We’ve Been Acquired By GB&SMITH

Interview With Peter Kosztolanyi, Kinesis-CI Co-Founder

4 years ago my colleagues and I created Kinesis-CI to solve the problem of automated testing for Tableau dashboards. This year Kinesis-CI has been acquired by GB&SMITH, vendor of 360Suite. This is going to open an exciting new chapter for both companies and we’re very happy to share our thoughts on this.

Why did you create Kinesis-CI?

My background is in software development and I had been working on large-scale BI projects creating a number of reports and dashboards, working with a range of tools and data sources.  We’d been used to testing code on a regular basis in an automated fashion and I was looking for testing solutions for my BI dashboards, to make sure these were reliable and showing the correct data at all times. It turned out that all testing was being done manually and there wasn’t an automated testing solution available. Along with my Co-Founder, we started researching the market and found that many companies were facing a similar problem – they were not able to automate dashboard testing. We had experience in software development, and so we decided to create a test framework that could be customized for special BI testing.

We already understood the specific problems developers and test engineers in the BI space were facing, most importantly the fact that data is changing constantly. We also knew the tools and tactics on the software development side that were used to automate testing, as well as concepts like version control and continuous integration, so our goal was to put these two together. Manual testing is tedious, time-consuming, and very inconvenient, and we wanted to fix this problem. This is how Kinesis-CI, our testing framework solution, was born. We decided to work with Tableau as they were the most significant vendor in the analytics space.

Why would you say BI testing is that important?

If something is working today we need to make sure it’s working tomorrow as well. If someone has misconfigured a dashboard or something isn’t working we need to know about it and fix it before it becomes a problem for the business. BI dashboards often present business-critical data and companies rely on them to make important decisions every day. Nowadays it’s simply a must to be able to check everything is working as expected today, tomorrow and the day after. Plus, if something goes wrong we need to be alerted and be able to monitor it. Regression testing is very important, but I also want to highlight other capabilities our framework has that are equally important in today’s BI world. For example, Functional Testing. This should be carried out whilst developing. In fact, dashboard elements and features should be developed along with test cases. You want to know if a new feature has spoiled something that was working before on your dashboard. We want to alert users as early as possible.

At the end of the day, all types of testing are important because businesses are putting more and more data in their dashboards. If dashboards are monitored on a continuous basis, decisions can be made based on trusted data. Computers are more reliable when it comes to testing than humans. Not only is BI testing key to user trust in data but also for the user experience — these will lead to higher user adoption and more value to the organization.

What did you see in GB&SMITH that made you think it was the right company to be acquired by?

My Co-Founder and I started Kinesis-CI about 4 years ago and we are based in London, UK. We successfully launched our solution to the market and gained a number of customers who were happy to have found a solution to their BI testing problems. However, we reached a point where, to be able to grow further we needed a bigger team in more geographies, most importantly in North America where we had an increasing number of clients. We were looking for people that were really passionate about BI, in particular testing, have a very good Sales and Support team plus keen to develop Kinesis-CI further. We then met Sébastien, CEO of GB&SMITH, and saw that his company and team ticked all the boxes. We found the people at GB&SMITH were not just very passionate and professional but friendly as well — for me to have all these were very important to help grow the solution further. GB&SMITH has the capabilities to take Kinesis-CI to the next level. Thanks to their open-mindedness, curiosity about testing in the BI world, and the ability to come up with new ideas, we are convinced, joining forces was a great decision.

Where would you like to see Kinesis in the future?

When we started Kinesis-CI, we decided to first develop a test framework and methodology for Tableau. However, we always wanted to take this further and create a standard testing framework for any kind of BI platform. The future of Kinesis-CI now lies within the hands of GB&SMITH but I’d love to see the solution used not only by a lot of Tableau professionals, but also be compatible with other BI platforms such as Power BI, QlikView, and SAP BusinessObjects — it would be great to see Kinesis-CI reach that stage in the next few years.

Building Kinesis-CI has been a great achievement for my Co-Founders and me, and it’s fulfilling to see its success with companies from all over the world. Now it’s time I hand over the reins to GB&SMITH who I know will continue to make Kinesis-CI a success. I look forward to following the next steps!