When people think of the technology that is transforming the world around us, they think Silicon Valley and innovative startups. Few have Tramore, Co. Waterford on their radar.
But before we get into the story of nearForm, the Tramore-based company winning huge enterprise customers, let’s look at the changing tech landscape.
Enterprise software development is facing some challenges. Large monolith software systems are increasingly difficult to update. Think of online banking apps with poor user experience and well-known eCommerce websites with painful purchase processes. In this environment, a small change can take months to implement. 9-month release cycles, stressful working environments and an IP that stays with the employer complete the not-so-pretty picture.
Once upon a time software was only necessary for SaaS companies. Now every company on the Fortune 500 needs to be a tech company with cutting edge software at its core. Hotel Groups, Cruise Liner Companies, Media Conglomerates and more all need to centre their entire experience on the customer. Think apps, booking engines, mobile experience and in-store technology. These days the customer experience needs to be seamless. As customers we expect this and if the enterprise cannot deliver we will find an alternative.
That is where the open source revolution comes into play. Passionate people work on open source projects for little or no pay, driven by the knowledge that there is a better way, a brighter future. Three emerging trends have a significant impact on enterprise software: Node.js, Containers and Micro-Services. In layman terms, this turns monolithic software systems into a necklace with hundreds or thousands of parts. Each part can be swapped out or upgraded in a short space of time allowing rapid development and response to customers needs.
Back to nearForm, a global company with its HQ in Tramore. Founded in 2012 nearForm were the first company outside of Silicon Valley to focus on Node.js consulting for the enterprise. To date, nearForm have done more Node.js deployments for enterprise than anyone else globally. To understand the impact, take Walmart as an example. The software development team there transformed the US retail giant’s mobile e-commerce platform to Node.js, which contributed to two extremely successful and uneventful Black Fridays. The man who ran that team was Eran Hammer, a high-profile member of the global Node.js community. After he left Walmart, he joined nearForm in Tramore as a senior architect.
The conventional wisdom is that a company like nearForm needs to be based in Silicon Valley and secure large funding rounds to be successful. Surely that is how you attract the superstars? Bucking this trend nearForm are based in an Irish seaside village with a decentralised team of engineers from across the globe. The nearForm ethos puts developers and their families first and allows staff to retain their IP. This ethos enabled nearForm to attract the superstar names in the world of Node.js and Micro-Services such as Eran to work for the company and in many cases live in Tramore. These engineers are attracted by the opportunity and quality of life on Ireland’s copper coast.
— Kevin Mitchell (@kevin7mitchell) June 11, 2015
nearForm’s customers include Intel, Ancestry.com, Conde Nast, Fandango and DPD to name a few. This year the company opened up offices in London and New York to keep up with growing demand.
This story is about more than nearForm. It’s about changes in the way people work and how corporations treat their employees. People can now work and make a decent living in the town where they grew up. Or escape cities and migrate to the country to bring up a family. The relationship between corporations and their employees is rebalanced in favour of the family. That is huge news for Ireland’s diaspora and people pressurised to move away from their hometown.
Keep an eye on towns like Tramore, where the next generation of Ireland’s talent is building world-beating companies.