Blog: OpenSky to create 80 jobs after €2.5M investment in expansion

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OpenSky Data Systems

OpenSky Data Systems

OpenSky to create 80 jobs after €2.5M investment in expansion 

OpenSky, Ireland’s only GovTech transformation specialist which provides process automated solutions to public sector bodies, is proud to announce that it has invested €2.5 million in its own expansion and will create 80 jobs over the next two years.

The company’s employee numbers are set to reach 160 by the end of 2021. New roles will include digital transformation consultants, software engineers, sales and marketing executives, and project and team leaders.

OpenSky is an IT and consultancy solutions company, based in Naas in Co Kildare, that provides innovative solutions and managed services to public sector bodies. The team has successfully delivered major projects for 50 organisations in the sector, impacting 2.5 million people every day. Their systems manage more than 100 million digital transactions per month between Ireland and the UK.

Over the last two years, OpenSky has achieved continued growth, with revenue increasing 30% year-on-year. As well as investing in new additions to the team, 10% of revenue is put towards research and development activities.

The company’s success has been driven not only by the increasing demand among government agencies and public bodies for digital transformation, but OpenSky’s extensive range of services which now includes Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation and Information Intelligence.

 

“Innovation and digitisation are key to Ireland’s continued economic success”

Furthermore, the business is planning to expand further in international markets, including the UK and the US. OpenSky’s customer base has grown in recent years with both international and Irish customers including the Health Service Executive, the National Transport Authority, the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation, North London Waste and Surrey County Council.

Michael Cronin, Managing Director, OpenSky, said: “More and more public service agencies and government organisations realise how important it is for them to be able to boost productivity, deliver services and support citizens as directly and efficiently as possible.

“By transforming, they can not only streamline their own processes and optimise resources, but also enhance the citizen experience and create a digital government that works. In order to meet this increasing and evolving demand, we have invested in expanding our team and adding new services.”

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D. said: “Innovation and digitisation are key to Ireland’s continued economic success and so I very much welcome OpenSky’s ambitious plans for expansion.  I would like to congratulate them on their continued success and of course very much welcome the 80 high-end jobs that will be created.”

If you are interested in finding out more about our employment opportunities, click here. You can also see what vacancies are currently available here.

 

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About OpenSky Data Systems

OpenSky Data Systems for Digital Government That Works. 

As Ireland’s Only Govtech digital transformation specialist, we deliver future-proofed citizen access and operational efficiency.   

Our Govtech business expertise has transformed over 50 public sector bodies in Ireland & the UK.  Within transport, waste, housing & health, our systems impact 2.5m people every day & manage 100m digital transactions every month in Government. 

Taking a Customer-Centric approach, we equip government teams with scalable and sustainable citizen platforms, shared digital business process information systems, realtime monitoring and analysis, legacy system modernisation, minimal viable product designs and implementations and data management services. 

Our expertise & approach, provides our clients with a path towards increased cost-efficiency, reduced risk of investment and superior citizen services.  

Working with the best technologies & MS Gold Certified Partners, we have 15 years of digitising processesconnecting citizens – building a smarter nation. 

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Blog: Are you really doing DevOps?

Our Expertise

By Radoslaw Podgorski

By Radoslaw Podgorski

Team Lead

Are you really doing DevOps?

DevOps nowadays is such a trendy topic – you’ve probably noticed so many references to it on articles, tech conferences talks, videocasts, training courses etc.  General awareness in this area is on the rise and this is not surprising at all since modern systems are becoming more and more complex with vast amounts of data to be processed and with simultaneous user access. But what’s most important is that modern systems have to be open and flexible to introducing new changes and meet the demands of an always on, 24/7 working environment.  Without this commitment, there are losses – of revenue, reputation…or in some cases lives!! 

So, what is DevOps and how does it help? Well there is no concrete definition for DevOps – in fact in you search Wikipedia you’ll find;  

DevOps is a set of software development practices that combines software development (Dev) and information technology operations (Ops) to shorten the systems development life cycle while delivering features, fixes, and updates frequently in close alignment with business objectives.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DevOps 

And while this definition offers a very broad overview to what DevOps is, there’s so much more it and so many more questions than the basic ones like: 

Qs: Are you doing DevOps?  A: Oh, yes we are! We have Jenkins in place for our Dev/QA environments. All we have to do is to hit a button and watch the magic happen! 

and 

Qs: Does it also transfer to Production Environment?  A: No, our customer security policy does not allow us to do so. 

Having a continuous Integration tool, a new shiny system version shipped to a production environment is only the start of what’s involved.  DevOps is more of an organisational change, the company being the engine that needs to have all the parts and components running correctly – which needs to be maintained and inspected regularly to future proof for potential issues.  

So, how can DevOps can help with this? How can we move towards something that will fit our needs and tackle problems in a better manner?  I’ve provided a compact guide below: 

 

Daily Basis: 

 

Standardisation: 

 

* Define ops and development standards in your Organisation (if you haven’t already!) and follow them – apply KISS (Keep It Simple Stupidprincipal and try not to re-invent the wheel. Be aware that complex solutions have longer learning curves and are harder to maintain. 

* Follow best practices – if you have a problem you need to tackle, there is a high chance that someone has been faced with the problem already. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and gain from another people’s experience – whether in or outside of your Organisation. 

* Don’t lock yourself to specific stack/technology. There are no perfect solutions, but some are better in dealing with specific problems than others. Always try to seek alternatives. 

* Create a Technology radar for your Organisation that will help you track new technologies – in IT everything is changing fast so you need to plan ahead and be prepared for introducing changes.   

 

Automation: 

 

* Try to automate any repeatable manual work – deployments, testing, daily checks – you name it. This will not only save a lot of time but also prevent any human error caused mistakes. 

* In order for automation to work correctly, enforce standardised environments – all fixes and patches should be applied across DEV/QA/UAT/PROD. 

* Is there an issue each time you request new environment? Adopt and implement Infrastructure as a Code using dedicated tools/platforms. 

* Once you have automation in place – focus on reducing its error and failure rate – this will get you up to speed in no time. 

 

Team: 

 

* People are the true value of every IT Organisation. Be aware of that & trust them.  Don’t micromanage your team as this leads to problems. Remember that good teams can be fully autonomous and can manage on their own. 

* Try to balance team workloads and be aware that multitasking can do more harm than good. Apply WIP (Work in Progress) limits if necessary 

* Support people and teams during failures – everyone makes mistakes. The key is to learn from them and provide a means for these to not happen again. 

* Create an on-boarding plan for new Employees – not everyone has the same knowledge level, but actions should be made to mitigate this.  

Having a continuous Integration tool, a new shiny system version shipped to a production environment is only the start of what’s involved.  DevOps is more of an organisational change…

Development/Deployment approach: 

 

* Move towards Agile methodologies – Waterfall is an enemy of DevOps and causes issues when applying some of its best practices. 

* Increase Deployment frequency – if you only have Continuous Integration in placetry expanding it into Continuous Deployment and ultimately into Continuous Delivery 

* Follow some deployment patterns that can be adopted to your Product: 

Canary releases 

Rolling deployments 

Blue-Green deployments 

 

Change Management: 

 

* Define a standardised and transparent process to be followed by your Organisation – by default it should have as little overhead as possible and a quick turnaround. 

* Define and follow a Release management process for provisioning your systems. 

 

Monitoring and Alerts: 

 

* Watch your system as they work in order to gain insights and prevent or predict possible failures/issues on either system or infrastructure level. 

* Implement alert mechanism in order to mitigate issues before they occur. 

 

What to do if your Production system is down or facing a serious issue? 

 

Prioritisation:  

 

* The key rule to most production issues is to mitigate first in order to provide continuous operations. ‘Proper’ fix can be applied a little bit later. 

* All services need to be recovered based on impact. Look into what’s most critical first to get you up and running. 

* It’s very important to record all evidence related to the issue (times, logs etc.) as this will be used for Root Caused Analysis later on. 

 

Communication: 

 

* When facing issues, communication is key and needs to be timely sent and always transparent – do not try to hide anything. 

* Don’t cause panic – communicate the issue only to the affected parties. 

* Separate external and internal communication – customers usually won’t understand tech talk so the information provided to them needs to be clear and understandable.  And consider ChatOps as a good solution to have one centralised place for internal communication. 

* Have an ‘Incident Manager’ in place who will coordinate everything in correct manner. 

* It’s good to have some insight of your system in real time otherwise your support might get overwhelmed with questions like ‘When will it start working?’ so a dedicated health check/incident page would be useful here. 

 

Now that we’ve identified the cause and restored initial functionality – what’s next? 

 

Root Cause Analysis: 

 

* Perform accurate Root Cause Analysis (RCA) – go through recorded timelines, think of lessons learned and possible future improvement plan to ensure the issue does not happen again.

* Create a Post Mortem document that is clear and accessible to everyone. 

* Review your Post Mortems to see if you are not falling into the same rabbit holes. 

* It is very important that RCA and Postmortem be done with blameless approach – everyone can make mistakes and if you approach analysis with a witch hunt style, it’s likely to result with your team not sharing the important details they know which are crucial to the analysis. 

 

Improvement plan 

 

* Create an improvement plan – this should be initiated from the Root Cause Analysis document. 

* Track your improvement proposals so these get implemented properly – regardless if this is a process modification, monitoring improvement, code fix or Architectural change. 

 

Great, what’s next? 

 

So much to cover right?  Do you have to do all of this from the start?  No! Improve on what you have. Start small, fail often and learn from it, adopt, adjust, improve! Improve! Improve! 

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About The Author

Team Leader at Opensky Data Systems. Currently responsible for developing and maintaining Ireland’s enterprise level systems for Taxi Industry. Enthusiast of Cloud, Agile and DevOps. In deep love with .NET stack, with some warm feelings for Android

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The Future Of Digital Regulation is here
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