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Dutch Railways (NS Reizigers)

Makes its security management system flexible with Icologiq Elements

NS has been working with two security management and incident registration systems provided by Quality Online, the predecessor of Icologiq, for years. The organisation uses the technological upgrade to the new platform to include some functional needs in the new platform. "The platform lends itself to incremental improvements and therefore matches the way we organise IT today." An interview with Huub van der Wouden, software development manager at NS.

The IT at NS was organized within the various business units for years. This led to a patchwork of applications. CIO Hessel Dikkers has taken the initiative to centralise IT and create more coherence in the patchwork.

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Different systems

Most of the systems date back to the 1990s. Two systems were provided by Quality Online. One was in use at NedTrain, the other at Concern Security. Both need to be integrated into a single security management system. Since a migration to a completely new system is a large and risky project, NS decided to divide it into steps. The first is an as-is migration of both systems to the Icologiq Elements-platform. Incremental improvements will follow, in which the technical and functional systems will converge.

There is frequent interaction between the Icologiq development team, the project organisation of Van der Wouden, NS Reizigers and NedTrain. Even though NS now has a central IT department, the alignment with the business significant. "You can now see that the business is aware of what they will soon be able to do with the new platform. As a result, they also consider any additional requirements they might have. Since they quickly get a feel for the new platform, they can think about new features, which we will implement step-by-step. Thanks to this approach, we can better align the system with the wishes of users than if we would have chosen for a big-bang migration."

Part of process chain

The core of the two new safety management systems is reporting security incidents, ensuring adequate follow-up and the proper organisation of responsibilities. They are used for all safety records, from occupational accidents to technical defects. The registration and follow-up of incidents is supported with reports and analyses. Van der Wouden: "NS wants to strengthen the safety culture of the organisation. This platform will help thanks to proper monitoring of a number of KPIs, such as:

  • the number of reports
  • lead times
  • number of open issues
  • hiccups in incident follow-up
  • etc.

The EQMS platform better enables us to assess the effectiveness of processes and to adjust them if it turns out that something is not functioning properly."

Partner instead of supplier

NS demands that IT suppliers join their new Agile approach. "We look for partners who contribute their ideas, who want to address our challenges. In the past, we prescribed the requirements of a system, but now we want suppliers to contribute their ideas, to ask critical questions, and maybe even challenge our principles because they have a different view. This approach to cooperation results in better ideas. Our partnership with Icologiq is a testament to this."

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