” or just want to submit a podcast topic, please contact me via email.
We hope that you will join us on our weekly Espresso Talks starting next week on our iTunes channel, Vivit Talks. For now, check out my prologue vlog about our upcoming podcast episodes and some helpful member tips on our YouTube channel (be sure to subscribe (it’s included in your membership).
Posted By Jonathon Wright,
Monday, December 16, 2019
Updated: Monday, December 16, 2019
“They think it is all over, well it is now!” ... Joe Colantonio has officially left his studio! (after we trapped him in for the last 48 hours, again).
What an adventure it has been. So much love for the Vivit Community and the Micro Focus product family and new friends.
Did you know that Vivit and the hit TV show Friends share the same birthday? This year we both celebrate our 25th year of bringing joy to the world! With friends in mind let us bring you some highlights from this week’s ITOM VCD event:
Season 1 – “The One with the Unicorn”
My first Video Tape (VT) advertising the event whilst floating around in the middle of the ocean.
Season 2 – “The One with the Batmobile”
Last weeks blog, with some great MF comments!... and thanks for all the fish!
Season 3 – “The One with the Red Carpet”
Celebrating 25 years of Friends & Vivit! Behind the scenes promo footage!
Series 4 – “The One with the Christmas Carol”
Harald from MF talking about the power of Ops Bridge!
Series 5 – “The One with the Blizzard”
Attempting live Q&A as a storm hits Canary Wharf! Thankfully the MF friends were there for you!
Series 6 – “The One with the Beanie”
Our Education Chair wish some SuperStar advice!
Series 7 – “The One with the Derdack”
Offering the Value-First approach to leveraging the MF advantage!
Series 8 – “The One with the Nasdaq”
Doesn’t get bigger than the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System (NASDAW) as an abbreviation? (WYSIWYG)
Series 9 – “The One with Mr Robot”
aka the Automation Cyborg talks about Robotic Process Automation & Artificial Intelligence!
Episode 10 – “The One with the X(i) = V(i) * X(0)”
The season finale with all the partners who made it all possible!
It has been an honour and a privilege to be part of the first Virtual Customer Days (both ADM & ITOM) events! I would like to thank everyone again who made this possible!
Posted By Jonathon Wright,
Friday, December 6, 2019
Updated: Friday, December 6, 2019
What a journey the last few months has been, the Vivit volunteers have been working like Santa’s little helpers to prepare for the biggest day(s) of the year! The first ever Virtual Customer Days (VCD)!
No matter if you have been naughty or nice, everyone was invited! Best of all, it is never too late, to share with a colleague the joys of VCD! Just tell them to register by following the Call to Action and just select ADM or the upcoming ITOM event starting next week.
Call to Action – Sign up to the Virtual Customer Days events by simply navigating to the Vivit-Worldwide.org community site, then select Virtual Customer Days and either ADM or ITOM then simply register totally FREE!
When we were first asked to host two flagship events, we knew it would be our opportunity for some gift giving to the community during this festive season. We were hoping for a Christmas miracle, which totally came true in the form of the awsometastical, Joe Colantonio!
Avoiding giving away any spoilers ahead of what could end up, the community trilogy to rival the rise of Skywalker, I wanted to highlight some of the social media banter over the last 48hrs!
Episode I - The Phantom Menace
“The Automation Cyborg aka Vivit President kept on dropping in”:
Episode II – Attack of the Mercury Merch
“The @DarkArtsWizard aka Paul Grossman started off the Captain Mercury craze, can you spot all three dolls?”:
Episode III – Revenge of the LR Developer
“Major announcement of LoadRunner Developer to rival JMeter”:
Episode IV – A New Hope
“Archie Roboostoff lays down the strategic direction for product management, with Tal Levi Joseph”:
Episode V – UFT One Strikes Back
“The Launch of UFT One (15) powered by next generation A.I Codeless Testing Tool (1.0) and local UFT Mobile Device (3.3) support”:
Episode VI – Return of the UFT Books
“Vivit Worldwide announce give away of signed UFT Cookbook to biggest contributors of questions (sli.do) & social media (twitter):
Episode VII – The MF Force Awakens
“Great ADM roundtable with Archie Roboostoff, Ranato Quedas, Vickey Giavelli, Eran Bachar & Omer Felder”
Episode VII – The Last Dark Arts Wizard
“The @DarkArtsWizard rocked ADM VCD with the most entertaining and insightful session”:
Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker
“Exclusive VCD Bonus Session from the Vivit President on Testing as a Service”
FOMO – Don’t miss out on getting involved with the ITOM VCD on December 10th & 11th and off course on demand:
Posted By Jonathon Wright,
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 16, 2019
The year was 2008, the same year Bill Gates stepped down as the CEO of Microsoft. I found myself in a situation that was best described as a scene from The Wolf of Wall Street. I sat in a glass meeting room located on the 30th floor of Bank Street in Canary Wharf where I was being interviewed by a couple of “suits”. During the interview, I was questioned “so ... how good are you with WinRunner?” I responded with the default contractor answer of “well it depends, what you are trying to do?”. The next question shocked me, “do you see all the people on this floor?” I nodded, “well ... we are about to let them all go… and we need automation” someone then walked up onto a stage and announced that everyone on the trading floor had been let go.
As people started to leave, they continued to explain that they had bought millions of mortgages and loans from various organisations/providers and needed them to all be boarded/migrated onto their target platform (see above) so they could be serviced.
Six months later, my time at Lehman Brothers had taught me a valuable lesson on the importance of Business Process Automation (BPA) and the potential value of enterprise RPA to an organisation. This could be driven by Operational Efficiency, Speed to Market or even traditional ROI / cost saving:
Operational Efficiency - What do you think the percentage is of Human error when you have 100+ mortgage agents boarding loans 24/7 and what is the impact of missing a zero or keying in the wrong number?
Speed to Market - How long does it take from purchasing subprime to be able to underwrite/service the loan? (i.e. when they could start making money)
ROI / cost saving - Reducing headcount by 100+ mortgage agents (or redeploy them to better use as SMEs) and replacement with robotic agents (WinRunner VMs).
One of the major challenges around replacing humans with robots is that they lack the context-sensitive validation that human SME has many years of experience in each industry, both vertical or domain. For example, what happens when one of the mortgage platforms categorizes the property as a studio apartment and the other system categories it as a one-bedroom flat?
This is where Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) comes in by factoring in the decision making based on a domain / context specific model of the solution (i.e. modelling derivatives and providing the associated data sets). This topic was explored at the RPA Tech Day in London on Wednesday 26th September (see above photo).
Additionally that week, I had finished recording a podcast with Joe Colantonio which explored this subject in much more detail around ‘Shift Right’ and learning how to model the behaviour of systems from production. In turn, this highlights a challenge with modelling. What happens when a journey is not discovered (an edge case) or a decision tree is not executed by the system? This is another challenge with process mining or node discovery (discovering every possible path through a system).
Forget adding additional Chaos Engineering approaches of ‘what if’ scenarios to handle systemic failure. But, are we saying that RPA is destined for failure (similar that of early digital transformation efforts) because the systems that humans have built are too complex or are we saying that the lessons that we have learned from the past can help us avoid making similar mistakes when it comes to Enterprise RPA adoption?
The RPA Tech Day at the Micro Focus office in London which was very similar to the workshop that I attended in South Africa last month. The messaging had again evolved taking another step toward differentiating Micro Focus within the RPA industry. The key differentiator being Business Process Automation (BPA) capabilities and augmenting intelligence through SME and the autonomy of the dissecting the process targeted for RPA.
I’d swap activities and interactions around as an activity can be made up of several interactions with potentially different systems (i.e. context switching). Another observation was the importance of Digital Experiences (DX) over User Experiences (UX) I.e. focusing on what the human does instead of the cause and effect modelling of what upstream and downstream activities are being triggered (check out my chapter in the Digital Quality Handbook for further detail).
Another challenge is how many possible flows through the above process, is it 5, 10, 25, 100, infinite? At the time of publication, the simple process flow above (taken from the Experiences in Test Automation by Dorothy Graham) I had estimated 25 flows, unfortunately, I was completely wrong. I remember running a workshop in California on code coverage techniques on LCSAJ (Linear Code Sequence & Jump) with only a single loop, to cover all paths with all data permutations results in the nearly infinite possible path.
I recall when I was based in Silicon Valley as the product owner for the market-leading model-based testing (MBT) tool, we used various techniques and graph theory to optimize the best coverage possible. It was only when dealing with companies like Apple & PayPal when we realised that modelling the data of the flows was as important, if not more important that all paths through the system.
Let us take PayPal as a simple example. My PayPal balance is £100 and I’m in Dubai and I want to pay for my Uber which is 450 Dirham which is fine based on the current financial exchange (FX) rate of 0.22 but it is the end of the month and suddenly Brexit happens and the FX rate suddenly changes at the end of the day and I’m left with a negative balance (which is not possible on my account). This is known as an edge case that may have not happened before in production or have been negatively tested. So, who is to blame? The customer, they had enough money at the time when the transaction occurred but after the FX spike, they didn’t? PayPal, who should be able to make real-time payments and not overnight batch things up? Uber, for sending a debt collection letter as they were not able to collect the fee to pay the third party driver?
You may be asking what has this got to do with Robotic Process Automation (RPA)? The short answer is everything. Replacing a human with a machine may catch 85% of the Business Process Automation (BPA) flows, but who is left to pick up the other 15% which fails? Augmenting Intelligence with skills SMEs and providing RPA as a Service (RPAaaS) seems like the only logical way of successfully navigating the challenges of Business Process Automation (BPA) to establish Intelligent Process Automation (IPA).
Posted By Jonathan Wright,
Thursday, September 12, 2019
Updated: Friday, September 6, 2019
Should I be excited? I started my career back three decades ago with XRunner > WinRunner > QTP and now Unified Functional Tester (One). Does that automatically qualify as a certified RPA engineer?
Additionally, now that I’m cognizant of how business processes work and the associated mapping to enterprise architecture through to orchestration, does that mean I’m also an RPA architect?
Naively, I would love to say yes, but unfortunately based on my experience of implementing Enterprise RPA solutions for various global organisations, it is not that straightforward.
Last week, I attended the Micro Focus RPA workshop in South Africa, which initially let us address the elephant in the room. Why are Micro Focus entering so late into such a mature and established RPA market that has been around for decades? I guess the simplified answer is most RPA platforms were born in the IT Operations space (ITOM) and primarily focused on IT process automation. (Think when you first join a new company and all that configuration that happens to get you set up on all the various backend IT systems?)
What makes Micro Focus RPA different from the rest? First off, IT Operations Orchestration (OO) is extremely established within the IT Operations (ITOM) market and it already supports enterprise-grade IT process automation capabilities.
Moving swiftly onto the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) where the test automation tools have been around us since the early 1970s. My good friend Dorthey Graham was one of the first to write test automation for Bell Labs (check out the experiences in test automation book).
Micro Focus has had a market share of Test Automation tool Unified Functional Testing (UFT) which has always had Enterprise-grade support for SAP, Oracle (Java) or bespoke application, instead of Selenium W3C standard, which only supports elementary Web Browser automation.
So why is this important? By combining best in class Application Delivery Management (ADM) platform with the best in class IT Operations Management (ITOM) platform, you have Enterprise RPA platform. The other market-leading RPA solutions just don’t have the IT Operations Orchestration capabilities (except for IBM, but they have recently handed over tool development to HCL so are unlikely to penetrate the market).
This protects your organisation's current investment in both ADM and ITOM toolchains. Combined with 8,500 prebuilt enterprise workflows and identify management and security (data encryption), that can be easily extended to support third-party platforms, mainframe, bash shell (such as power shell) or REST APIs (by importing a Swagger spec).
By truly bridging the GAP between Development (Dev) and Operations (Ops) the possibilities are endless, but this capability alone does not make an Enterprise RPA platform.
The capability to enable Business Process Automation (BPA) combined with Runbook Automation (RBA) allows for end to end business processes to be encapsulated no matter how complete the IT ecosystems. However, this requires Subject Matter Experts (SME) who understand the individual systems that make up the end to end a critical business process that you are trying to target for RPA.
The market differential for the Micro Focus RPA solution is the 80/20 rule around the amount of effect required to develop vs. maintenance effort. The fact that it does not require specialist RPA resources, due to proprietary coding skills required by the market leaders, the Micro Focus RPA solution can leverage existing resource pools i.e. SME, ITOps & UFT.
Everyone who I spoke to at the Micro Focus RPA event was extremely excited around RPA opportunities and how the Micro Focus RPA could be onto a winning Enterprise RPA solution.
Posted By Jonathon Wright,
Thursday, September 12, 2019
Updated: Friday, September 6, 2019
In our personal lives do we advocate our social responsibility to encourage and become smarter to reduce our individual contribution to global warming? When it comes to waste, we at least try to adopt lean practices to avoid duplication (lean thinking) and our recycling management (like all our waste packaging from Amazon). So why in IT do we find ourselves continuously replacing old systems heritage with shiny new systems? Not look at retrofitting our classic systems with a shiny new UI or support for the latest greatest technologies (mega/multi-cloud, containerisation or predictive analytics).
My previous blogs have mentioned that the messaging from Micro Focus is to protect your investment in IT systems and business smarts. Use the example of your our car. If you are lucky enough to own a classic car, it may not be the fastest, most reliable or have the latest technology, it may be an endangered species and you may struggle to get parts any more, but you have formed a bond with the product (whatever car you may or may not own).
For a lucky few, you may swap your car every couple of years and never have to worry about the potential MOT test failures (I.e. maintenance window & downtime). This seems to be the approach for enterprise business products as quoted by that 1/3 customers will typically swap out enterprise software every three years. But how can this be cost efficient over the total cost of ownership?
You may be asking what does this have to do with SMAX? Unfortunately, due to my limited knowledge around ITOM, I’ll have go back in time circa 1990 to my final year dissertation on “Automation IT Based Helpdesk” which shared similarities with some of the capabilities of SMAX.
The idea back then was the ability to develop dynamic personas which allowed automated service desk tickets to provide different responses based on the end user’s knowledge level based combined something similar to hot topics analytics:
Example A - Limited IT knowledge - Local Printer not working - turn it off and back on again.
Example B - Geeky IT knowledge - check bios for ECP / EPP settings for conflict of possible IRQ issue
However, it shows how far technology has come with the flagship SMAX platform. In the May release, they introduced MAX, the intent learning virtual agent.
Combined with an industry leading approach to smart asset management through the CMDB discover along with ticket auto-categorisation capability.
With all this next-generation technology and analytics, SMAX is embracing the lean engineering mantra. Additionally, with the introduction of MAX, the bot and the upcoming SMAX SaaS offering Micro Focus will continue to be a clear leader in the Service Management segment.
Posted By Jonathon Wright,
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Updated: Thursday, June 6, 2019
By Jonathon Wright
Vivit Board President
“My fellow Vivit members: ask not what your community can do for you – ask what you can do for your community!” Compared to the historic words borrowed from JFK, my inaugural address may or may not inspire you to see the importance of taking action and becoming more involved. I hope that I can help you re-ignite the spark that leads you to join this community of 40,000 users in over 120 countries.
When I began my own career back in the 90s with X-Runner from Mercury Interactive, the community around me played a massive part in my own personal development. Connecting with like-minded users on a similar journey provided me with the support and guidance needed to succeed at ‘Automation Awesomeness’. Founded back in 1993, Vivit continues to boldly embrace the next chapter of the independent Micro Focus community with a rich heritage of world-leading products. (and yet, did you know that apparently “Three quarters of all daily business transactions are still processed in COBOL”?).
One thing does hold true in our industry more than most others, rapid change is inevitable. Whatever the future may hold, the Vivit community will be here to provide users with a voice to help expedite change. Together we are stronger! The community has always been at the centre of everything Vivit does, with over 80 active local user groups (LUGs) meeting face-to-face creating opportunities to not only network but to share our individual experiences and knowledge. However, I appreciate that the time involved traveling to meetings may be difficult for many of you. Therefore, this year it is my privilege to introduce Vivit Virtual Days. Our plan is to provide two-day online conferences - totally free, featuring the very best from the Micro Focus R&D and product teams combined with real users and interactive Q&A hosted by the one and only Joe Colantonio.
The newly elected Vivit Board of Directors have big plans for the community - so stay tuned and together we can make the Vivit Worldwide even greater!
Posted By Richard Bishop,
Thursday, June 6, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, June 5, 2019
By Richard Bishop
2018 Board President
As many of you know, Vivit holds annual elections for board members each April. Shortly after new board members are announced, the board meets either face to face or remotely, to decide upon the roles that each board member will fulfil for the coming year. I’ve been a member of the Vivit board since 2011 and have been privileged to hold the post of Vivit President for the last four years. These years have been particularly interesting for Vivit as it transitioned from being the HPE Software user group to the Micro Focus user group.
Before the elections started this year, I discussed my desire to step down from the role of President with other board members. I was particularly keen to ensure that any incoming President had my support during a transition period to reduce any disruption in the day-to-day running of Vivit. I’m delighted to report that fellow board member, Jonathon Wright, has been appointed as the new Vivit Board President and will lead the software user community moving forward. Jonathon and I were already working closely and I’m looking forward to working with him, other Vivit leaders and Micro Focus to bring new ideas to our user community.
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.