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Customer Story

Dutch Port Community System Improves Continuous Innovation through Cloud Initiative

Portbase migrates to the cloud, reducing costs, eliminating downtime and increasing functionality, using DevOps mindset
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DevOps | Cloud



Founded in 2009 by the Port Authority of Rotterdam and Port of Amsterdam, Portbase is a Dutch non-profit. It brings together IT and logistics through the Port Community System (PCS), a digital system connecting people, companies, and supply chains. The PCS optimizes logistics through three layers of smart applications allowing all users to exchange information quickly and easily. This “paperless port” system offers over 40 different services, all helping to create a more efficient, secure, and sustainable operation. Along with PCS, Portbase offers platform solutions and identification, authentication, and authorization (IAM) services for accessing digital services.

Automate deployment and speed up software delivery time
Change organizational structure to work more efficiently
Switch to DevOps teams

High-Performance Supply and Demand

Supporting the intricacies of logistics chains is no easy feat, let alone that of Europe’s busiest ports. With the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam under its watch, Portbase wanted to make certain it had cutting-edge technology to handle information efficiently with higher performance and faster deliverables. Portbase needed to upgrade its IT infrastructure and move to the cloud to keep pace with the continuously changing, high-speed world of shipping and logistics. “Going to the cloud ensures a future-proof system,” explained Portbase CIO Peter De Graaf, “It delivers reliability, accelerates releases, and makes innovation easier.”

Empowering Collaboration

When Portbase moved to cloud-native operations, it soon became apparent that organizational changes were necessary on top of the already planned IT changes. The company realized it needed to keep up with the faster pace of delivery afforded by a cloud-level system. Under Xebia’s guidance, Portbase was able to automate software deployment, while also automating code along the way. However, without a high-level overview, and quality checks—a feedback loop—the code suffered. Developers and operations were not on the same page. The only route for Portbase, whose hundreds of clients are data-reliant, was to change the way the two teams worked.

“Giving insights on all levels and making the system architecture behind this setup visible to everybody in the team resulted in full transparency, which again enhanced ownership and end-to-end responsibility.”
Peter De Graaf Managing Director (CIO)

A Comprehensive Solution

Delivering more features and functionality to Portbase’s PCS meant migrating the system to the cloud and adopting DevOps methods. Xebia’s trainers and consultants provided the know-how to guide Portbase’s employees through DevOps working methods as well as implementing IT changes. First, Xebia implemented a CI/CD pipeline based on Docker containers to speed up application development and feature delivery. Secondly, Xebia migrated the PCS to the cloud adding dashboards and monitors. Finally, DevOps became the go-to working method ensuring meaningful collaboration while fostering upskilling and encouraging innovation. Xebia gave Portbase employees the set of practices and tools needed to gain more insight, improve products and serve customers better. As Degraaf noted: “There’s less inhibition in speaking because teams work together now.”

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