Equal partners pushing each other to maximize efficiency

What started out at networking receptions in Las Vegas has developed into a long-term collaboration spanning years.

23 G Michiel Schipper

Now, Digital agency 23G and AWS partners inQdo and Trend Micro know each other so well they can finish each other’s sentences. 23G, based in Rotterdam, conceives, builds and manages websites and apps and creates solution software for businesses.

Together, these three companies are responsible for keeping the total intranet at world-famous Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam up and running, and they support major multinationals like TUI and MasterCard. The time came when work at 23G began to take on such complex forms that they needed to turn to a “big boy”, a company specialized in all AWS services like hosting and security. The choice came down to inQdo and Trend Micro, and that was the start of a beautiful friendship.

At 23G, Michiel Schipper’s job is to convince prospects and win projects with creativity and strategy. Founded in 2006 by Chris Jansen, today this digital agency has branches in Rotterdam, London, New York and Las Vegas. The company motto has even become a hashtag: #kangewoon, Dutch for (loosely translated) “sure we can”, because 23G wants its clients to know that anything is possible and no idea is too unconventional or too crazy. “That’s the mentality that has enabled us to not only grow, but become more professional,” says Michiel. “Now that we’re ISO-certified, and NEN-certified, and we’re a Laravel-certified company, that opens a lot of doors and gives our clients a lot more confidence in us.”

What makes 23G stand out as a company?

“We don’t believe in saying ‘no’. When people believe that something is impossible, that’s when we just keep pushing through until we understand everything and make it happen. In our opinion, we do that very well, and we only work with the clients who are a good fit for us. Having the right match works best for everyone. We are very transparent; when you start working with us, we basically give you the keys to our office. As a client, you engage directly with our entire team, with no insulating layers in-between.”

Can you tell us about any of your recent projects?

“For Nines, a New York startup, we developed a digital platform from the ground up to help property managers, that is, the managers of the property portfolios of affluent families, supervise and direct all the household staff. This can mean large numbers of personnel, and until recently this was all done analog, with notes on paper and PDFs; now all the knowledge is digital, secure, and easily accessible to the people who need it. So they can see at a glance where all the boats and cars are, and make sure that for the ski trip to Aspen the right pillows and the right flowers are ready and waiting in the chalet, and the air conditioning is dialled in right ahead of time, and all that.”

How did your partnership with inQdo and Trend Micro come about?

“It started in Las Vegas, at the annual AWS trade show re:Invent. That’s where we met inQdo and Trent Micro. And there was a networking event there called Benelux Drinks, a happy hour specially for AWS partners from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. So we three Dutch teams decided to take that to the next level: to really go all the way with it, with real Dutch bar snacks, a Dutch-style pub quiz, and just trading stories. That’s been going on for years now, and it’s really from that contact that the partnership arose. inQdo helped us raise our game in terms of efficiency and showed us how to get the most out of AWS.”

'inQdo knows all kinds of tricks to do that as efficiently as possible and keep the costs down.'

Michiel Schipper

“We can call on Trend Micro for any questions about security. Especially because we work for hospitals and pharmacists, having a partner in Trend Micro who thinks with us, but also pushes back, is incredibly important. We have a huge number of AWS services for Erasmus MC because everything has to keep running 24/7; inQdo knows all kinds of tricks to do that as efficiently as possible and keep the costs down. There’s so many smarter ways to go about it than just adding new servers. Thanks to inQdo we are always learning how to use the AWS services even more effectively. We work with them very closely – they’re in our office every week and they really engage with our people at the project level. We ourselves are also a certified AWS partner, but inQdo is a true virtuoso in AWS. That means that we can spend our time on what we are best at: developing digital products.”

In what kinds of projects do you see your different expertise coming together?

“For example, in the digital transformation that we delivered for a metal recycling company. We developed business solution software for them to make their originally fully analog process of waste and metal processing fully digital. Things like the scales, for example: until then all the weights were handwritten on a note; now the scales have a direct link to the cloud. This client’s whole system is now in the cloud, which is a first for the entire sector. inQdo was closely involved in the entire process and helped us make the right choices. Not just in the code, but also in the servers and the scalability of the system, to allow us to use it and reuse it for other customers.”