Q&A with Aled Miles, CEO, Sauce Labs

  • Sauce Labs is a cloud-hosted, web and mobile application automated testing platform company based in San Francisco, California.
  • In October 2019, Sauce Labs appointed Aled Miles as new CEO of the company, in replacement of Charles Ramsey.
  • Aled Miles is a British-American internet security expert. He tells us more about Sauce Labs.


What does Sauce Labs do?

Sauce Labs gives organisations the ability to deliver digital confidence. Today’s reality is that every business either is or needs to become a digital business. We have been heading steadily in that direction for many years. Today’s pandemic and subsequent economic issues have only accelerated the need for confident, continuous, and dynamic digital transformations. Just look at the way businesses are reinventing themselves. Retailers and grocers are focused less on bringing customers into their stores and more on driving them to their apps and online environments. Healthcare providers are more focused than ever on delivering care via digital platforms. Even banks are selling customers based solely on the quality of their application experience. In fact, right by our corporate headquarters in San Francisco, there’s a huge Wells Fargo billboard that’s nothing more than a picture of their app. The app is now the value proposition. It’s the storefront of the 21st century.

To succeed as a business in this kind of landscape, you have to be steadfast in the knowledge you are creating and delivering the best possible experience for your customers whenever they engage with your brand on a digital platform. You have to have complete confidence that your applications will work flawlessly every single time they’re used – and that confidence must be shared by your customers. When those two things come together, that’s what we call digital confidence, and that’s what we help customers achieve. Our continuous testing platform lets them know beyond any shadow of a doubt that their web and mobile applications look, function, and perform exactly as they should on every browser, OS, and device, every single time.

What is your main principle as a company?

Our philosophy is that each and every company and consumer deserves digital confidence. It shouldn’t be the sole domain of big tech companies or tech-savvy consumers. Companies shouldn’t be cut out of the digital economy simply because they lack the confidence needed to continue transforming their businesses. And likewise, consumers shouldn’t ever be made to feel uncertain about accessing products or services via digital platforms because they fear the experience is going to be too challenging, too cumbersome, or just altogether too unpleasant. Everyone should have the confidence they need not just to participate in the digital economy, but to thrive it in. We’re committed to making that happen.


How has the evolution of the digital era brought about a need for continuous testing?

We’ve established how important it is for organisations to achieve digital confidence and deliver that flawless digital experience that consumers want and expect. But to do that, you can’t just continue to go about developing and testing software the way you always have. The legacy approach to testing, in which testing is conducted solely by a QA team and done so at the very end of the development process, is simply not viable in the digital era. Too much time has lapsed, and the idea of re-engineering a digital offering that late in the game can have adverse effects across the development lifecycle. It provides neither the speed nor the efficiency you need to confidently deliver digital applications to your customers.

In the digital era, you can’t hold up a release by days or weeks because your QA team found a bug at the last minute. Your customers won’t wait around for you. And you can’t just release software that you know to have issues. Your customers won’t tolerate that either. Digitally confident organisations never have to sacrifice speed in the name of quality, and they never have to sacrifice quality in the name of speed. The only way to get both at the same time is to continuously test your applications throughout the entire development process. More and more enterprises are realising this and are making the investments necessary to modernise their development strategy.

What is the benefit for companies using Sauce Labs?

Beyond the intrinsic brand value that comes with being a digitally confident organisation, companies that have invested in continuous testing with Sauce Labs consistently cite numerous benefits impacting all aspects of the company, including protecting their brands from the risks of a poor user experience and enabling their engineering teams to deliver better products to market, faster.

But above all else, companies that use Sauce Labs grow their revenue base. The most significant benefit our customers report achieving is an improved customer experience, and there’s now volumes of industry research documenting the correlation between delivering an improved customer experience and growing bottom-line revenue. Great experiences create happy customers, and I don’t care what business you’re in, happy customers spend more and spread the word.

We also help customers grow revenue by giving them the confidence to release their digital offerings to market on a wider range of platforms and devices. As I said earlier, the app is the new storefront, and the more platforms and devices you can support, the more stores your customers have in which to shop.

Do you have any recent news?

Last month, at SauceCon Online, our annual user conference which we took virtual for 2020, we announced the launch of an industry-first analytics solution we call Failure Analysis. Failure Analysis applies sophisticated machine learning to customers’ pass/fail data in order to surface the most common reasons a given set of tests fail. By finding and aggregating the most common failure patterns, developers can remedy the majority of test failures with just a few fixes, eliminating much of the costly and time-consuming manual follow up traditionally required to determine the source of failed tests.

To understand why this is so important, you have to understand just how many organisations today still struggle with test quality. The Sauce Labs Continuous Testing Benchmark Report for 2020, which draws on real customer data from the more than 3 million tests run each day on our cloud platform, showed that only 24 percent of organisations pass at least 90 percent of their desktop tests, while only 25 percent of organisations pass at least 90 percent of their mobile tests. It’s hard to understate how important it is for organisations to get these numbers trending in the right direction. Poor test quality can undermine even the most well-intentioned efforts to implement continuous testing and grow digital confidence. So, as an industry, we have to get those numbers up, and Failure Analysis is a critical first step.

What’s next for Sauce Labs?

We want to continue setting the future for insights-driven testing. A leading industry analyst delivered a keynote at SauceCon Online in which he talked about how the future of testing is intelligent. We whole-heartedly agree with that. The future of testing will absolutely be driven by analytic insight and intelligence, and with more than 3 billion tests and counting run on our platform, no one is better positioned to deliver those insights than Sauce Labs. We’ve set forth an aggressive strategic vision for our customers. By applying modern AI and machine-learning capabilities to our reservoir of test data, we can augment testers and developers with a level of insight no other vendor can. Failure Analysis is a great example of that, and we’re just getting started. It’s an exciting time for the company and our customers.