Continuity by risk management | Homitel

Joris Schouten
Managing Director

“The engineers of BIT are truly interested in what I, as a customer, am doing. Whenever I want their opinion on a new idea, I am welcome to come by.”

Homitel provides high-quality ICT services to The Alwaysbemobile Company, the parent company of Profile Tyrecenter and other retail formulas in the area of maintaining passenger cars and corporate cars. Homitel, a joint venture of The Alwaysbemobile Company and IT=it, supports over 200 car service companies in the Netherlands, Belgium and Romania.

"Homitel is founded to provide IT services to The Alwaysbemobile Company, the biggest brand independent international retail organisation for tires, rims and full service car maintenance. The best known label of The Alwaysbemobile Company is Profile Tyrecenter, but they have an additional series of formulas targeting specific segments of private and corporate clients.

Homitel hosts the websites for franchisees of Profile Tyrecenter and provides a complete ERP surrounding based on Microsoft Dynamics AX. This surrounding makes sure that the customers can print invoices, orders and workshop orders directly. This means that the local establishments need nothing more than a computer and a printer; all data is processed in the data center. Logically, we have high demands for our network and our hosting environment.

This is the reason we chose BIT. I have experience with quite a few data centers that merely offered a building and a security guard. Your contact is an account manager who know all about sales and margins, but nothing about IT. When you want something done, you have to file a written report and weeks will pass. BIT has at least thirty technicians around who are quickly employable when they are needed and who know what they are doing. They are interested in what you are doing and when I am looking for something special, they always manage to find the companies that have the expertise. This works the other way around too: whenever someone asks us for a good hosting provider, we direct them towards BIT.

Our area of expertise is mostly infrastructure. We come up with IT surroundings and we build them, install them and manage them. In our network centre we observe thousands of system components that we manage for our clients. From there we also monitor the servers at BIT. The goal is to locate and solve potential problems before the client can be affected by them. A simple example: when you do not notice that a server's hard drive is filling up, you will only know when a user calls because they are unable to place an order. Then you are too late. We monitor the disc space and are signalled whenever the level drops below thirty percent. This leaves enough time to take the necessary measures.

Every data center faces incidents. When the IT is concerned, continuity is a matter of  risk management; you can diminish the risk extremely, but you can never exclude all failures. The good thing about BIT is that they are always honest. Once, one of the systems of another customer burnt out on the same floor where our racks are situated, which enabled the fire extinguishing system. You might call that a problem, but it also means that the emergency precautions worked the way they were supposed to. Immediately after they tried to learn from it and improve their methods. In this case they found that after the extinguishing of the fire, they were not allowed to enter the data center until firefighters had inspected the space with air masks. In the meantime, the cooling system could not be turned on, so several systems automatically shut down to prevent overheating.
That had to change, thought BIT. The next day, on the ground of their diving certificates, two employees had gotten a licence from the fire brigade to execute the inspection themselves and BIT had set the cooling system to enable itself automatically five minutes after an extinguishing."

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