Pega-experts and Full-stack testers

MKB Brandstof has created a vehicle card especially for independent business owners. The card features several convenient apps for filling up, washing and parking your car. Cardholders receive a summary invoice listing the transactions completed, which are all VAT-deductible. Other services provided to cardholders include a Tax & Mobility Service Desk and the Groeifactor (Growth Factor) inspiration platform, where business owners can share their stories and learn from each other’s experiences.

As part of their commitment to strengthening the Dutch business community, the team at MKB Brandstof (which, incidentally, is not part of the MKB Nederland entrepreneurs’ organisation, but operates fully independently) has embraced the following social objectives: promoting socially responsible business operations; organising a counterweight to multinationals; accelerating the transition to an oil-free world; and reducing the environmental footprint by providing alternatives to car ownership. The vehicle card is currently used by around 90,000 cardholders, who collectively complete more than 350,000 transactions a month.

Matthé van Daalen, IT Team Leader at MKB Brandstof: ‘The systems developed by our IT team are responsible for receiving and processing transactions, as well as for billing, debiting, credit management, and other tasks. ‘The Pega and WAS applications are the backbone of our system landscape, and my team includes 15 people who are all experts in these applications. I’m fortunate to lead such a highly skilled and motivated team. We’ve got product owners, developers, business architects, dev-ops, an IT architect and two Valori testers all working closely together.’

In-house development

The two Valori employees have been working at MKB Brandstof to help the IT team build up their own in-house development capabilities, an ambitious decision they made two years ago. Matthé: ‘We have a need for flexibility at the heart of our IT landscape, and that’s precisely where we want to avoid using standard software applications. While we do have the option to configure the software based on our changing needs and requirements, that’s actually a fairly complicated process. Our in-house Scrum development team has adopted an Agile approach and is able to deliver output (in stages or otherwise) surprisingly fast. We’re currently developing our back-end application, which we’ve called “Backy,” and several beta versions of this application have already gone live. We also took an important step in the past year in terms of quality assurance, namely by adding professional Agile testers to our team. Our stack includes Pega and AWS, so we tried to find testers who specialise in both these systems. We found exactly what we were looking for at Valori, an established player in the Dutch Pega community.’

Pega experts and full-stack testers in one

‘What makes Valori so special is that they supply professional testers who not only have the Pega expertise we require, but who are also skilled full-stack testers. In fact, Hasan and Alex both work for Valori and together they are fully responsible for testing our stack. It’s also a pleasure to see two people who are so full of passion and energy on the job. Workers who combine this type of specialised knowledge with a genuine enthusiasm for testing are very rare, and it’s just what we need to turn this IT transition into a success.

We plan to build the capabilities needed to be able to support our core services by mid-2018, using our in-house-developed ‘Backy’ application. It’s going to be a bit of a challenge, but I’m confident we can pull it off.’