IT Superheroes: A Q&A with Theresa Lanowitz

by | September 14, 2017


We recently had the opportunity to chat with Theresa Lanowitz, founder of leading analyst firm, Voke Media. As a former Gartner Analyst and an asset to the Jini project at Sun (IoT before it was IoT), Theresa has extensive knowledge in software automation, lifecycles, and emerging trends with companies such as Apple, IBM, and HP.
Theresa will be our keynote speaker at Apex 2017 – Apica’s Performance Excellence Summit – which will be held in New York City on October 12th. If you’re an Apica customer and you want to learn more about the event, contact [email protected]


Here’s what Theresa had to say:

  1. Give us a brief history of your career?

I started my career as a developer with McDonnell Douglas, the aerospace company, which is now part of Boeing. I quickly realized that the product side of software was of great interest to me, so I went to work for a variety of software companies including Borland, Taligent – the Apple, IBM, HP consortium, and Sun. At Sun I worked on the Jini project which was IoT before the term IoT was coined. I then joined Gartner as an analyst covering automated software quality. In 2006 I founded Voke, an industry analyst firm, to focus on emerging trends in the software lifecycle. Over the years at Voke, we have been relentless advocates for software quality.

  1. What was the impetus behind Voke’s formation?

We saw the need in the market for a different type of analyst firm. Our mission is to provoke thought. We empower our clients with the data, context, and considerations they need to move forward confidently and create an impact. In short, we want everyone from software vendors to GSIs to enterprise IT organizations to be wildly successful.

  1. Who is your favorite IT superhero, and why?

Well, my favorite superhero, in general, is Batman. I have loved Batman since I was a kid. And, what is not to like about Batman? Aside from the coolest car ever, he has a really great team that works with him all the way from Commissioner Gordon to Alfred, his trusted confidant.

Part of my keynote presentation at Apex will focus on how every person working on delivering an exceptional customer experience through software is an IT superhero. I’ll identify a few different IT superhero personas and what their superpowers are. I don’t want to give away too much of my presentation, but everyone in the audience will be able to identify with at least one of the IT superheroes.

  1. Can you give us an idea of where you see the future of testing and monitoring heading?

Software testing and understanding what the application is doing in production is more important now than ever – the business is demanding that software work, perform, and be secure. Without software quality built into every type of application, customers will take their business elsewhere. It is critical for software quality to be architected into the fabric of every application, and for testing to be done early, frequently, and often. Monitoring is essential to understand how that software asset is contributing to the business.

As the pendulum swings from the “just ship it” mentality back to an emphasis on quality, we will see software engineering teams discover how important testing and monitoring is to the success of the application and the business.

In my keynote, I will share some data from our recent research on what organizations value in a software release and where we are in terms of automation.

  1. What will the world of IoT look like by 2020? Or 2030?

IoT is really not that new, but expectations about what it can do are finally becoming mainstream. I worked on the Jini project at Sun Microsystems in 1998 – 1999. We identified many of the popular use cases that we hear about today, and in some cases had working demos. For example, back in 1998, we saw the benefit of a connected home with refrigerators dispensing shopping lists and dishwashers notifying repair teams of the need for near-term maintenance. Now, this idea is fairly synonymous with what IoT does. But realize, there is an entire supply chain, starting with the appliance manufacturers to make this dream of “simple” connectivity work.

IoT has been accelerating nicely for the past several years. As prices drop on essentials such as sensors, and network connectivity becomes more pervasive, faster, and reliable, IoT is a very real and useful way to drive efficiencies.

For IoT to truly become part of our daily lives, we have to focus on non-functional requirements. This is where performance comes in to play. The “things” that makeup IoT have to be fast enough and secure enough so that people want to use them. The real beauty of IoT is that the technology will not interfere with interactions – IoT is there to make the experience more robust. I am a true optimist about what IoT can deliver.

Markets such as smart cities, smart homes, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, medicine, retail, financial, research, and so on will all benefit from IoT to deliver better outcomes.

  1. What do you want attendees to take away from your session at Apex?

I want them to unleash the IT superhero within and prepare themselves and their organizations for the onslaught of demands that will be placed on them to deal with new business problems, new technologies, and new expectations about where they fit in the software lifecycle. As IT superheroes they are an integral part of protecting the brand and the business.

Thanks again to Theresa for her time and insights.