Mercury Interactive: Aiming at Bigger Picture

By Mel Duvall  |  Posted 2002-11-01 Print this article Print

Dossier: Pigeonholed as a provider of testing and measurement software, Mercury holds an estimated 50% of its market.

For years Mercury Interactive has been pigeonholed as a provider of testing and measurement software, winning an estimated 50% of the market. PDF Download

Now, the company wants to expand beyond that category and move to offer tools to help companies improve the overall operation of their technology infrastructure. On Oct. 3, Mercury launched its Business Technology Optimization (BTO) initiative built around a suite of products it calls Optane. It draws upon the management philosophy and techniques of W. Edwards Deming. His teachings about how to improve quality in manufacturing were the foundation of Japan's industrial rehabilitation after World War II, and can best be summed up by the directive, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it."

Mercury customers appreciate the grander goal of fine-tuning technology infrastructure, but that's not why many buy Mercury products. For now, many customers turn to Mercury to solve a specific problem—be it in testing, measurement, or monitoring servers.

"They may be ahead of some of their customers, but they're headed in the right direction," says Bill Banze, senior manager of enterprise performance management for Infinis, a Columbus, Ohio-based consulting firm. He has installed Mercury products for clients such as Nationwide Insurance.

Avoiding surprises is the goal at National City, a regional bank headquartered in Cleveland. It's been using Mercury's LoadRunner product for about six years to stress-test its online banking and other applications. "We want to find the bottlenecks before our customers do," says Christopher Ulicky, manager of testing services.

Even as it broadens its customer base, Mercury must continue to satisfy customers with very specific needs like Vital Images, a company that provides systems that let radiologists see 3-D views of a patient's anatomy.

"Business optimization isn't my need," says Mike Swanson, director of software verification and testing. "My need is testing my applications, plain and simple."

He credits Mercury's testing application with reducing the number of people needed to test an application from five down to one.

Contributing Editor
Mel Duvall is a veteran business and technology journalist, having written for a variety of daily newspapers and magazines for 17 years. Most recently he was the Business Commerce Editor for Interactive Week, and previously served as a senior business writer for The Financial Post.


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