Autodata: “Personal contact is paramount for us”
Autodata develops applications for the automotive industry. The company is based on three pillars: stock management, providing a (future) valuation of a car and facilitating car companies to advertise their stock on large national portals. Over 2,100 car companies in the
Netherlands work with the software. "We are leading the way when it comes to quickly adapting our software to new market conditions and to new laws and regulations, but also in the use of innovative technology," says managing director Erik van den Heuvel.
Hosting is like gas, water and electricity
The automotive market is in a state of flux. Think, for example, of the emergence of new ownership structures such as private leasing. As a result, software is in continous development, which is where the focus lies. "Hosting for us is like gas, water and light: it just has to work. If it works, you think it's the most ordinary thing in the world. You only notice how important it is when it doesn't work," says Van den Heuvel.
“Hosting for us is like gas, water and light: it just has to work. If it works, you think it's the most ordinary thing in the world. You
only notice how important it is when it doesn't work.”
Physically separate locations
Autodata has been renting racks in BIT-1 and BIT-2 since 2013. "For us, it's important that our racks are in two physically separate locations, so that we can keep running at one location if the other one goes down. It is one of the ways to guarantee an even higher reliability of our services towards our customers," says Van den Heuvel.
Reliability was a top priority when he was looking for a hosting provider. One of the things he paid close attention to was the certifications. These came in handy when Autodata was taken over by the
American company Solera, says Van den Heuvel. "Our new shareholder pays very close attention to certifications. They want our data center to be demonstrably reliable and secure."
“Our new shareholder pays very close attention to certifications. They want our data center to be demonstrably reliable and secure.”
Skilled problem solving
You can go through a selection process as much as you like, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, Autodata discovered. Van den Heuvel: "Ultimately, of course, it's about solving problems quickly and competently. At first you do everything to prevent a disruption, but it is and remains machinery. It can break down once in a while. In that situation you want your hosting provider to work with you to find the cause as quickly as possible and solve the problem. At BIT, a team of specialists works closely with our hardware experts and that works out extremely well. They tell me that BIT is able to respond quickly when there is a problem, that they know our environment well and understand our business situation. They understand how important business continuity is for us and in that respect they act as an extension of our own organisation."
Open and honest
Nevertheless, this close cooperation does not mean that everything is always rosy, says Van den Heuvel. Sometimes there are clashes between Autodata and BIT. "To me, that characterizes a good relationship. We are very open and honest with each other and we analyze every situation that arises. For example, we once had a breakdown that occurred just before a shift change. The team in the afternoon shift hadn't passed it on properly to the people working the evening shift, so we lost valuable time. The great thing is that BIT immediately recognized this and set up a protocol to prevent something like this from happening again in the future, either with us or with another customer."
Continuously keeping each other on their toes
The fact that BIT is so openly critical, Van den Heuvel could have suspected during the tour in 2013. "I remember gallantly holding the door for someone at the time (another yet unidentified visitor)
and being immediately reprimanded about it. That felt pretty uncomfortable, of course. At the time I thought, 'Do you know I'm a potential new customer?' Now I know that a critical attitude starts with
little things like that. You shouldn't turn a blind eye to certain behavior because you think it's an exception, but you have to be constantly on your toes that everyone always keeps all agreements,
regardless of whether that person is internal or external."
As a result, he hopes to continue doing business with BIT for the years to come. "We are very satisfied, there is no reason to look around. BIT has its affairs in order on a technical level, but there are other data centers that have that as well. They distinguish themselves through personal contact. That is harder to measure, but for us crucial in the quality of service."
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