Company Beliefs and Goals

The non-marketing What do we do? and the Fundamental business principles that apply to any business provide the context for our Beliefs and Goals. See Alignment Framework for how they relate to values.

What do we do?

This is a no-marketing one sentence explanation what we do. If someone asks you "what does VSHN do?" this is a good answer.

We automate software build, deploy, provisioning, backup, observability, alerting and incident management for production applications on any cloud with 24/7 support.

Fundamental business principles

Most VSHNeers are engineers and don’t have a business background. We’ll repeat some business basics here (inspired by The Personal MBA book) to set some context for beliefs & goals for any business and that’s not specific to VSHN:

  • We create value.

  • We attract customers.

  • We complete sales.

  • We deliver value.

  • We bring in enough money.

Beliefs

We call Beliefs the direction we’re heading and the intentions we aspire to achieve. Other companies call them "vision" and "mission."

We want our customers to not have to worry about operations of their online business. This gives them:

Freedom

Being able to freely choose what to do in evenings/weekends/vacations because they know we’ll watch their back.

Order

Structured GitOps reduces (manual) chaos.

Power

The customer is in control of their application, we empower DevOps.

By default everything will be OK; if it’s not, we’ll contact them and we’ll be there to help them fix it.

We help the customer to achieve that by
  • Establishing and sharing best practices in software operations, security processes and tooling.

  • Providing trustworthy tools enabling the shift-left in responsibility through self-service.

  • Enabling the customer to focus energy on their core competency, improving their (online) business, without having to worry about generic tooling.

  • Being close to the customer, being 24/7 reachable and approachable for the customer, establishing personal relationships, collaborating.

  • Helping to integrate innovative technology.

  • Solving problems using existing tools and products from VSHN and partners whenever possible, or creating new ones should they better align with our goals and beliefs.

We believe that this means technology wise
  • Applications belong in containers by default.

  • All manual recurring effort is reduced as much as possible through automation.

For that we use
  • Kubernetes both as a common control plane for service provisioning and for container orchestration.

  • Kubernetes offering from the cloud provider. If there is no usable Kubernetes available, we provide Kubernetes in virtual machines.

  • Services (Database, Cache, Search, Queue, etc.) offered by the cloud provider. If there are no matching services available, we provide them on top of Kubernetes.

    • If there is no way to run a service on Kubernetes, we can make an exception and run it directly on virtual machines.

  • Infrastructure building blocks (for example storage, shared file systems, load balancers, etc.) from the cloud provider. If not possible or available we provide them on top of Kubernetes ourselves. If not possible or feasible we provide them ourselves using Managed Servers on virtual machines.

beliefs technical.drawio
Figure 1. Technical Beliefs

We believe this collaboration creates benefits for the customer, thereby making them more successful:

  • Higher speed of delivery enabling lower turnaround time for features, faster time to market and higher business agility.

  • Higher availability and reproducibility and less risks.

  • Higher software developer happiness.

North Star Goals

North Star Goals are long-term, high-level, aspirational goals. They’re more tangible than Beliefs but it’s still highly unlikely we’ll ever get there.

VSHNeers are the happiest employees

As per our values we care about People. We care about VSHNeers because we believe they’re our most valuable assets. Even though we’re a technology company we know tools and code is ephemeral, people aren’t. Therefore we want to provide all VSHNeers an environment for them to be happy, thrive, grow, develop new skills and self-actualize.

We do full stack operations of application, platform and infrastructure management

We believe all our customers shouldn’t have to worry about operations even though they’re responsible themselves for the full Dev & Ops of their application. To be able to successfully do that we believe they need to limit their scope of attention to the fields they’re experts in (Software Development) and leverage existing, proven tools and processes that we can help them with.

Zero effort needed by customer to get started working with us

We want to absorb the complexity of tools and processes needed to do operations well. We know there is a learning curve in the shift-left of responsibility in DevOps, therefore we want to help our partners to get started as smoothly as possible.

Operations are fully automated

We believe one of the benefits of establishing best practices and the tooling required for them is to be able to scale operations, that’s provide bigger benefits at lower cost, for our partners. To reach that, we need to continuously work on automating ourselves out of our jobs so that additional customers don’t generate additional technical operations effort for us.

20% net operating margin (EBIT profitability)

Every business needs to be profitable to be sustainable and to be able to afford investments like product development. The owners of VSHN have set 20% net operating margin to be the north star goal for the ratio between Earnings before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) and total turnover.

Two Year Goals 2021 & 2022

Two Year Goals are what we want to achieve in the next 2 years.

Increase VSHNeer happiness

VSHNeers are the most important asset for VSHN, as per the VSHN values. VSHNeers have been under a lot of stress:

  • world wide pandemic

  • quickly growing start up company with many forms of support (tooling, processes, etc) and product development lagging behind needs

  • profitable business model and product-market-fit

The primary goal for VSHN in the next period is to increase VSHNeer happiness, in line with our first north star goal of VSHNeers are the happiest employees. We track this in the key metric employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), where we think we should reach at least a score of 60.

Grow and increase gross margin

The secondary goal for this period is to grow and increase the gross margin of VSHN products and services. While "make more money" isn’t that "sexy" of a goal it’s necessary in many ways to focus and scale our business:

  • being able to invest in VSHNeer happiness: improve focus by getting rid of unhappiness inducing old products & projects, increasing base salary by 20%, and hire more great VSHNeers

  • more sales, focused on more profitable VSHN products & solutions, to reach the scaling phase of the business

  • focus our work on products that customers enjoy working with, leading to a customer Net Promoter Score NPS >= 70