"Our goal is for the development teams to get their feedback directly from users.”

Shamin Khurana, Principal, Information Technology

I work as the infrastructure architect within the DevOps team, which stands for development & operations. The central idea of DevOps is to put developers and operations in a single team to solve business challenges for our customers. If you build it, you run it. It’s very satisfying for developers to see what they do; they now have an obligation directly to the product and to the customers.

The DevOps model is way more effective than traditional models, which divide tasks, leading to responsibility without accountability. DevOps gives responsibility to the people who have created the software with a certain intention. They get immediate feedback, minimizing the chance of miscommunication and ensuring speed when something needs to be fixed.

"We fixed the problem before it actually became a problem."

As an architect, it is my job to provide a platform for the developers to launch their ideas and build on them. I spend about half of my time on hands-on, technical work. Recently, for example, our teams in Kuala Lumpur flagged a hick-up concerning the implementation of a new release in Europe. They alerted us at 5 a.m., we found out what was wrong and fixed it – all within 40 minutes. By making use of the time difference and working quickly, we solved it before most of our customers in Europe were even awake to notice it.

The other part of my job is to make sure our platform is ready to support Exact’s growth. We gain 1,000 new customers each week, so it is vital to make sure our platform stays scalable, secure and stable. This is why we have gone to great lengths to get insights into how our customers interact with our product, infrastructure and software. Based on user data and a roadmap of different development teams, we predict the capacity we need for the platform.

Exact’s cloud business has grown with 40-50% per year for the last six years. This meant we had to dramatically upgrade our infrastructure. A few years ago, we worked from one datacenter and a disaster recovery concept. If it had gone down, it would have been a catastrophe. Now, we operate out of two active datacenters. If one goes down, the other takes over seamlessly. Three years ago, I would not have thought we’d be able to pull that off.

"Some of the major projects I have worked on, originated from casual talk over a beer."

Exact’s core values come from its entrepreneurial spirit. When you have an idea, you are given the room develop it. Some of the major projects I have worked on, originated from ideas we came up with during casual talk over a beer. We investigated these ideas, got support, did some successful small scale testing and eventually executed them. At Exact, you see your ideas come to life. For an architect, that is the best place you can possibly be in.

We strive for continuous innovation. The first step of innovation is to fulfill a need; you have a problem so you fix it. This is what everybody does. But true innovation is to keep going when you don’t have an urgent need to. When you try to improve a situation that was already good. This is progressive innovation and that is what Exact is very good at.

"Anything our customers want, even a single customer, we should be able to deliver. Fast."

In all sectors, there is a trend towards the cloud. As a result, you could say people lose their uniqueness; instead of owning stuff they can touch and modify, everybody just taps into the same of-the-shelf product or service. Over the next few years, I think this will change. Anything our customers need to succeed in their business, even if it’s a single small customer, we should be able to deliver.

This customization, or customerization, will be made possible by enabling our 32 scrum teams to operate independently of each other. To make that happen, we are building a new cloud native platform to enable a micro services based architecture. This will give them the flexibility to choose what they develop, communicating directly with customers, according to the DevOps principles. I think this customerization of the cloud will be Exact’s differentiator in the future.

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