You don’t usually put a significant part of your business into the hands of a third party unless you really trust them. That’s exactly what KPN, the largest telco in the Netherlands, did recently when it moved its .NL registration business to the OpenHRS platform on the same day as the NL Registry moved to a new back-end registration system.
KPN is the leading telecommunications and information and communications technology (ICT) service provider in The Netherlands, offering wireline and wireless telephony, internet and TV to consumers, and end-to-end telecommunications and ICT services to business customers.
With more than 33,000 full-time employees, millions of customers and $13.5 billion Euros in revenue in 2009, KPN is a huge player in the communications sector in Holland. That reach is beginning to spread through other countries in Europe and as far away as the USA. KPN boasts 2.5 million broadband Internet customers, representing about 43% of the market in the Netherlands as of 2009. The company controls about 50% of the Dutch mobile phone market and over half of the fixed phone line market.
OpenSRS Reseller since 1999
The company has been an OpenSRS reseller since 2000, starting with a move to OpenSRS from Network Solutions when the domain name industry was opened up to competition in 1999.
Joost Pisters, Senior Consultant, KPN, remembers the initial conversations about moving to OpenSRS. “I heard about this company, OpenSRS. I contacted one of the sales guys on the phone and he offered to fly out next week to have a talk,” he says.
“‘What? You’re actually going to come to see us? In person?’” he recalls asking, incredulously. Pisters says he knew then that OpenSRS was a company with a focus on customer service. “That showed me that OpenSRS had a totally different attitude towards resellers and towards the business,” he says.
KPN and OpenSRS enjoyed a ten-year relationship with KPN using the OpenSRS system to manage all of its domain registrations with the exception of .NL domains, for which KPN is an accredited registrar.
In-house or Out-source?
In the spring of 2010, the .NL Registry was requiring Registrars to move to a fully automated registry model with an Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) interface. The change would literally happen overnight and all registrars were required to rewrite their systems to comply with the changes on the registry side.
KPN had developed and maintained its own registrar platform since 1997 to handle its .NL business, but the switch to EPP at the Registry gave them a good reason to look at whether that was the best way to operate.
The company decided to move everything over to the OpenHRS Registrar solution that OpenSRS provides. OpenHRS is built on the same technology that powers the OpenSRS domain management platform and is used by registrars around the world looking for a powerful, managed solution that integrates with leading domain registries.
Pisters says KPN makes a point of looking at off-the-shelf solutions when ever it can, and consolidating operational processes between .NL and the rest of its domain registration interfaces made good business sense.
“We already had an interface with OpenSRS, so why not use it for our .NL domains?” says Pisters. Because the two platforms are essentially the same, integrations with OpenSRS work seamlessly with OpenHRS, offering Resellers an easy upgrade path if they ever decide to become an accredited registrar.
A successful switch
In the weeks and months before the big switchover, OpenSRS worked very closely with KPN to ensure that both companies were ready. “The team did a fantastic job, quite literally working day and night in the weeks leading up to the switch. They had a tremendous job to do and everything was successful,” says Pisters of the work done to get everything ready.
On the big day, KPN was registering .NL domains through OpenHRS an hour after the registry came back online after moving to its new EPP implementation.
“It worked great. You guys had time issues as well, but that is to be expected. Even if you are an agile, fast-moving company like OpenSRS is, it’s still a big undertaking,” says Pisters.
It’s a matter of trust
Both Pisters and KPN realized that there are risks taken on with a project like this one, but Pisters says he always felt confident that OpenSRS would pull it off.
“It’s a huge trust thing. Giving .NL to you guys [OpenSRS] in such a short period of time was risky. It’s always risky to do something like that, but if I was confident with anybody, it’s with OpenSRS,” he says.
For KPN and Pisters, it came down to the long-term relationship that KPN had with OpenSRS.
“Based on everything that we’ve done together over the last ten years, I had complete confidence in you guys delivering what you had promised us,” says Pisters. “That’s exactly what you guys did.”