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Customer Story

Dutch Telecommunications Giant Expands Into Interactive TV

Market-leading KPN adopts new Agile and DevOps approaches to stay relevant as an interactive television and video platform

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Agile & DevOps

Media, Telecom & Entertainment


KPN (Koninklijke PTT Nederland NV) is a market-leading Dutch landline and mobile telecommunications company that is actively shifting its focus to provide interactive television and video services. Since 1881, the Rotterdam-based company has been helping the Netherlands to progress by offering everything from telegraphy and telephony services to 5G, entertainment services and the Internet of Things. This is bringing the national player into direct competition with the world’s leading telecom, technology and entertainment giants.

Staying relevant in a dynamic playing field requires continuous innovation
A new direction demands a new Agile & DevOps approach
Autonomous teams with shared responsibility are better at meeting customer needs

Staying at the Top of its Game

KPN has been fighting to keep its leading position in the increasingly pressurized and competitive Dutch telecommunications market. “The number of television subscriptions among younger generations is decreasing and viewing behavior as a whole is changing,” explained Bas van Vlierden, transformation manager at KPN, “Customers are also becoming more demanding. Things not only have to work well technically but they also have to be more affordable. We’re also dealing with competition from global players like Netflix. We needed Xebia’s help to improve the flexibility of our infrastructure and our ability to respond to changes quickly.”

Becoming Quicker, Smarter & More Flexible

KPN has a long history in the Netherlands but in today’s fast-paced globally-focused world, the company has to be quicker, smarter and more flexible to keep up with its competitors. “Our IT platform was well managed but quite traditional,” said Peter Claerhoudt, manager of technical operations and DevOps iTV at KPN. “With continuous demands for change and new releases, you can’t wait a year for a new product to be developed—that would be too slow and too expensive. So we talked to Xebia and they suggested Agile.”

“Small businesses are fast and Agile, but lack scale. Unilever Refreshment has the scale but misses the agility. To sustain a healthy work-life balance, we can’t ask our employees for more. We need to step up and find a new way to achieve our goals.”
Bas van Vlierden Transformation manager at KPN

Sharing Responsibility Makes Everything Faster and Better

They say that too many cooks spoil the broth, and that was exactly the problem at KPN. There were simply too many people in coordinating roles, so the company drastically cut its personnel and implemented shared responsibility. “Now you give teams a few boundaries and then you brainstorm. It really accelerates things,” said Van Vlierden.” Sharing responsibility has also made the operation much more stable. “Traditionally, two to three people had the overview. That could then be a problem going live because it had to be done by people who had not been involved in the implementation so far. There’s now more interaction and communication and we’ve never had so few disturbances.” Considering how something new will work in practice is, of course, inherent to DevOps. “And we have Xebia to thank for that,” he added.

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