What we didResolve technical debt and change way of working
Our software has to work anytime, anywhere. But it also needs to be super stable and highly scalable, and thanks to Xebia | Xpirit, it is now. With that as a given, we can fully focus on our core strength again, which is to provide an exquisite user experience.
About 20 kilometers north of Amsterdam, you will find the office of Vertimart, the largest software provider for the Dutch oral care industry since 1990. Today, Vertimart serves over 3,000 dentists, 200 laboratories, and 7 million patients nationwide with its Microsoft-based solutions, Exquise and Qbridge, paired with outstanding training and support.
While Vertimart had yet to feel any pressure from the market, internally, it knew the time had come to future-proof its product. New features were still being rolled out, but structural improvements took a lot of work to implement in the day-to-day hustle and bustle. So, in 2022, Vertimart turned to Xebia | Xpirit, a company they had previously enjoyed working with.
Xebia | Xpirit
The collaboration with Xebia | Xpirit was driven by three objectives:
- Speed up and simplify DevOps, allowing, for example, updates to be done during working hours instead of at night.
- Improve the solution’s performance, in particular its stability.
- Increase the knowledge Vertimart has of microservices allowing the company to make an informed decision about using them (or not).
As to how they worked together, Michiel van Oudheusden, consultant at Xebia | Xpirit, explains:
Vertimart intended to convert the old app into a new one, but the market has changed since the product’s initial launch such that other functionalities are wanted. Simply moving or upgrading was actually not that simple. That’s why we chose to improve the solution step by step. With a small team, we would work on a small part of the app, share the new features and techniques, and then move on. We created curiosity — others wanted to know what we were doing and join us.
Process, People, and Technology
Xebia | Xpirit realized that it would take more than a tech upgrade to truly make the impact Vertimart was looking for. Therefore, the decision was to engage three consultants, two cloud-native experts, and an organizational change specialist: Michiel van Oudheusden.
Over the years, Vertimart had created its own way of Scrum, which was actually slowing them down. So, re-shaping Agile processes was one of the things I worked on. Others included improving communication — critical when most of the team works remotely — which made a huge difference, as well as empowering people by giving them more responsibility and an increased sense of ownership.
To date, Vertimart has migrated approximately 25% of its users to the new solution. Jan Oudkerk, co-founder of Vertimart, says:
A change like this impacts your customer. They have to learn to work with a new system. That’s why we offer them e-learning, spend a day with them to answer questions, and give demos.” He adds, “A customer who has just migrated will temporarily cause a peak load on your helpdesk. To keep your customers happy, you must prepare and take migration step by step.
Vertimart wanted to accelerate and stabilize its app, with the ultimate goal of improving the customer experience.
After working with Xebia | Xpirit, Vertimart now has more grip on its development process. The team experiences more ownership, leading to a more stable application and more control over which features they release when. Additionally, from releasing once a month, the company now releases once a day.
After having in-depth knowledge-sharing sessions with Xebia | Xpirit’s consultants, Vertimart also has a better understanding of Microservices. And although it isn’t using them today, it can make a well-informed decision for the future.
For Vertimart’s customers, the improvements made mean they are now working with better software that is constantly kept up to date, as well as features that are extensively tested and, therefore, of better quality.
These people know everything about this project
Geert van der Cruijsen
Trainer, Digital Kickstarter, Enabler for companies to embrace DevOps, Cloud & improve their engineering culture
Michiel van Oudheusden
Microsoft .NET consultant, developer, architect. With a focus on ALM, VSTS, DevOps, APIs, Azure, Containers and everything around it
Martijn van der Sijde
Helping customers with realizing their digital strategy by creating and guiding the implementation of Cloud and ALM architecture roadmaps
Michael van Rooijen
App Modernization | App Cloud Migration | Coding Architect | (Cloud) Solution Architect | DevOps Consultant | Monolith Whisperer