Our digital-agile culture at your serviceLearn what drives our teams to provide excellent service
and how our organization can live up to the promises made on this webpage.
Ready for the next 25 yearsCelebrating our 25th birthday, Robert and Tom have been driving changes in Sense/Net. Building on the heritage of agility and the accumulated know-how of a quarter of a century, the company’s business architecture was revitalized. As a result, we have a new vision, values-based culture, even more agility, and fresh service offerings. All this is combined with a contemporary management style and authentic lean-agile methods. See where we come from and learn where we’re headed.
We were agile before it was coolHaving started their career with C=64s as kids in the 80s, a computer hacker’s agility runs in our founders’ veins. We have been using agile methodologies since 1999, first MSF, and later switching to Scrum. Agile has been taught and used in the company for more than two decades, so it is more of a lifestyle for us than a set of rules and ceremonies.
Know-how accumulated from solving unprecedented challengesEvery IT project is a challenge, but some pose unparalleled difficulties. These are the ones we love the most. In our 25+ years of history, we met several such challenges. As pioneers of Internet technology, we are best at solving problems no one has ever solved.
First webshop with ASP technology
We were the very first to use Active Server Pages to create a webshop, one of the first webshops in the country. We started development the same week Microsoft released the Windows NT Option Pack, including the first version of Active Server Pages or ASP. At that time PHP was in its early days, and CGI was the standard for programming web apps. We had two weeks to learn the brand-new technology with very little documentation and no YouTube videos. It was the dark ages of the Internet, but we loved it.
First online card payment with COM
Intereuropa Bank was the country's first to provide secure online payments API. We implemented it as a portable COM object that ran on the Microsoft IIS webserver. Since the Component Object Model was programming language agnostic, we wrote most of the code in low-cost Visual Basic and the hardcore secure parts in C++. At that time, encryption keys were provided offine, on a 3.5-inch floppy disk.
First contract with Agile Scope Management
British American Tobacco’s marketing team needed a web portal critical to their business model change, and they needed it extremely fast. The deadline was almost literally deadly; missing it was no option. We won the tender with our agile scope management methodology and completed the project on time, on specs and within the negotiated budget. This approach was so successful that we still use it for agile contracting two decades later.
First live stream
When VIASAT 3 launched the first reality show, our team learned to integrate a live video stream into the new website we built. At that time, streaming video was less common than today, five years before YouTube even started. So we used Windows Media technology and assembled the hardware ourselves from a minimum budget. We soldered the last cable one minute before the show launched. The fun part was that we had backstage access to the studio and the flat where the players lived.
First agile government contract
Budgets and deadlines in the government are critical to project success. So the IT department of the Prime Minister’s Offce executed an agile contract with us to deliver an intranet solution with multiple complex integration scenarios, including a directory of all ministry employees. It was a challenge to convince their legal team about the feasibility of an agile contract, but the project’s success convinced them to repeat it in other projects.
Record-breaking online video stream
Big Brother's online stream almost took down the country’s Internet network. The ISP of the show was unable to service the extreme bandwidth, so we had 24 hours to fix the situation to serve the plethora of viewers. We installed multiple servers and connected them to multiple ISPs and the country’s Internet exchange node. We used Windows Media 9 technology two weeks before it was announced, and got direct support from Microsoft headquarters in Redmond.
Extreme CMS security & publishing requirements
The National Bank has strict publishing obligations as the country's central bank. After winning the tender for building and operating a CMS-based Internet and Intranet portal, we faced unprecedented demands. Security experts from the bank tried to hack into our servers for days, without success. They could not log in from the Internet even knowing the Admin password. Publishing of the base rate had to be one millisecond on time, so we had to connect the servers to an atomic clock.
Packaged Enterprise Portal software
After reusing our CMS/Portal code for multiple clients, we created a real packaged software and named it Sense/Net Portal Engine. Producing a boxed product with installation disk and documentation is a an entirely different challenge than writing custom software. Building this product helped us learn a product mindset, where we treat all software we write as packaged software.
Load-balancing massive portal traffic
Building and operating a portal with the second largest traffic in the country is quite a feat. Especially when most of the content comes from an editorial system and several integrated IT systems, sometimes mixed on the same page. Most of the existing systems we needed to integrate into the portal had not been designed for withstanding high loads, so we had to find a unique load balancing and caching solution to serve the millions of visitors.
Digital Rights Management
DRM is the use of technology to control and manage access to copyrighted material. An American company outsourced the development of their DRM software, with which users could take control of their digital content away from their computers. The software called Digital Embassy used PKI encryption to control access to confidential documents sent to clients. These documents could only be read using our software as long as the author gave permission.
The city of Budapest decided to make its portal accessible to the blind and visually challenged. Since content and presentation were separated using XML technology, we saved much time presenting the same content in larger type and different color schemes and for screen readers simultaneously. In addition, we made the portal readable for the visually challenged and enabled them to edit and publish content in the CMS.
One Hundred Million Documents
We repeated a well-known competitor's benchmark to prove that Sense/Net ECM is internationally competitive. We loaded 100 million documents into a single Content Repository on a single server cluster without slowing down the performance, especially search. We learned a lot about performance tuning and scalability in this project. If printed, our 100 million test documents would pile up ten times taller than Mount Everest.
First Electronic Money Institute
Modernizing electronic payments has always been a dream for our founders, so we decided to start a new branch, and Electronic Money Institution or EMI, to fulfill this dream. Launching a regulated business requires a great deal of legal work and peculiar technology. We developed our front-end and back-end systems with Scrum, and built a COBIT 5 compliant infrastructure. In 2015 we spun off Barion as a separate company that attracted millions of EUR in investment in multiple rounds since then.
Mobile Payment with BLE and iBeacon
We wanted to create a more user-friendly POS payment experience in the Barion Wallet. Since most phones in 2014 lacked an NFC chip, and we found reading QR codes cumbersome, we decided to use Bluetooth Low Energy to facilitate payments. We placed iBeacons, small BLE devices transmitting an ID next to each cash machine. Barion Wallets would discover these iBeacons and make the payment. Again, we learned important lessons from using exotic technologies too early.
Hundreds of Millions of Documents in VDR
Transcend, an American Virtual Data Room provider faced numerous issues with their software, including scaling, stability and security issues. As a result, they outsourced the development of their new product to us, relying on our previous experience building highly secure and immensely scalable web applications. Transcend services big-name international clients, such as Boeing, Mitsubishi, and AT&T, managing hundreds of millions of super confidential legal and financial documents for them.
Extreme Permission Management
User management and permission setting are part of every software project and are a hassle most software engineers shun. However, we love these challenges and have developed a standalone permission system you can integrate into your projects. Super-fast permission resolution is made in memory by a code we’ve been optimizing for years. The module features allow and deny permissions, and has a place for 16 custom permissions next to the usual see, read and write bunch. Our CSP platform uses this module as well.
Georedundant Private Cloud Infrastructure
To ensure the best quality of service and security, we have built our private cloud infrastructure in two geographically separate locations so we comply with financial regulations. In this cloud, we can provide active-active failover, fintech-level security, transparent uptime audited by an independent third party, and many more. Barion and hundreds of clients use our Managed Cloud.
Cross-platform support with .NET Core
Migrating our Content Services Platform to .NET Core allows our customers to run our platform on Linux, macOS, and Windows and in any public cloud provider that supports the open-source platform. With .NET Core, we can build independently deployable, highly scalable & resilient services. Using containers, we can combine an app plus its configuration and dependencies into a single, independently deployable unit. Containers are an excellent fit for bundling and deploying independent microservices.
Your project may be the next...
Let’s discuss what challenges you face in your organization. We don’t employ traditional salespeople; you can discuss your project with seasoned IT experts, many of whom personally took part in most of the projects listed above.
Led by owners with a track record and common purposeOur leaders have experience from the trenches as programmers and project managers, which is helpful in successfully motivating IT professionals. They also believe in the importance of an ownership mindset and loyalty. Tom and Robert are responsible for the strategy and execution, respectively.
I've been fascinated by autonomously working machines from a very early age, so programming was an obvious choice both as a hobby and a profession. I learned the basics on C=64 and Enterprise 128 all by myself, from books and fellow nerdy friends. By the age of 12, we coded in assembly. Growing up, I became an Integrated Engineer, a mix of electrical and mechanical engineering augmented by different management disciplines, including organizational psychology. After founding Sense/Net and becoming the CTO, I drifted from coding to managing projects, later marketing, sales, and pr. At the same time, my fascination has shifted from machines to people, namely, to motivating people to work together and create great solutions. I mastered the art of agile thinking and Scrum, becoming a trainer and coach. After helping our fintech spin-off, Barion achieve rapid growth, I became a freelance Business Architect. My purpose is to enable people to find meaning in the digital era. Today, I help build lean-agile-digital organizations with my open-source framework and re-joined Sense/Net as a director and agile expert. Agile for me is not a buzzword, but a lifestyle. As chairman of Sense/Net, I aim to build a thriving agile IT community and serve companies and people with great software. In my free time, I enjoy listening to rock music, practicing partner dances, cooking, and obviously, Life Long Learning.
I was immediately drawn into the world of computers when I first saw a C=64. At first, I played games, but soon I wanted to code them. This childhood fascination has led me to become a software engineer. I started my career as a software developer and quickly fell in love with web development. Thanks to my people skills, I became a team leader and project manager, eventually leaving coding behind. After working with Sense/Net as a contractor, Tom recruited me as a leader of project managers, but I was promoted to COO very soon. After the spin-off of Barion, I became the CEO of Sense/Net. I am lucky because I can simultaneously use my experience as a developer and project manager in this complex work. I know exactly what daily challenges our professionals face and how they can be helped with effective management tools. My core values are reliability, responsibility, openness, and loyalty. These are the values and principles I live my life with, communicate with people and my colleagues, and lead teams. My decade-long commitment to Sense/Net was honored by shares, further strengthening my natural ownership mindset. As the CEO of Sense/Net, my objective is to serve our employees well because great software can only come from highly motivated, self-managing teams. I like to do sports and DIY projects in my free time, but the best thing to relax me is sailing the high seas.
We are purpose-driven and have an audacious visionAs we navigate business, the North Star is our purpose, the Lighthouse we follow is our vision, and our Map and Compass are our mission. The purpose is the reason we exist - beyond money. The vision is a shared picture of mission success, and the mission is the master plan for creating value for you.
Our purpose is to make people happy by fueling digitalization
Digitalization is a massive opportunity for people to achieve their full potential and to bring joy to their lives and work. The source of our passion is that we thrive in creating agile solutions that fuel this digital-agile transformation. Digital and agile is our lifeblood; our purpose is to share this knowledge with the world and make people happy.
Our vision is to take agile software production to a new level
Imagine a world where all software delivered is on time, on budget, and loved by all users. Our vision is a world where this is possible. We've all been frustrated or let down by crappy software, but we see the future differently. Our vision is a world where we bring real agility to your organization and help you build solutions with unbelievable speed without breaking the bank or disappointing users.
Our mission is to ensure our customers' successful digital-agile transformation with great software and agile know-how by building on our Agile Teams, Cloud Services, and Content Services Platform employing and teaching the latest lean-agile practices.
Our master plan for achieving our vision is to provide a trio of services
topped with lean-agile methodological support.
Our Agile Teams design, deliver and maintain great software. Our Cloud Services provide solid infrastructure, operation and outstanding support. We turbocharge delivery, ensure top quality and provide a microservices architecture by relying on our proven Content Services Platform. Our Agile Experts provide lean-agile methodologies and coaching, so we can produce and operate software that brings real value to your organization exactly when you need it. Finally, we reboot Sense/Net as an employer and build a superb lean-agile-startup culture.
Maintaining a values-based cultureOur core values are a set of principles or beliefs that our organization views as central importance and are never to be given up. We work with people based on how well they match our core values, and we make no compromises. And neither should you. That’s why we publish them.
Digital is our lifeblood
We are digital natives; we share, collaborate, learn, buy, and even live online.
Creating digital solutions is so much more than a profession to us. IT is a form of art,
and we cannot live without performing our magic. We do it even in our free time.
We tinker, experiment, and stay up all night to find a nasty bug. We learn new
tricks all the time. Some may see us as weird or nerdy, but we have no choice but to
follow our passion.
We see digitalization as an opportunity to make the world a happier and better place. We also see digitalization as the only way for organizations to survive in the 21st century. Digitalize or die.
There is no digital without true agile
True agility is being agile instead of doing it. We were agile way before it was cool.
We live by the five agile values of respect, courage, openness, focus and commitment.
Transparency, accountability, empowerment, lean, inspection and adaptation are not
buzzwords for us; they are our natural way of being. We measure what really matters
and harness change. We have a feedback culture with servant leadership, where all
team members can speak their minds freely and are listened to by management.
We see agile as the only way to create complex systems, such as digital systems. Digitalization can only happen with agile done right.
We thrive in excellence and sharing
We advocate excellence. Excellence is better than good enough but less
costly than perfect or gold plating. Excellence is the balance of quality and cost.
Creating successful digital solutions is not only an IT challenge but it is also an
economic one. Customer happiness is no cliché for us; we go the extra mile, even
sacrificing short-term profit for long-term success. We enjoy the challenges of being
thought leaders, always one step ahead of others. We practice life-long learning; we
are curious and happy to think outside the box. We even challenge the status quo
from time to time.
We use agility to achieve excellence in digitalization. We enjoy sharing what we know through excellent service, training, and free, open-source software.
We are lean startup
Our company follows the lean startup way. We take the ownership mindset seriously, even
giving shares to loyal employees. We are purpose-driven and proud of our work. We
don't need a shirt and tie to be serious and professional. Instead, we need initiative,
enthusiasm, continuous innovation, learning and methodologies. We respect each other
and are humble but stand up for our ideas at the same time. Everyone is welcome to
speak their minds; no suggestion is dismissed without a discussion. At the same time,
everyone is expected to be accountable for building the company. We eat our own
dog food; we use our own methodologies and technology to operate the company.
Everyone is working hard but keeping a balance to stay healthy. We work for measurable objectives, and even the management is agile.