sevDesk has set itself a long-term goal: market domination. But first, this provider of accounting services needs to make its IT more efficient. kreuzwerker is aiding sevDesk in transitioning to Kubernetes.
It’s the beginning of the month and sevDesk is working under pressure. Thousands of small business owners and self-employed individuals are uploading invoices and receipts for their advance VAT returns. The computers in the AWS cloud are humming and, as always, the booked capacity is sufficient to cope with the onslaught. This will also be the situation at the turn of the year when sevDesk customers are preparing their tax returns during the Christmas vacations and traffic swells to five times the annual average.
This is good. And bad. If the computers in the cloud only have to perform at full power for a few days a year and are figuratively twiddling their thumbs in the time in between, this is a huge waste - of computing power, energy and, of course, capital, because sevDesk always pays for the maximum power, even if it is not needed.
At first it wasn’t a problem that this software provider for small businesses was growing so rapidly. This is because there is huge potential in the market: out of a total of around 6.6 million small business owners in Germany, only less than ten percent use cloud-based software for their accounting. In a few years, sevDesk wants to serve at least one million of them. Fabian Silberer and Marco Reinbold, who founded sevDesk in 2013, decided that the situation had to be changed. A more efficient IT system that is constantly “breathing,” that always provides the exactly right service and only charges what is needed. Max Trense, Chief Architect at sevDesk since 2023, went and sought help and quickly found what he was looking for: kreuzwerker. “Colleagues had recommended kreuzwerker to me as a sparring partner, and I haven’t looked back since.”
The AWS partner from Berlin doesn’t just act as an extended workbench: “We’re developing a strategy together with sevDesk, modernizing and standardizing the processes and accompanying the customer on this journey,” emphasizes Kristine Jetzke, CTO at kreuzwerker. The following applies to all projects: “We train the customer’s employees so that they can handle everything themselves in the future. We don’t want to make customers dependent.”
The introduction of a Kubernetes platform is at the heart of the project. It scales automatically and absorbs load peaks immediately. The response time is less than two minutes. “That’s completely sufficient because we can plan the traffic well throughout the day and year,” says Trense. It’s also easier on the wallet. sevDesk currently pays around 8,000 euros per month for AWS services; at least 20 percent can now be saved. That doesn’t sound like much, and Max Trense admits: “The project initially costs more than it saves.” But if the growth in customers and therefore in IT resources continues at this rate, the economies of scale will result in considerable savings over the next few years. And will also contribute to sevDesk’s sustainability account.
The platform is also a great relief for the more than 100 developers at sevDesk. Previously, the development environment and production environment were separate, which could lead to unpleasant surprises when a new software functionality went live. In the future, developers will work on the same infrastructure as for the production environment, for example when debugging, load testing or when customers report problems.
If the test is successful, it will also work for the customer. Kubernetes is also a multi-tenant platform: development teams can work on different projects at the same time without influencing each other.
A pleasant side effect of the project for sevDesk is that it is more attractive on the job market. “Talents with cloud expertise are desperately sought after, the market is empty,” explains Max Trense. “Our previous IT stack, although only five years old, is almost the Stone Age for young applicants and nobody wants to deal with it anymore.” With the new Kubernetes platform, the company is highly up-to-date and appealing to young talent. This can already be seen in the rising number of applicants. Three new developers have already been hired during the project. This demonstrates that the Kubernetes platform makes onboarding much easier and new employees are productive much more quickly. “Until we have enough developers on board, kreuzwerker helps us to fill the gaps - even outside of the actual project.”
Can’t wait to work with kreuzwerker again
Max Trense, Chief-Architect at sevDesk, rates the collaboration with kreuzwerker as positive throughout.
*“kreuzwerkers think with us and work proactively, they solve problems quickly,” he says. “I have a good feeling and am very relaxed about the project.” *
He knows of what he speaks. In his previous job with other IT service providers, things never went so smoothly. The project with the Kubernetes platform will be completed in April 2024, but that is probably not the end.
Trense: "We still have a lot planned, and we will definitely get kreuzwerker on board again.”
All about sevDesk
Fabian Silberer and Marco Reinbold founded sevDesk in 2013 while studying business informatics. Both are children of self-employed parents and saw their fathers sacrifice their weekends for bookkeeping at an early age. “We wanted to build a better alternative.” Since the market launch of the software in 2014, sevDesk GmbH, based in Offenburg, has developed into a fast-growing provider of digital accounting. The product of the same name, sevDesk, offers a cloud-based solution for the self-employed, freelancers and small companies with up to ten employees. Thanks to sevDesk, bookkeeping tasks, from invoicing to advance VAT returns and income statements to collaboration with tax advisors, are made more efficient. In doing so, sevDesk relies on automation, artificial intelligence and mobile working through cloud-based web and smartphone applications. More than 200 employees now work at sevDesk across Germany.