From microservices to ML - take the step from thought to action with cloud technologies

The text was originally published in CW 17.12.20 – see here

Norwegian company Computas is expanding in Denmark and is one of the technology partners receiving both local and international attention from Google.

Based on the extensive coverage of the potential of Machine Learning in recent years, one would expect a large number of successful ML projects in operation in Danish companies. However, success stories are few and far between.

“There are many exciting ideas about how to apply ML. But it often stops at talk. Few ideas are implemented – and when they are, the solutions are rarely fully implemented. Primarily because it can be difficult to connect them to the companies’ legacy systems,” notes Jon-Gunnar Aasen, CEO, Computas Denmark.

He observes the paradox that as private individuals, we all have access to the latest cloud-based technology on our smartphones – but it’s almost like traveling back in time when logging into an ERP system.

“Ideally, mission-critical IT systems should help make things more efficient. But they are largely built like monoliths. They are inflexible, and when you change one thing, you also have to change a lot of other things. Cloud technology can help solve complex business challenges and make it easier to take advantage of, for example, Machine Learning. However, it requires special skills and expertise to succeed,” notes Jon-Gunnar Aasen.

Building a bridge between the cloud and legacy systems

Norwegian-owned Computas has been working with mission-critical systems since 1985 and established a Danish headquarters on Højbro Plads in the heart of Copenhagen in 2019. They are experiencing rapid growth, soon to hire their 20th employee, and are focusing on leveraging cloud-based opportunities. This includes building microservices and utilizing cloud technologies such as Google Anthos to help companies bridge the gap between the cloud and their existing application portfolio.

“It’s about reaping the benefits of modern cloud technology while minimizing risk and complexity. Google has some really interesting technologies that we have spent the past few years exploring. For example, Google Cloud Tools offers various options to accelerate the adoption of ML and Analytics without the need to delve into the core of legacy systems,” says Jon-Gunnar Aasen.

Innovative solution attracts attention

Computas has developed a cloud-based ML solution for one of the largest electronics chains in the Nordics, POWER, providing customers with more accurate and relevant product recommendations. The solution is now a crucial element in POWER’s omnichannel strategy, ensuring customers receive consistent recommendations across all channels, and information collected online is also available in-store.

Another example is one of Norway’s largest public transport companies, Kolumbus, which uses an ML solution from Computas to predict delays and positions for the company’s 450 buses up to a year in advance. This is made possible by granting the algorithm access to connect holiday information and data from other external sources with the buses’ historical position data.

The Kolumbus solution uses Google Cloud Platform and has garnered so much attention that Google has used it as an international case study.

Google: Computas aligns 100% with our values

Locally, Google also highly acknowledges Computas as a partner that early on recognized the opportunities in the innovative and pragmatic use of cloud technology.

“Computas was among the first in the Nordics to truly see the potential in connecting the company’s internal tools, data streams, and solutions with external tools, such as our cloud. Today, this provides them with the foundation to build effective analytical tools that integrate very well with the company’s mission-critical systems, which are incredibly efficient and provide answers rapidly,” says Christian Stahl, Partner Manager at Google Denmark.

“They are also very serious about the competence and certification levels of their employees and are fundamentally one of those partners you confidently turn to for solving a genuinely complex business problem. At the same time, they embrace the idea that it should be easy to get into – and out of – Google Cloud. For example, if at some point, you come across another solution or platform that better suits the company’s needs. It aligns 100 percent with our own values,” Christian Stahl concludes.