Over the past five years, the way users consume software has changed dramatically. We’ve gone from a world of traditional software, to one in which we’re surrounded by apps – at work, at home, at play and on the road. Apps run everywhere, all the time and on countless device form factors – from smart phones to smart watches to smart cars to smart TVs and beyond. As this new reality evolves, a company’s fortunes are increasingly tied to their apps. At the same time, switching costs are vanishing in most industries, and thanks to social and app stores, users now determine which apps win and which apps fail. Thus, the only way for brands to defend and differentiate is to delight users with every touch point across their brand, including (and especially) their digital experiences. Every single app, every new version.
And just as the apps economy has evolved and matured, so too has our company view of (and capabilities around) app quality.
- In late 2011, we expanded our in-the-wild testing offering to include usability, security, localization and load testing.
- Last year, we acquired a mobile SDK, Apphance, which enables developers to gather outside signals such as detailed bug and crash reporting, as well as in-app user feedback.
- In Q1, we launched Applause Analytics, a home-grown product from the uTest Labs team. Applause Analytics is the best and only way for companies to listen to what users are saying about each new version of their iOS, Android and Windows Phone apps – as well as their competitors’ apps.
In short, we began to help our customers create a more comprehensive view of app quality that is aligned with the increased user demands of the apps economy. App quality is no longer just the QA team’s problem. It’s an engineering problem, a product problem, a marketing problem and a sales problem. In truth, it’s a CEO problem.
A Big Decision
With this expanded audience and offering, the name “uTest” – which has served us so well for 5+ years – has become less accurate when describing our overall approach to app quality. So, in order to better represent this expanded vision and offering, we will be changing our company’s name to Applause. While nothing is changing now, work is already underway and the transition will be complete within the first few months of 2014.
The Applause brand will cover our entire set of integrated app quality offerings that span from product to engineering to QA to launch…and back again:
- In-the-wild testing to ensure apps work as well in the hands of users as they do in the lab
- A robust set of SDKs to capture actionable information in pre-production and production
- Production analytics to enable companies to listen to what users want next
Applause’s mission will be to teach and enable companies to launch apps that win – win new users, earn greater loyalty and beat the competition. This is more than a simple name change; it’s an expanded vision and offering around 360⁰ app quality. That said, nothing is changing for current customers. When the transition is made in the first few months of 2014 our in-the-wild testing services will remain intact and companies will be able to purchase only those parts of our offering that fit their needs.
What Becomes of “uTest”
Fear not, uTest fans. The scrappy, friendly brand which champions testers and testing will live on. While our company name is changing, the uTest brand and name will still live on where it has the greatest equity and potential – with our community of professional testers.
Moving forward, uTest won’t JUST be a community for paid projects with our company (though that will still exist). We intend to expand uTest to include offerings for all facets of a tester’s professional life – a new generation of training and education; online and offline networking opportunities; career advancement resources and much more. We will foster a community that exists for the purpose of celebrating testers and testing…an open source-esque community that will promote the many disciplines that contribute to testing and QA. We currently have more than 100,000 professional testers in the uTest Community…we want to triple that…and then triple it again. The launch of this expanded and refocused uTest will also take place in the first half of 2014.
Whether you’re a tester, a customer, a partner or just a follower of the apps economy, I’m sure this is a lot to digest. We know you probably have a lot of questions for us, and you can find answers to some of those questions here.
We have a lot of decisions still to make about execution, and a mountain of work to do in order to make this vision a reality. But we’re pumped to grow both of these brands and provide companies and testers with the resources they need to succeed in today’s – and tomorrow’s – apps economy.
Stay tuned for periodic updates in the coming months, and let us know your thoughts. We’ve accomplished a lot over our first five years, but when it comes to helping companies launch great apps, we’re just getting started.