DevOps Consulting |
Transport, Trade and Logistics
Crossing an international border by train from or to the Netherlands, you are joining NS International (NSI), the business unit of the Dutch railways responsible for international travel. NSI serves more than 3,300 European destinations with different transport options: Thalys, ICE International, Eurostar and TGV high-speed trains, as well as the Intercity trains to Brussels and Berlin.
NSI strives to offer her clients speed and convenience when booking tickets, traveling to and from the station, staying at the station and on the train. The dedicated IT team of NSI supports Marketing, Commerce, Finance and Operations with many interfaces to different organizations and systems in different countries.
Enabling the future of train travel
NSI has high ambitions when it comes to the future of international train travel in Europe. Aiming for doubling the number of train travellers until 2030, it is obvious that IT has to upgrade as well to support this ambition. Sustainability, Partnering, shifting towards a Digital First strategy, and Innovation are key.
Customer journey mapping showed two main aspects to enhance the client experience:
- Speed up the delivery process of newly developed features
- Facilitate experimental Marketing and growth hacking practices
To sustain and grow NSI’s agility, it was decided to move to the AWS Cloud, since it was a good fit with the technology stack and enabled greater autonomy.
Cloud and the beauty of simplicity
The initial platform was built within weeks as an MVP. This way, the value of moving to the Cloud could be demonstrated quickly, and the feasibility was assessed early on.
Delivering the first version of the platform quickly is not the same as a quick fix. When redesigning the platform to the next level, we took the time to think through the set-up very thoroughly. Every iteration, the design of the platform reached a higher level of abstraction, separating the application landscape from the infrastructure layer.
The platform is designed to leverage AWS’ offerings for serverless computing where possible.
A lot of effort was put into making the systems robust to the failure of components and outside dependencies. Provisioning and deployment have been fully automated, so the processes are dependable and repeatable. Thus, operational cost is now very low, while availability is high.
It is self-healing, meaning that in case an instance breaks down it automatically spins up another capacity without the end user even noticing.
This customer story is part of Xebia's Platform Engineering service portfolio.