B3Partners BV (Netherlands)

B3Partners BV is based in the Netherlands and provides software using geographical maps to mostly governmental organizations, like municipalities, provinces, safety organizations and water management organizations. Our customers use our map software to do planning or preparing permits. Most maps contain a wide variety of data, like the ownership of buildings, the exact location of items in the public area and current environmental plans. Every night changes are collected to keep the maps with data up to date. B3Partners uses Open Source software and all software we develop ourselves is also donated back to the public domain as Open Source software (see Github.com/b3partners).

Until recently B3Partners used a database with some generic tooling to keep track of project, finances and resources. Only time tracking was done with a self-developed dedicated application. This method has worked for many years as we are a technical oriented organization that could cope with these generic database tools. Nevertheless, there are severe drawbacks in working in this way:

  • accidental deletes or wrong inputs could only be remedied by a restore of a complete database;
  • there is no record of the person doing the input;
  • workflow depends on manual actions without checks.

Another drawback is the lack of a standardized way of doing things. If a wiki seemed handier, data was put in a wiki. A spreadsheet also is appealing to use for a quick report; next the spreadsheet is used for many years and it exists in many versions.

B3Partners now exists over the 20 years and (too) many processes and datasets came in use for the control of the operation. It was time to migrate to a new platform that was capable of handling all our needs. But we wanted to retain our flexibility. Over a year we have investigated several options with a focus on configuration management databases or IT service management software. Every single one of the investigated applications tried to force a new way of working for us. Of course it is nice to have industry standards implemented and ready to go, but we never wanted to use most of those pre-configured processes of datasets.

We were testing CMDBuild READY2USE and we were close to discard this option as well, since this pre-configured environment was not in line with our needs, when we found out that we could also use the basic CMDBuild, and implement our own processes completely in the way we wanted. This was very promising. We were carrying out our investigations right when the new CMDBuild version 3 was delivered by Tecnoteca. We were pleasantly surprised by the responsive support desk and the prompt bug fixes. This all gave us confidence in the product CMDBuild and in the company behind it: Tecnoteca.

Step by step we have implemented the following functions:

  • Simple CRM with contacts and organizations;
  • Project and task definitions with export to external GANTT chart application;
  • Timesheets coupled to projects and tasks and a home-grown timesheet application;
  • Configuration management for servers and software (as hosted for our customers);
  • Update workflow for the software we host for our customers;
  • Future invoices and accounts payable (addition to external accounting software) including cash flow prognosis;
  • And, finally, several sanity checks over all mentioned administrations.

Today all our employees feel comfortable using CMDBuild and we will surely continue to build more processes into the system. We will investigate some of the more advanced CMDBuild features and probably we will include these in the next versions of our implementation. CMDBuild is flexible, so we expect to be able to anticipate on any future development. Also, we are developers ourselves, so we may give a hand.

Chris van Lith Msc - Owner B3Partners BV