Aras Innovator is an enterprise application used by companies with global manufacturing needs – including Airbus, Denso, Honda, and Microsoft.
Bill Turner, vice president of Quality and Support at the Aras Corporation, explains the company’s product:
“If you create things and manage the designs, Aras is the software you’ll use to track the lifecycle of the product from design to the point that it’s on the shop floor. It’s used by everyone from engineers to shop floor people who need to access information and interact with each other. The software is free, so customers can download it, try it, do whatever they want. When they pay us, it’s about the subscription, getting access to experts, the ability to work with us.”
A tool that works at scale
Aras was already a satisfied customer of TestComplete from SmartBear. When Aras decided to conduct large volumes of API performance and scalability testing, it needed a flexible and easy-to-use tool that would fit into its existing workflow.
“With enterprise offerings, you’re not talking about one person,” Bill says. “You’re talking about a massive company. With scalability, if 10,000 people are using my system, and all of them hit the same form at the same time, will everybody get the same performance? Or will the system slow down? When I go to scale, I need to meet the needs of all my end users.”
That means infrastructure. When you increase the number of simultaneous executions of a test and increase the load, you can run into infrastructure instabilities. “It’s not that the software is failing, it’s not even that the test is failing, but you need to build an infrastructure.”
Why Aras Corporation chose ReadyAPI
Bill’s team looked at a wide range of products, and came back with a shortlist of possibilities. ReadyAPI not only met, but exceeded, the four main criteria Bill uses for evaluating new software.
“Company stability. You want to make sure you’re not picking something that will be gone in a year. SmartBear has great press and has grown with us and worked well,” he says.
“Then you get into cost. We use open source software for some projects, but there’s a cost of using it long term. The upfront cost doesn’t give you the whole answer. Also, we always look at the technology stack. Why buy a C# application if your team knows Java?” Bill asks.
“Finally, there’s ease of use,” he says. “You have to train people on new technology. We had a great experience with learning TestComplete, so we knew there was going to be a good experience with ReadyAPI.”
SmartBear allowed Aras Corporation to evaluate ReadyAPI on its own terms. “We had a great evaluation,” Bill says. “SmartBear wasn’t putting pressure on us. There was an engagement to let us go through our discovery. The ability to talk to the pre-sales team, to get the SmartBear support team involved when we were trying to figure stuff out, meant we had a great collaboration.”
“My team advocated for a technology and a company we weren’t going to have problems with year after year,” he continues. “They came back to me and said, We would like to have this technology, because it’s going to give us the ability to reach our goals faster than if we didn’t have it. The SmartBear team was a large part of the reason why I agreed to go with ReadyAPI.”
Focus on the customer, not the stress
The merging of quality and support helped Aras build its ReadyAPI implementation. Mike Ghizzoni started out as a principal engineer in support and then moved to the quality department because of his extensive knowledge in performance profiling and working with customers to reach their goals. Mike’s expert ability to take customer use cases and ideas, and make sure the product helps the customer accomplish what they’re trying to do, ties customer satisfaction and quality product together.
“Having guys like me and Mike,” says Bill, “who have lived in two worlds, you end up with people who sit with the customers and look at their problems and solve their problems. And we can distill that down into common use cases, so we can identify the core places and get to the things that are common to everybody. That process of defining the most important scalability is how we build our roadmap. It all comes down to understanding your customer. For us, it’s focusing on the customer, not the stress.”
When it came to a specific project, ReadyAPI drove success. “We spent the first three months focused on education,” Bill explains. “We had to learn the technology and invest in an infrastructure. You can’t just throw this out there and start running on your laptop. This is something you’re making an investment in.”
SmartBear not only provided ReadyAPI, but assistance in learning how to use it. “We had to take teams that were investing in building the server farms and building the virtual machines,” Bill says.
“And the guys learning the software took some training from SmartBear, which helped us a lot. When we hit stumbling blocks, we had a great engagement with the support team. Making that decision to have people we can reach out to engage with cut my costs. If I had had to do this without the SmartBear team, there would be a secondary cost. Without the SmartBear team to fall back on, I’d have had to pull in senior engineers to tell me where we’re going wrong. Having these tools and this support is good collaboration and probably saved me three months of debugging.”
“I can automate inside ReadyAPI, which allowed me to optimize and save time.”
ReadyAPI itself made Bill’s work easier. “Being able to track what’s degrading, map that to what’s happening on the CPU and the RAM, and see that on the SQL server side, that’s where we get the real benefit,” he says. “And that’s what we need from a tool. We’re going to run a test, and we not only need to know what’s slower, but we need details about it. ReadyAPI has reporting capability built into it. I don’t have to build it from scratch.”
“ If it weren’t for the ReadyAPI support team, my project would have been a year behind. With their support, I was able to finish about three months ahead of schedule.”
“If you make a thousand small decisions to decrease quality, the customer only sees a thousand problems, and you can fix one of them. But at the end of the day, they don’t care that you saved one millisecond or two milliseconds here – they just care about having a good experience. Scalability performance, software like ours, you need that end user to be your champion, to say there’s a value in using this.”
Ultimately, the success of ReadyAPI can be seen in how much time and effort it saves for Aras. “If it was not for ReadyAPI, I would have had to add over four people to the team,” Bill says. “With ReadyAPI, I was able to conduct my project in 12 months using just two people.”