Case Study

Data Driven Approach to Software Development at Vertu

Executive Summary

Vertu, the English manufacturer of luxury handmade mobile phones, is renowned for its emphasis on style and service. The company designs and manufactures individually crafted smartphones, combining high quality materials, cutting-edge technology and a unique suite of services, all from its UK based manufacturing facility and head office.

To ensure that its software meets the same exacting standards as its services and build quality—of paramount importance to any luxury brand—Vertu uses Splunk Enterprise in its development process. Since deploying Splunk software, Vertu has seen benefits including:

  • More efficient development testing
  • Faster time to market
  • Increased product reliability
    • Increasingly complex software made development problem identification difficult
    • Manual tracking and analysis of software faults was time consuming and error prone
    • Lack of visibility into unforeseen outages was hindering the development process
Business Impact
    • More efficient development testing, resulting in faster time to market
    • Improved product reliability
    • Identification of issues that would previously have gone undetected
Data Sources
    • Mobile handset logs

Why Splunk

Vertu luxury smartphones feature the latest in mobile technology, which makes for a highly challenging development process. With many different elements within each phone such as third-party apps, Android software, Linux operating system and powerful Qualcomm processors, issues can occur at multiple levels prior to a launch. To ensure the company philosophy of delivering optimum performance and reliability to the users of its luxury handsets, every Vertu mobile phone must pass a strict testing phase before it goes to market.

Software quality is a core component of Vertu’s smartphones and a key metric when launching new products or next generation models. As a result, software testing is a critical part of the launch process. This helps to identify and remove hidden faults within every layer of software during the development phase, thus guaranteeing the consumer experience.

As part of this process, Vertu runs hundreds of handsets under test conditions with users in order to assess software performance ahead of a launch. 

“A Vertu phone comes with huge consumer expectations and its performance and software functionality has to meet the high bar set via the services, materials and build quality. Things have to work perfectly, every time. Splunk Enterprise enables us to reach the level of quality our users demand.”

Rob Charlton
Cloud DevOps Architect

Revolutionizing development testing

Vertu first deployed Splunk Enterprise to automate the data gathering process from handset trials and testing, which has since revolutionized the entire process. Using Splunk software, Vertu is able to track a number of key variables, such as uptime, crashes, battery stats and other product health information. Its crash analysis team receives an alert from Splunk Enterprise whenever a phone reset is detected and can look into the associated data to assess the state of the software and take appropriate action to fix it.

Vertu’s diagnostic technicians are also able to understand the mean time to failure for each software release—a key metric that Vertu uses to determine when a piece of software is ready for launch. Vertu’s product managers now use Splunk dashboards to assess the overall health of each version of a smartphone’s software to decide exactly when it has reached the right level of quality and is ready for release.

Proactive issue identification and mitigation

Splunk software is enabling Vertu to better identify issues which might have previously gone unnoticed. In recent trials, Vertu was able to use Splunk Enterprise to locate a specific anomaly and fix it before the software was released.

Vertu engineers now also have visibility into outages or phone reboots in the form of a live dashboard. Whenever an issue with a phone under test appears, Splunk Enterprise alerts an engineer and prompts them to contact the tester immediately to find out what happened and how the problem can be resolved.

"Splunk Enterprise lets us track a number of metrics in real time from our hundreds of individual testers. We now have insight into uptime, crashes, battery stats and other product health information that we simply didn’t have before," said Rob Charlton, chief software engineer, Vertu. 

Read the Press Release

Improving product reliability

Using Splunk software, Vertu has been able to gain insights into other areas of its business in order to support its focus on excellent customer experience. Statistics around battery life and charging cycles help improve reliability across the board. Furthermore, Splunk dashboards allow employees to examine data and track trends between each software release. This data helps teams to come up with further innovations to drive performance and reliability.

In addition, Splunk’s user-friendly interface has encouraged employees at all levels of the business to make use of the platform’s analytics capabilities, without having to invest huge amounts of time and resource on training. Vertu continues to pioneer digital developments in luxury marketing, and Splunk is playing a key role in helping the company become a data-led business for the future.