Grid Robotics LLC is a Dallas-based software company that specializes in cloud-based technology for testing, training and other applications. Capacity Calibration, or CapCal, is a load testing solution that runs in the Amazon, IBM and Rackspace clouds and is used to test the scalability and performance of web applications by generating high volume traffic from load agents in the cloud. CapCal Mobile Performance Testing uses a network of mobile devices to test the performance of mobile applications and web sites on mobile networks, and Cloud Lab is a patent-pending GUI for the cloud that supports a number of unique applications, including test lab management, virtual classrooms, cross-browser testing and more.
The founder of Grid Robotics LLC, Randy Hayes, was the inventor of the first automated testing tool for the PC called AutoTester and the original founder of the company of that name. Along with his sister Linda Hayes, they raised money in the beginning from family and friends and went on to create the dominant company in the test automation industry for almost a decade. After raising venture capital from Arkansas investors Smiley Company and Stephens Group in the early 90s, the company reached $16 million in revenue with over 600 customers, including Hewlett Packard, IBM, Tandem, Unisys and others.
After the investors replaced her as CEO in 1994, Linda Hayes resigned and went on to a career as a consultant in the burgeoning test automation industry, when was then becoming more and more dominated by Mercury Interactive. In 1998 she founded Worksoft, Inc., and was joined by Randy Hayes, their brother Ron, and another former AutoTester employee. Together they created Worksoft Certify, the first scriptless test automation tool that allows business analysts or subject matter experts to create automated tests without coding. Today Worksoft is a leader in test automation for the SAP industry with a long list of name brand clients like eBay, Coca Cola, Spirit Aero, the US Army and Costco among others. Worksoft is funded by Crescendo Ventures of Palo Alto and Austin Ventures of Austin, Texas among others.
In 2008 Randy Hayes left Worksoft to pursue the exciting possibilities made possible by the newly announced Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Having been very successful as a Worksoft consultant helping the sales force to close major deals by traveling to customer sites and conducting proofs of concept, Randy was very familiar with the challenges involved with installing, configuring and deploying software at customer sites so he and a friend created a product called Cloud Lab. Cloud Lab could be used to deploy entire client-server environments in minutes rather than hours or days, and could be managed remotely rather than at the customer site.
In 2011 Mr. Hayes approached the executives at Worksoft about an OEM deal that would allow their sales force to do proofs of concept without having to travel to the customer site and would allow customers the option of using the software in the cloud instead of on their in house machines. When they had reached a tentative agreement after 3 months of negotiations, the VP of Business Development pulled the plug on the project and Randy threatened to sue to receive compensation for their lost time. The matter was dropped and the two companies went their own ways.
Two years later, Randy was approached by his sister Linda with an idea and a proposal. Since Worksoft is a competitor of Hewlett Packard in the SAP test automation market, HP had refused to sell their Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) software to them, which they needed in order to develop an interface that would let them sell Worksoft Certify to HP customers. She asked Grid Robotics to serve as an intermediary to purchase the software from HP and allow Worksoft to use it. Since the license would allow Grid Robotics customers to use it, the arrangement was perfectly legal as long as Worksoft was a customer, and since Worksoft would pay for their time, that would qualify them as a customer.
For the next 2 and a half years, Randy provided this service to the developers at Worksoft. He deployed the software in the Amazon cloud and gave them access privileges so they could develop and test their interface and their sales people could give demos to prospective customers. He interfaced with Avnet, the HP dealer, requesting licenses, updates, price quotes, etc. The dispute of 2 years ago was ancient history by then, so things went along smoothly without a hitch.
However, in July of 2015, Randy was approached by a recruiter in Seattle who was looking for a consultant to help Worksoft’s biggest customer, Costco, build a team of Certify-trained engineers to automate their SAP applications using HP ALM as the test management component. This meant that the service Grid Robotics had been providing had been instrumental in making the Costco deal possible. Having been one of the original developers of Certify as well as a seasoned Worksoft consultant, he applied for the position and was waiting for an interview when he heard that someone at Worksoft had told them he had a “bad relationship” with Worksoft!
Knowing that this was a reference to the dispute in 2011, he wrote to Jim Kent, the Worksoft CEO, and asked him to address the matter immediately, reminding him of the service he had been providing for and warning him that he would only continue doing so if the matter was resolved. The CEO said he didn’t even remember the incident, that nobody should be saying anything bad about him, and promised to deal with it. To his utter amazement, he found out that “deal with it” did not mean retracting the bad reference, but merely telling the person who said it not to do it again! He was refused the opportunity at Costco because of the threat to sue in 2011, in spite of the service he had been providing for them for the last 30 months!
So the relationship between Grid Robotics and Worksoft was terminated and Worksoft was denied access to the HP ALM and UFT software they had been using to support their developers and sales force. Now Grid Robotics owns licenses for ALM with four user seats and one HP UFT user with no use for them. We also have an outstanding loan from one of our members who is also a Worksoft investor. So in order to satisfy that debt, we are offering to sell the 5 transferrable licenses at a 20% discount using a social media campaign.
We are publishing this information because we are seeing business opportunities evaporate because rumors are spreading about a lawsuit, which is not true (although we may be forced to take legal action if this matter is not settled).
Below is the email exchange between Randy Hayes, founder of Grid Robotics, and Jim Kent, the CEO of Worksoft. For more information, please contact [email protected]
From: Jim Kent [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2015 5:38 PM
To: Randy Hayes
Subject: Re: Costco
Do you know specifically who is talking negative from Worksoft. No one should be, the below instant is not something I remember and would doubt that not many people would. I have a positive reference of our interactions over the years. Please let me know if you identify where the negative rumblings are coming from and I will deal with it.
Best of luck with the opportunity,
Chief Executive Officer
I am presently applying for a position as a lead automation engineer using Worksoft Certify at Costco. I was contacted by the recruiting company who told me there were “rumblings” about a bad relationship I have with Worksoft. As you recall, in June of 2011 a colleague of mine and I spent almost 3 months engaged in a proof of concept to deliver a test automation lab on the Amazon cloud that your sales and support people could use so they wouldn’t have to travel. As you also recall, at the last minute Mr. Pickrell shut down the project without any compensation and for no apparent reason other than the fact that he could. He had spent several months trying to hire me back to do what I had been doing before, namely showing up at big accounts to do POCs to help close sales, which I did for Coca Cola, Spirit Aero and others. I was unwilling to because of the travel involved and I truly believe that his treatment of me was due to spite and nothing else.
Yes, I was furious and yes, I threatened to sue but I didn’t – I ate my losses of at least $30.000 in lost opportunity and moved on. In the meantime, the work I did on that project evolved into what is now a key part of your business – using the Amazon cloud to provision servers and other resources for development testing, and implementation. When Gilles needs help with something he knows he can call me and I will help. I am also functioning as a middle man to allow your development team to use HP ALM for the testing and maintenance of the Certify ALM interface, which I am happy to continue doing as long as we can maintain a cordial relationship .
I would appreciate it very much if we could put this behind us and that you would not allow it to interfere with the opportunity I have at Costco. I have a long list of current and past Worksoft employees and customers who will vouch for my technical abilities and work ethic and I am convinced that I will be an asset for Costco and make the Worksoft installation successful.
Grid Robotics LLC
From: Jim Kent [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, July 30, 2015 12:43 PM
To: Randy Hayes
Subject: Re: letter of recommendation
Again sorry about the results at Costco, the only initiative I can take is to speak with the individual at Woeksoft who you are referring to so this does not happen again. I do not do recommendation for anyone. Again the only general comment I can make is that I have not had any negative interactions with you. I know this is not what you are looking for, for that I am sorry…..
Chief Executive Officer
You can skip my request and we can put this whole thing behind us if you will simply provide me with a recommendation on Linked In that is both factual and true:
“Randy Hayes was one of the four original founders of Worksoft that can came up with the idea of “scriptless automation” after their experience at their first company, AutoTester, which was based on Mr. Hayes’s original invention of the “software tape recorder” in 1983. AutoTester was the first test automation tool for the PC and dominated the market for over a decade. Mr. Hayes’ contributions to Worksoft over the years have been many and varied, including the development in 2006 of the original SAPGUI interface with another founder, Gene Jones. Many of Worksoft’s largest customers were sold on the idea of Certify because of Randy’s on-site efforts to show how cross platform, end-to-end business processes could be automated without writing a single line of code. He is very popular and well-liked by everyone at the company who worked with him over the years.”
The problem with the information that reached Costco is the fact that it was a lie – I’ve never had a bad relationship with Worksoft, I only had a bad relationship with someone who is no longer at the company and for good reason. It left other people in the company with a bad impression of me when in fact my efforts were aimed at providing dramatic cost savings and increased quality of life for everyone in the sales organization. I should not be penalized by the fallout from that and it is time to set the record straight, not only at Costco but within the company as well.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this for any reason whatsoever, then we need to meet face to face to discuss it. I was already looking for an opportunity in the Seattle area when I was contacted by the recruiter about the position at Costco. They can’t possibly find anyone more qualified than I am to fill the lead role and neither one of us can afford to let it be ruined by a lie.
Grid Robotics LLC