The first version of the scalable smart SixBlocks platform has been delivered. The response from the market was immediately very positive. And that’s what we do it for: Exceed expectations!
Technology company Milvum is closely involved in the technical realisation of the SixBlocks platform. We asked Arvind Jagesser, the CEO of Milvum, 6 questions about the future-proof technologies behind the SixBlocks platform.
Question 1; the slogan and vision
SixBlocks’ slogan is “Exceed expectations”. The durable and extreme simplification of business processes is its mission. Our vision is a simple and clear ecosystem, with the customer at the centre. Systems and processes support this instead of working against it. From a technology perspective, how do you view this slogan, mission and vision?
“Perfect,” Arvind responds enthusiastically. “In practice, I still very often see in organisations a complex ICT landscape with inflexible systems and a fragmentation of knowledge in the organisation. With all its consequences in terms of time, money and, above all, employee and customer satisfaction. Or rather, dissatisfaction. SixBlocks’ slogan, mission and vision appeal to me enormously. I am very proud to contribute to the smart SixBlocks platform. With the right team and the right technology choices, we are part of the whole. Together we ensure that expectations within the SixBlocks organisation itself are also exceeded.”
Question 2; robustness and security
Our customers and business partners place high demands on the robustness and security around SixBlocks’ platform. For example, we promise to our customers and business partners that a collective run of 10 million end customers is ready within 30 minutes. How does hosting technology guarantee that all requirements are met?
“We use Azure, a cloud computing platform from Microsoft. It offers a wide range of services and tools for managing and deploying applications. Azure offers high availability and automatic scaling, making it a reliable platform for core applications such as SixBlocks. In addition, Azure offers robust security features, such as multi-factor authentication, role-based access control and advanced threat protection. Moreover, Azure is GDPR/AVG-compliant, ensuring that data from the SixBlocks platform is always securely stored in a European data centre. The security of the platform is also ensured with an independent security party conducting a specific security test (penetration test).”
Question 3; ambition
The topic of question 3 is very closely related to that of question 2. What system/platform techniques ensure that our customers and business partners will indeed experience the robustness of a collective run of 10 million end customers within 30 minutes? And with what techniques do we guarantee that the SixBlocks platform will always work?
“Kubernetes and Docker are the techniques for scalability for large numbers in full scale,” so explains Arvind.
“Kubernetes is a system that simplifies application deployment and management. Kubernetes provides automatic scaling, load balancing and self-healing capabilities, making SixBlocks always available and responsive.
Docker is a platform that simplifies application packaging and deployment. Docker provides a runtime environment that can be run on any infrastructure and on any device. This makes it easy to deploy and manage SixBlocks across different environments.”
Question 4; (meta)data in the past, present and future
The data structure of SixBlocks, especially that of the metadata in the Business Rules Canvas, is a critical success factor of the concept. Unique to SixBlocks’ vision is the transaction mechanism. Every change or correction, from top left to bottom right in the organisation, is registered through a new transaction. The 100% transparent management of these transactions, the (meta)data, is crucial here. What is the technology that best suits this and allows our customers and business partners to make optimal use of their (meta)data?
“SQL Server is a relational database management system that offers high performance, availability and security. SQL Server provides advanced versioning and columnstore indexing features, allowing SixBlocks to handle large amounts of data and complex queries. Bitemporal data support has been added specifically for SixBlocks. This is a very important component. This is because SixBlocks requires all past, present and future changes to be recorded by transaction. This makes every change in the (meta)data 100% transparent.”
Question 5; the back-end
SixBlocks’ back-end must provide guarantees of reliability and maintainability. Behind the scenes, everything must run perfectly so that users and end customers are very positive about it. The technology behind it must be proven in practice and guaranteed to remain up-to-date. Which back-end technology suits SixBlocks best?
“.NET, extended with the Microsoft first citizen model, is a robust, scalable and versatile development platform that allows developers to build high-quality, scalable and secure enterprise applications. The .NET model provides a wide range of tools and libraries for building back-ends. In addition, robust security features such as encryption, authentication and authorisation are present, making SixBlocks secure and compliant. Moreover, .NET is always updated with the latest security patches and features, ensuring SixBlocks is protected against the latest threats. Microsoft has been developing .Net for 20 years. It is one of the most popular frameworks and therefore there is also enough support from Microsoft and in the open source community.”
“Painting” the service
Before we address question 6, we discuss what users of the SixBlocks platform would really want. We make it as concrete as possible, test market validation and confirm its technical feasibility.
Our discussion regarding usage can be summarised as follows:
“The starting point is that SixBlocks customers and business partners themselves are the ‘inventors’ of their own services. In outline, this service consists of the customer model, product model, process model and the current systems to be linked. Customers and business partners independently model their cohesion at the first level in the SixBlocks platform: the floor plan. At a glance, the whole is comprehensible, with its use being “powered by SixBlocks solution”.
The users are central and they can be broadly divided into the:
- business experts at our customers and business partners, who manage the service metadata
- end users at our customers, who manage customer portfolio data
- end customers of our customers, who manage their own specific customer data
- other stakeholders such as the end customer’s consultant, who view specific (customer) data
- C-level at our customers and business partners, who view the data for strategy choices
The business experts “paint” their services into the smart platform. The end users experience the use as a museum with the very finest works of art. The end customer has the complete overview super fast and enjoys the ease of use. The same principle applies to the stakeholders and then only with the authorisation consultation. The C-level has the total overview at a glance and can easily zoom in wider and/or deeper on all the underlying details.
The whole thing consists of a psychologically safe environment to experiment, learn and perform. This applies to both control and execution. In this clear and simple ecosystem, where systems and processes cooperate rather than counteract, the customer is central.
We aim for all users, from the business experts to the C-level, to be proud of their own contribution and to continuously exceed their own expectations themselves. That’s SixBlocks!”
Question 6; the front-end
The vision around usage places high demands on the front-end technology we deploy. In what way are these demands technologically realised?
Arvind begins his response as follows: “First of all, let me say that I find the vision of using it as a painter and a museum visit very nice and inspiring. Moreover, I find it powerful that customers and business partners themselves are the “inventors”. Actually, that is also very logical, but in practice you see many systems where the philosophy is usually the other way around.”
The technical libraries we use, such as Konva.js, for example, offer many opportunities to simulate the SixBlocks principle of painting. In addition, libraries are also used in the background to ensure quality. Through a combination of Storybooks (component framework) and Jest (testing framework), not only are User Stories automatically simulated, but they are also captured with screenshots to preserve operation during the development process.”
Arvind continued: “React Native is a framework for building mobile applications. React Native enables us to build native-like mobile applications for both iOS and Android platforms. React Native uses one codebase for both platforms, which reduces development time and effort.”
Fun is what Arvind exudes during our conversation. This is very nice to see and it makes us as SixBlocks feel very good. Indeed, the personal mutual click of the team in the fullness of time is one of the most important success factors. This is even more important than the technology. Our mutual passions connect and strengthen each other. We will undoubtedly face many more challenges. It is, remains and will be a fantastic and also a tough journey. And when the going gets really tough, we have agreed with each other: “no matter what; we just fix it!”.
So is integrating artificial intelligence solutions such as ChatGPT. We are already in the process of preparing to use these kinds of technologies. SixBlocks’ vision and associated technological set-up are ideally suited for high-quality use of artificial intelligence. In this respect, our mission statement “Durable and extreme simplification of business processes” fits perfectly with this and it seems as if these kinds of technologies and SixBlocks are destined for each other; to be continued.
If you would like to know more about technology or any other SixBlocks topic, please feel free to contact email@example.com.