Since 1998, Oblivion provides internet applications. Most of the clients are listed companies. The services offered range from business consulting to campaigns, but in all cases the goal is to optimize interaction, processes and information flows. Since 2005, Oblivion has been outsourcing software development to NetRom Software on a structural basis. Director Eric Carbijn tells how and why.
"Our 21 people are specialized in IT as well as in business logic and marketing. Thereby, in virtually any environment we quickly proceed to the heart of the matter. No matter the size and the complexity of the project or organisation, we always bring the right expert to the appropriate table. Our eye for innovative results has proven to add much value. ABN Amro, Wolters Kluwer and many other of our first relationships are still satisfied partners today.
We are well versed in industries such as energy, finance, information services and publishing, but that´s more or less chance and it doesn´t keep us from exploring unknown sectors. We feel like a fish in the water in every environment where large to very large amounts of data are being generated and processed. That´s when we quickly offer added value. An example? We are supplier of various online environments, supporting organizations and individuals in optimizing their energy consumption. Topical and interesting is also the current project for Mitsubishi Turbocharger and Engine Europe (MTEE), in which we cooperate with NetRom Software.
MTEE is a global leader in turbos, applied by large producers of a wide range of engines. The designers and engineers of the extensive development team are constantly talking to mainly European customers and they simultaneously work at many dozens of turbo types. Any turbo type is composed from approximately 65 parts. The turbine wheels and some of the other parts are manufactured by MTEE, but most are purchased from third parties. Together with NetRom Software we are developing a capacity planning system, meant to optimize this entire process.
The core of this system is a so-called Bill of Materials. On the one hand it provides information about the availability, delivery times and the expected demand per part. On the other hand, the MTEE engineers process test results, measurements and other data on the performance of those parts, in order to reach well reasoned design decisions. What makes the data management more complex than it already is, is that the development process by its very nature leads to the replacement and improvement of parts on the fly, i.e. to non-predictable changes that sometimes have a lot of impact.
In this agile software development project, we work with Ruby on Rails. The project will be running for about one year. We are constantly in conversation with MTEE, providing clarity on the main lines. Simultaneously, in sprints of two weeks, we invent and develop new functionality with the programmers of NetRom Software. This approach gives MTEE as well as NetRom Software and ourselves a great deal of grip on the software development process.
The collaboration with NetRom Software is so successful because we have completely left behind our initial customer-supplier relationship. We really have become partners, each bringing our own expertise to the different projects. Our development capacity at NetRom Software consists of three programmers who are structurally at work in a range of different projects. We know each other well and we constantly share mutual critical thoughts. In the case of unclarity, critical questions are asked, usually followed by concrete suggestions for alternative solutions. A decade of shared successes has strengthened the mutual trust in each other's expertise.
By 2009, it appeared that we would need to buy new hardware on a regular basis for large-scale energy management systems and other projects in which rapid scalability was a hard requirement. Because we didn´t feel that this was our ambition, we orientated us towards optional alternatives. Since the first contacts with Amazon Web Services (AWS), the proposition of this cloud provider proved very attractive. We have quickly learned a lot and now we offer almost all of our clients the assurance that our solutions wil continue to run in a sustainable and satisfactory way - in the cloud, via AWS. The success is so substantial that we have accommodated the cloud operations by January 1, 2015 in the new company Oblivion Cloud Control. The beauty is that the movement also occurs in the opposite direction: initially, the cloud was the solution for a stable performance of our software, whereas now the cloud turns out to impose demands to the systems running in it. Again, the expertise and the development capacity of NetRom Software have proved very valuable during the entire process. We keep each other sharp, while the added value for both parties is measurable and sustainable. "