20 YEARS OF PERFORMANCE ENGINEERING – PERSONAL INTERVIEW WITH MAKRAM HANIN
Today, I had a very personal talk with Makram Hanin, Business Development & Management Coach at ALTERSIS Performance, on the adventures journey of our company that he founded in 2002 in Basel, Switzerland.
This year, the company is celebrating 20 years of Performance Engineering. What does this anniversary mean to you?
Makram: This anniversary gives us the oppor-tunity to celebrate and look back on what we have accomplished over the last 20 years. This is a great chance for us to (re-)connect with our employees, partners, clients and other (for-mer) key actors within the company’s journey.
20 years ago, would you have thought that the company would be where it is today?
Makram: I never defined where the company should be 20 years ahead, but the “how” kept me busy. To be steady and a good example of integration of all ethnicities and cultures was more important to me. I’m not a typical entrepreneur; I always considered a company as group of people having a common vision and shared values, and not just as a machine to reach financial KPI’s only.
Makram Hanin, Business Development & Management
Coach at ALTERSIS Performance
So, was this the reason why you founded your own company?
Makram: Yes and no. I was ready for a change, unfortunately, the big conventional company structures were not compliant with my vision and dream to “change” the world. There, it is more about financial KPI’s such as turnover, and profit. It was very hard to fulfil my vision or to anchor my ethical and social values within the solidified entrepreneurial struc-tures. Soon, I realized that if I wanted to ac-complish my ”contribution to a better world”, I had to build up my own structures.
Did you have any doubts before founding?
Makram: Yes, many: Am I the right person? Do I have the right product? Can I do this? I had never founded a company before, so sure, there were many doubts. Despite them, I did it anyway, because the time was right – I asked myself: if not now, when? So, sometimes you just have to dare to create something bigger.
Was the market ready for you, your vision and your product and services?
Makram: Well, back then, there was no name for this kind of market “Performance Engineer-ing”, and we had created a new product at the same time – so, no. We had to actively create the awareness for the need and build a com-mon understanding towards the advantages of our services. Which we eventually did very successfully for the last 20 years.
So, in a nutshell: What was your idea when you created the company in 2002 as adhoc PES?
Makram: My vision was a combination between engineering and performance of software ap-plications. I realized that companies were al-ways one step behind. The design of software application, for example, was done without or less consideration of performance require-ments. It is neither sufficient nor efficient to stress-test the system and the infrastructure only when it is ready; it must be designed for high performance and tested continuously during the development phase. We talk about embedding performance engineering into the process – as part of the whole system.
Is this how the term “Performance Engineer-ing with a life-cycle approach” came about?
Makram: Yes, because the lifecycle approach means embedding Performance Engineering into a continuous loop of specifying, design-ing, testing, and monitoring application per-formance requirements to ensure the compli-ance with usage patterns and expectations.
How did the technology and the market change over the years?
Makram: In 2002, we faced the first generation of “web applications”, portals, e-commerce sites based on JAVA and partially .NET. These systems have evolved over the last 20 years: from on-premise infrastructure to cloud and from JEE and SOA to microservices – everything became virtualized resp. containerized. Above all, the speed of new releases increased mas-sively following the DevOps movement. Today, we often have a new release every week; back then we had maybe one big release a year.
It was in 2010, when Application Performance Management (APM) was becoming more and more of high interest. Analysts reports, such as Gartner, helped to spread the awareness of APM services, which was a big accelerator for us – and luckily, we were very ready and well prepared for this growing market.
How would you describe the relationships you had with customers and partners over the years?
Makram: We couldn’t rely on brand awareness or a company legacy, so we sold ourselves through competence and passion for high per-formance delivery. Our key success factor was and still is that we put people at the center of our attention. We treat customers as partners, which has resulted in many long-standing business relationships and friendships. The same applies for our valuable partners.
Where is ALTERSIS Performance going to be in 20 years from now, in 2042?
Makram: Oh, I don’t think I can forecast this… Whether the name will be the same, I don’t know, but I believe that passion will stay within the people. The market will always need our services, and I hope that our employees realize that they are the heart of the company. And they, as the living organism of the company, will define what the company will be like in 20 years. That’s when I’ll be around 70 years old – let’s see what I’ll be up to by then. (Makram laughs)
Thank you very much for your time and for the enlightening insight, Makram! It was a pleas-ure for me.