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Greenchoice: Sustainable IT environment for responsible, rapid growth

Greenchoice is one of the largest suppliers of sustainable energy in The Netherlands. Success in the market has led to the company’s rapid growth, partly due to new, IT-driven services being introduced on a regular basis. A steadily growing number of applications imposed the need to professionalize the IT department: a well-structured architecture was required, testing needed to be automated, and change and release management had to be optimized. Xpirit assisted Greenchoice in realizing the required changes, and with full success: the IT landscape has become much more stable and efficient, and has grown into a solid foundation that supports responsible growth.

Greenchoice: sustainability means practicing what you preach

Greenchoice was founded in 2001, and was one of the first providers of sustainable energy on the Dutch market. The company strongly believes in the adagio: practice what you preach, which is why it has implemented sustainability throughout its organization. For instance, staff is encouraged to travel only by public transport, the company only invests in natural energy and conservation, and it participates in talks with government bodies about implementing the Paris climate agreement.

Due to its rapid growth, Greenchoice’s IT department, which had grown from its original size of 7 to a team of 50, also needed to be made more sustainable. The department’s Team leader, Alex Janssen, describes the need for change: “Lack of a stable underlying architecture and inefficient use of servers, with essential information only residing in the heads of key staff, had caused the IT landscape to be vulnerable, leading to inefficiencies. Moreover, releasing new versions of applications took far too much time, we didn’t have proper tooling for our change management, and testing required too much manual effort. In short: we needed to professionalize and become more sustainable.”

Greenchoice: sustainability means practicing what you preach

Xpirit helps create a stable and efficient environment

Alex continues: “To realize the required changes, we needed support from experienced professionals, so we called upon Xpirit. Their extensive Microsoft knowhow and experience offered exactly what we needed, and they set to work in late 2015. Divided over a number of separate projects, they helped us set up a proper DTAP environment and they defined a proper architecture. This also included the management of the server infrastructure with configuration as code by means of Powershell DSC. As a result of new modules, professionalizing our testing activities and involving highly skilled new staff, the percentage of bugs has practically been halved and variation in applications has been reduced substantially. Needless to say, the environment has become much more stable, efficient and easy to manage.”

Xpirit helps create a stable and efficient environment

Substantial time savings and solid foundation for the future

At the same time, Xpirit helped Greenchoice to optimize the release process of its applications. Alex: “They implemented TFS release management, and this proved extremely successful: due to variations in applications and inefficient server organization, a new release used to take up to two hours per application. With sixteen applications and regular new releases, this used to take a full day for two persons. And now? An average of one and a half hours for the entire landscape!. As a result of Xpirit’s work, everything works efficiently, it has become transparent, and we know how everything works. A great improvement with a solid foundation for continuous delivery of end user value for the future.”

 

You don’t just get a single consultant – you get their entire team!

Alex: “What struck us in particular was Xpirit’s approach to making their knowhow available and accessible. Their consultants constantly pick each other’s brains, which means you get to benefit from the best practices of their entire team. But what’s more, they organized one of their weekly tech nights on site at our premises. They came with the works: pizzas, drinks and … their entire team. They all shared a wealth of knowhow with our staff, and this is something you rarely see in the market. To me this was a clear case of practicing the professionalism they preach!”

 

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You don’t just get a single consultant – you get their entire team!

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