Eran Yaniv came to Perfecto Mobile from Comverse America, where he was Vice President of Product Marketing. He also served as the General Manager of the Comverse Mobile Data Division and led a major turnaround in the performance of the division by bringing in accounts such as Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile. Prior to Comverse, Eran was the General Manager of the Valisys Quality Management business unit at Tecnomatix, where he also served as the Director of Research and Development at Tecnomatix Ltd. in Israel.
How did you get into the industry?
I’ve always had a passion for technology. I earned my Master’s degree in computer science in Israel before serving in the Israeli army Intelligence for six years. Then I joined Exalink, a maker of router-based Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) software, as COO and got acquired in 2000 by Comverse Technology. After the acquisition, I managed part of the sales organization at Comverse, selling heavily into the mobile operator space. Mobile was always of interest for me, but it was then that I developed a strong understanding of the market trends in the emerging mobile technology space.
Any emerging industry trends?
The digital landscape is rapidly evolving as new devices enter the market. Our homes are getting smarter, our devices more connected. Each day there’s a new headline about the IoT, which has undeniably taken off and will be an even bigger domain in the coming years. While smart thermostats, light bulbs, hairdryers and beyond are exciting and attention grabbing, the true value of this technology is in creating the “industry 4.0.” We’ll soon forget about our smart trash can, but the success of industrial internet smart cities, connected cars and intelligent medical devices will live on and prove to be worth the investment. The IoT trend further enhances the dominance of the cloud in providing truly scalable and dependable infrastructure for all applications, especially the mission critical ones.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
While new devices, technologies and updated operating systems bring huge opportunity for innovation, it also poses a unique set of challenges. In the last year alone, we’ve seen 200 major phone releases, 20 OS updates, and countless new technologies hit the market. The digital landscape is becoming more and more fragmented, and at a faster pace, which makes it difficult for developers to deliver quality experiences that meet user expectations. The industry has identified DevOps as a solution for overcoming these challenges, but implementing DevOps is no easy feat. That’s especially true for large organizations where massive organizational, culture and technological changes are required.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
I co-founded Perfecto in 2006 when I saw that mobile was about to explode–even though it was a year before the iPhone was introduced to the world. Two key observations led to this belief.
The first was during my time at Comverse. We created instant mobile applications for mobile operators in the U.S., developing the technology first in Israel before bringing them to the U.S. for deployment. We soon learned that in the U.S., the entire environment from firmware to devices was different. We had to go back to the drawing board and redevelop parts of the application. I realized that being able to remotely access devices in different geographies could make a huge difference for developers like the ones I was working with. This inspired a first cut at the “cloud” in the developer tools space.
The other story actually comes from our CTO and co-founder, Yoram Mizrachi. As a consultant in the field, he observed people holding devices and testing applications manually by pressing keys as fast as they could. He saw an opening for automation in this space that would help people test their devices more thoroughly and efficiently.
When you combine remote access to test environments with automation, you get the two pillars which constitute the essence of Perfecto today. Perfecto has since expanded far beyond mobile into all aspects of software application and web testing to enable true continuous testing in a DevOps environment. As the IoT continues to evolve and new technologies join the market, Perfecto will be there to help companies create quality digital experiences, regardless of the the device, software, or any other element of the environment.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
Enterprises are rapidly innovating the way they engage with users. They increasingly recognize that digital experiences are defining their brand. Development teams are taking a center stage role in delivering next generation digital engagement methods to grow the business. Perfecto is poised to evolve with the market to support their needs across web, mobile and IoT engagement scenarios. Earlier this year, we introduced a new capability to the platform designed specifically for developers and DevOps teams that accelerates the development process through faster debugging and troubleshooting. We will continue to watch how the market evolves with particular focus on IoT scenarios, DevOps adoption and introducing new platform capabilities to enhance test coverage, support security verification, load as well as additional insight into the DevOps process through analytics to enable quality releases at high velocity.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
When we moved the headquarters of the company from Israel to the U.S., we did it with meticulous care and intent. We knew we needed to recruit employees locally in order to make Boston feel like home–we couldn’t just transplant the team from Israel. On the other hand, we needed to bring the right people over that would serve as the best relayers of Perfecto’s knowledge and culture in the new office. We handpicked these employees to successfully make the move.
Another initiative I’ve maintained, now more than ever while Perfecto grows, is making a big company feel small. At large companies, I’ve seen people get caught up in office politics and spend more time impressing their superiors than innovating and evolving their own role on the team. I try to sustain the culture of a small company by keeping team structures flexible and informal, so people feel empowered to do their best work and not worry about management hierarchies as much as possible. Managing a 50-person team as if it was a 300 person team is hard, but the payoff is big.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
We were early to the application testing market in 2006, but then the 2008 financial crisis hit. On top of that, we were still figuring out which application segments could actually generate revenue for us. At first, we were looking at games and infotainment, but learned that while the need for quality exists in this market, it is not of the highest priority (at least at the time). It dawned on us that the applications we could make the most impact with were the ones provided by enterprise companies for consumers and their own employees. Once we realized that in 2010, we made a meaningful shift towards the enterprise.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
At Perfecto, our ultimate goal is to help developers spend less time testing so they can focus on what matters most: building innovative new features. Our customers have immediate, cloud-based access to the widest variety of mobile and web environments
How do you motivate others?
I genuinely care about my employees. Not only the ones that report directly to me, but all of them. And I do not hide this in any way. I conduct myself in a very informal manner, and make it a point to listen to my employees and learn from them. I am very open with the whole company. They will hear the full details when the going gets tough and when the trend is turning positive. I tell them about the challenges I face and how those challenges impact them. I like to think all of my employees know exactly what the state of the company is at any moment. I believe Perfecto employees appreciate this and have come to expect nothing less and this, aside from the success of the company, is a big motivating factor for them.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Take initiative and provide leadership. Listen to the market and to your people, but then make an executive decision and move forward. The people will follow if you are honest and constantly “sharpening the saw.” That’s how you know you’re on the right track.