Our Case Studies: An Overview Of Our Projects

Jon Cowling 11-Feb-2016 16:34:52

Our Case Studies: An Overview Of Our Projects

At DSP, we’re proud of the projects that we have completed, and we’re delighted that our clients are happy with what has been delivered. Our vast experience and history of successful implementations has cemented us as a reputable Oracle partner, and we have worked with a number of globally recognised organisations.

In this article, we provide an overview of four key DSP projects.


Metroline is a massive company that specialise in providing bus services to London Buses, operating across the capital. As a subsidiary of Singapore-based ComfortDelGro, Metroline is a key part of one of the biggest transport companies in the world. The organisation employs over five thousand people, and their services carry over 250 million passengers every year.

Metroline’s IT department are tasked with managing complex infrastructure in order to keep their enormous fleet functioning effectively. They were due to implement a standard upgrade of their Oracle E-Business Suite, needed the extra DBA resource that dsp could provide.

dsp undertook the upgrade task, and also provided managed services and support, so the Metroline team could access DBA expertise without the commitment of full-time employment. The need for guidance on Oracle backup and disaster recovery and the requirement for seamless upgrades and effective maintenance made dsp the perfect solution for Metroline.

The results of this relationship were hugely beneficial for Metroline, as it enabled them to have 24/7 access to DBA expertise, covering the potential issue of a lack of resources. The costs of employing full time staff was eliminated, and the IT team could relax in the knowledge that their Oracle E-Business Suite was being managed and maintained by experienced professionals.

“dsp have become our Oracle partner of choice. They are committed to providing quality consultants, advice and support and do so in a professional and caring fashion. With a recent successful upgrade of the E-Business Suite, we certainly feel very comfortable with dsp.” – Naresh Patel, Head of IT, Metroline.


Hotels.com is the leading provider of hotel accommodation on the planet. The company operates 85 websites in 34 different languages, and lists nearly a quarter of a million hotels and accommodation providers.

This was a hugely successful relationship centred around the nurturing of Agile Development and the adoption of new principles in the delivery of creative products. Through the implementation of a new strategy, aided by the team at dsp, Hotels.com were able to release new products every two weeks, rather than over a 26 week period. Ultimately, Hotels.com wanted to speed up the development life cycle, and the Agile approach needed to be implemented in the purest sense.

Hotels.com were looking for a reputable software house within close proximity to their Covent Garden office, as the principles of Agile Development mean that teamwork is essential. dsp’s ideal location made us instantly appealing to the Hotels.com team, and it soon became clear that our collaborative spirit, our honest approach, and our expertise matched perfectly with their expectations.

The solution was to build a strong Agile team to undertake projects. After an initial task of splitting the application, dsp and Hotels.com worked together to create a team that would improve the Systems Development Life-Cycle (SDLC) and develop a more efficient and effective process within the business.

The results for Hotels.com are remarkable, and continue to positively impact their business. By utilising the Agile approach, they are now able to undertake better product testing with regards to sales & conversions, and deliver fresh new ideas much quicker, benefiting the success of the business overall.

“The evidence is that the people from dsp really do care and have a sense of ownership and responsibility, which is quite rare. The integrity shines through, they play fair and communicate very well and I feel like I am getting value for money.” – Stuart Silberg, Vice President of Technology, Hotels.com.


Ladbrokes, as the largest betting company in Britain and the biggest retail bookmaker in the world, require significant reliability and speed in the back and front end of their systems.

As Ladbrokes expanded, they realised that they needed to improve their existing Oracle E-Business Suite enterprise resource planning system (ERP) to maintain consistent progress and success. Ladbrokes were running Oracle E-Business Suite for financials and HR, but as the business expanded, there were concerns about the long-term stability of mission-critical applications.

Primary considerations were payroll, financial reporting (stock exchange), and payments to key suppliers. Although the systems were working adequately, Ladbrokes wanted to future-proof their systems and implement a safe and reliable system. Ladbrokes handle approximately £16 billion every year, and every transaction happens in real-time. The industry is unique in the instant and time-sensitive nature of its actions and transactions, and for this reason, downtime is absolutely unacceptable.

After providing support to Ladbrokes for many years, dsp were asked to find a solution, and our team proceeded to implement faster and more powerful Sun servers. The existing database tier was moved to a more powerful Sun M5000 Server, and then dsp focused on assisting Ladbrokes with the seamless migration to the new Oracle Solaris system.

The results for Ladbrokes were outstanding, with an overall performance increase of between 50 – 80%. Whilst payroll accounting used to take approximately 11 hours, it now takes just three hours. Furthermore, employee record reports originally took 40 minutes to process, and now only take six minutes.

“We had confidence in our partner, dsp. We knew they would provide the technical resources and know-how, and ask the right questions. They‘re not one of Oracle‘s biggest partners, but they are quite celebrated. Having a strong relationship with dsp was key to us being successful in this project.” – John Barnes, Team Leader For Corporate Systems at Ladbrokes.


The Institute For Strategic Studies is a registered charity, with its headquarters in London. It is recognised as a ‘think tank’ specialising in international affairs, and is described as “the world’s leading authority on political-military conflict”. They pride themselves in easing friction between nations through detailed research, publications, and conferences.

In order to run their operations effectively, IISS depend on real-time applications across global communications. Their IT infrastructure needs to be incredibly reliable, without risk of downtime and without risk of data loss. The greater level of resilience was delivered by dsp in the form of multiple geographically dispersed servers, with the maximum recovery time of 30 seconds in the event of data centre disaster. The savings that were delivered as a result means that the project was effectively self-funded.

IISS’ aim was to achieve availability that was tolerant of a site outage, whether this is caused by a network communications failure, loss of a server, or any other disaster.

The solution that dsp developed for IISS was to recommend a geo cluster solution, allowing servers that can failover from one to another within 30 seconds. These are technically challenging to design and build, but dsp recommended that a better ROI would be achieved by extending this to other applications. The conferencing facility on the website, the database or armed conflicts (used by governments across the globe), and their enterprise CRM we running on older and more costly environments – so provided an opportunity to cost-saving and increased reliability.

The business results for IISS are fantastic, and include;

  • 100% availability
  • Failover in 30 seconds
  • 60% reduction in hardware
  • 60% reduction in database instances and software costs
  • Tenfold increase in performance
  • Standardised and easier to support
  • Self-funding from savings

As part of the service, dsp identified a number of older database servers and found that 10 were less than 50% utilisation. Together with the increased speed and power of the new servers, the total number is reduced to four – a 60% consolidation. The project delivered a 60% reduction in hardware and hosting costs, and a 60% reduction in software maintenance. Cumulative savings over three years total £170k.

Above all, overall risk has been reduced in many instances from very high to minimal or very low. This was a challenging project, but our expertise and experience allowed us to implement a very rare and innovative solution for an important organisation.

“Over the years, we have worked with many third parties. dsp is one of the most professional – once timescales were agreed they were met every step of the way.” – Neil Goodman, Chief Technology Officer at IISS.