Olyslager is the market leader in the collection and analysis of lubrication technical data. The company was founded 70 years ago, has around 45 employees, is active on five continents and delivers its services to approximately 2,000 users worldwide. For many years it provided its own Lubricant Information System (LIS) as a locally installed application to customers. This offline application had to be activated with a dongle, whereupon customers could enter the specific characteristics of their lubricating agents into the system. The resulting data sets were then exchanged online and centrally collected and processed by Olyslager. However, this way of working resulted in an increasing number of technical challenges, says Tom Rensink, COO at Olyslager, and responsible for modernizing LIS:
“We encountered many issues with customers that were using outdated computers and had internal security regulations, so that our software did not always operate correctly. Furthermore, we wanted to work better and more efficiently, and had a desire to innovate.”
For these reasons, the Lubricant Information System was migrated to the cloud. Initially, the plan was for Olyslager to develop the required software themselves, but according to Tom there were doubts about whether the required speed of development would be achieved:
“We finally opted for the Thinkwise low-code platform. This allows us to develop the software much faster due to the availability of a lot of standard functionality and the fact that you model the software instead of programming it.”
Olyslager certainly didn’t rush in before opting for Thinkwise. “What we do is fairly unique, especially because so many customers enter data into our systems from all over the world, but also due to the manner in which we subsequently aggregate, process and distribute this data” Tom Rensink explains. Because of this, standard software suites were unsuitable and low-code quickly appeared to be the right choice to provide the required speed of development and flexibility.
“We also considered other low-code vendors, but we were already aware of Thinkwise through a partner and they seemed to be the best fit for Olyslager with regard to both the organization and the possibilities they offered.”
A successful pilot project gave the Olyslager team the confidence they needed to enter into a strategic partnership with Thinkwise. Besides the high speed of development, the language support the Thinkwise Platform offers is also of tremendous added value, because Olyslager delivers its services in no less than 35 languages.
Tom Rensink: “Another major benefit of the Thinkwise Platform is that we can quickly and easily modify elements in the software, which are then immediately available for our customers. We can now modernize and improve our product much faster. And, in addition, we have short lines of communication with Thinkwise, so that we can react quickly and easily whenever required.”
While building the new Lubricant Information System the Olyslager development team worked in direct collaboration with a number of Thinkwise experts on site.
“That was one of my requirements,” according to Tom. “I find it important that you can see each other to discuss and organize things together. We had to learn how to work with the Thinkwise Platform and they had to learn about our business to understand what we were developing. It really is a team effort.”
The project ran successfully, despite a couple of months extra work due to progressive insight. This was especially due to the fact that almost two hundred more features than were originally estimated were included in the software: “During the development, we identified many useful possibilities, that we immediately included in the software. This has indeed involved some additional time, but if you see how much added value it has delivered, it was more than worth it.”
The new Lubricant Information System has already been completed and Olyslager is now rolling out the new environment to all its existing customers.
“Some customers created interfaces between our offline software and their own systems,” says Tom Rensink. “That required some extra work, but for most customers the transfer went smoothly. Every customer that works via our cloud applications, now gets the same user experience.”
And for Olyslager, the roll out and maintenance of the software has become much easier: “We can now add new users much easier and faster and no longer need to send activation dongles to our customers. Furthermore, we can implement new releases much faster from the cloud, so that our customers no longer have to download and install software.”
The Olyslager development team is now mostly independent in the further development of the software. Tom Rensink: “We occasionally come across specific matters that we have to refer to the Thinkwise experts about. But our Thinkwise knowledge has grown substantially during the past eighteen months and the objective is to carry out further development completely independently.”
Now that the Olyslager modernization project has become a fact, Tom looks back on a successful cooperation.
“We are very satisfied with the new Lubricant Information System and our customers are also extremely positive,” says Tom. “With the Thinkwise Platform, we can innovate far faster and deliver new features and processes in our product directly to our customers.”
The cooperation and the match between both organizations proved to be an important factor for achieving the final result: “Thinkwise is an informal and open company,” Tom concludes. “The people are easy to approach and they work on their product with great pride. They work closely with you as the customer and strive for success. I really see Thinkwise as a partner that became vital for our primary product.”