The following is an English translation of an article written by Hidenobu Mori, Tomoko Yoshimi. It was featured in the tech-focused publication, Techblitz.
Click here for the original, Japanese version.
Software company engineering teams are regularly tasked to quickly develop and release features that deliver an optimal user experience. But it’s been difficult for teams to test software features prior to a full release. Split Software provides a feature management and experimentation platform ideal for DevOps. With Split, developers can accelerate software development and maximize impact with robust experimentation capabilities. Post-pandemic, the need for risk-reduction in development has increased, and we asked Brian Bell, CEO of Split, about its platform.
Deliver Unique Digital Experiences to Different User Groups
Software developers are always asking: “What impact would we have if we delivered a feature to a specific user group?” “Would you get a different response if you delivered it to a particular region or age group?” “How do you ensure we are delivering the best user experience?” Split’s platform addresses these developer concerns.
Bell said, “Through the use of ‘feature flags’ we enable developers to turn different features on and off for discrete sets of users. Through personalizing the application, we can customize the digital experience for anyone. So, for example, let’s take the experience within the same mobile application. The features you see may be different from the features seen by your wife or your friend in the same application. With feature flags, when you change a dropdown menu or change a user registration feature, you can measure the user impact of the change.”
By adding feature flags, features can be released separately from the deployment of the code. As those features are released, product teams can run A/B tests. This allows the development team to receive insight to help optimize for the best user experience
Companies such as Meta (Facebook), Amazon, and LinkedIn have developed their own experimentation tools for their own internal engineering teams. Split has developed a platform that can bring this capability to any product engineering team in any size company. One of the co-founders of Split originally created a similar platform to help development teams at LinkedIn release features with more speed and measure their impact. The other Split co-founders met at a company called RelateIQ (acquired by Salesforce) where they also developed a similar solution. In 2016, the co-founders started Split with the vision of delivering a similar platform to the market that any engineering team could leverage for feature management and experimentation.
Robust Feature Testing for Product Engineering Teams
Unlike other A/B testing tools, Split’s offering is focused on enabling experimentation for features throughout the product development lifecycle.
“What makes us unique is that we offer the most robust feature data platform than any other solution. It captures and attributes performance and user experience data back to the feature flag. This allows you to compare and measure what happened when you rolled out a feature. That’s what makes us different,” Bell said. “You can compare and measure what happened. It’s a platform that enables powerful experimentation.”
Typical Split users are product and engineering teams from midsize to large companies. This includes companies like Twilio, Salesforce, Qantas, LendingTree, Cisco, Roche, New Relic, Electronic Arts, TIAA, Experian, BlueCross, and GoDaddy.
Split is a SaaS solution where usage fees change depending on the number of developers, the number of end-users, and the grade of the function to be used. Currently, Split has 600 customers who are using Split to process 2 trillion “feature flags” every month. Split’s year-over-year growth has doubled in the past year.
Split’s Mission Is to Help Engineering Teams Maximize the Impact of Software
In August 2021, Split received $50 million from Owl Rock Capital and others during a Series D funding round. These funds will be used for development and marketing.
Demand for Split is increasing in fields like major banks, media, e-commerce, and gaming, so growth is expected to increase. In Asia, Singapore’s home delivery service “GoGovan” is one of Split’s users. As “GoGovan” wants to expand into Japan, it envisions partnering with a proven solution for large enterprises or creating a joint venture.
As feature flagging becomes more ubiquitous, the number of feature flags used in software development has increased significantly. Often, developers may not know where the feature flags are or what state they are in. In response to this proliferation of feature flags, Split has recently released a new “rollout board” capability in its product. Rollout boards help development teams understand the context of feature flags, such as “the state of each feature ” and “which feature is turned on for which user. In the future, the plan is to further integrate Split within the workflow of app development platforms such as Azure DevOps, a development support tool provided by Microsoft.
Bell, when asked about his long-term vision:
“Our vision is to revolutionize the way product development teams build software and release features to the market. The new unit of measurement and control in software today is the feature itself, not the application. With feature management and experimentation, teams can work faster. But there’s more to this than speed. Our mission is to enable development teams to release features with less risk and greater impact. We see a huge opportunity for Split to bring our platform to development teams everywhere. We’re on our way.”