The provider of planet-friendly food- and flower-growing strategies transforms its business model using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).
“As our business evolved, OCI proved to be the ideal solution for moving all our workloads to the cloud. Across our development, data science, and application delivery activities, OCI provides the most flexible, scalable, and cost-effective cloud platform.”
The world has a food production problem. Traditional farming operations are often seasonal, inefficient consumers of natural resources, and prone to supply chain obstacles. But an emerging technology-based approach, known as controlled-environment agriculture (CEA), is empowering a new strain of growers to solve these challenges. CEA employs methods such as indoor agriculture and vertical farming to optimize the use of human and natural resources. The global market size of CEA is estimated to reach a value of $100 billion by 2030.
Netherlands-based Delphy is a growing player in the industry. The company’s mission is to optimize worldwide production of food and flowers by developing and implementing knowledge and expertise that contribute to health, food safety, sustainability, and the well-being of the planet.
Founded in 1999, Delphy’s original business model offered on-site consulting services to CEA growers, mostly in Western Europe. As demand for its services grew, the company was challenged to hire and retain consulting talent. In 2017, a new business initiative known as Delphy Digital was launched to transform the organization from a consultancy to a software company. This metamorphosis solved the talent problem and also eliminated the cost and logistics of placing consultants on site, which was threatening the company’s vitality and global aspirations.
Delphy now focuses on using artificial intelligence in the cultivation management process by collecting proprietary and third- party data and applying algorithms to predict how a given crop will grow under the expected conditions. Essentially, the software and the science behind it optimizes every decision made by the grower.
Originally, Delphy used a customized Microsoft Windows on-premises technology platform managed by a third party. But in becoming a software company, Delphy needed an infrastructure to support product development, networking, and data analysis.
Using OCI Data Science, we can predict the optimal harvesting moments for different crops. We can then use an application we quickly developed with Oracle APEX to share the data we’re managing with Oracle Database Cloud Service.
Why Delphy chose Oracle
Delphy’s digital transformation has its roots in Oracle’s on-premises back-office applications and IT infrastructure. As the company started developing customer-facing applications for specific crops, Oracle’s local team planted the seed that Oracle Application Express (APEX) would be a perfect fit.
Once deployed, the company’s developers came to appreciate the limitless potential and flexibility of APEX, which was originally hosted on-premises, the company needed to offer a software-as-a-service product so that clients could adopt it anywhere.
After evaluating cloud platform providers, Delphy selected Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) because of its low cost, breadth of cloud services, and the robust capabilities of APEX already enjoyed by Delphy’s developers.
OCI provides the essential cloud platform that scales to Delphy’s global expansion, helping the company yield greater results with fewer people and lower capital investments.
The initial scope of the project was simply to migrate Oracle APEX development and Oracle Database management activities from on-premises to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and Oracle Standard Database Service. The project soon expanded to hosting the compute, storage, and networking workloads associated with Delphy’s customer-facing SaaS applications.
Meanwhile, as the company eliminated consultancy roles, it began to build a team of data scientists. These data scientists prefer to do simulations and calculations using Python, a general-purpose programming language known for its ease of use and versatility. Using OCI Data Science, the time to run simulations dropped from hours to just minutes.
The data scientists' findings augmented Delphy’s existing CEA knowledge base along with climate and weather data gathered from numerous outside sources. As the OCI project evolved, the company tapped the same development and operations used for creating customer-facing applications to create and test the data science scripts and bring them into production on OCI.
In 2021, AgriFORCE acquired Delphy, which will continue to operate independently under its original brand. AgriFORCE seeks to grow organically and via acquisition with the mission of amplifying the positive impact of CEA undertakings globally.
Today, Delphy is operating with a staff of 250 across multiple teams. The development team builds and maintains applications for nine crops, with more in the works. The data science team continuously delivers findings that enrich the quality of the SaaS applications and knowledge base used by customers and consultants within AgriFORCE’s network. Automated Programming Interface (API) connections to OCI from climate and weather data providers augment the knowledge base. Today, OCI is the single cloud platform for all of Delphy’s data and workloads
Transforming from a consultancy to a software company completely changed Delphy’s financial model. IT support expenditures were optimized by using OCI as a single technology stack supporting development, data analysis, networking, and application delivery activities. Delphy yielded greater results with fewer people and lower capital investments while also gaining a scalable cloud platform that enhanced its ability to expand globally.
Delphy selected The DOC to help guide the initial move to OCI in just two months. From that point forward, The DOC advised the company to implement OCI Data Science services as well. The partner continues to provide essential management services to the company, freeing up staff to focus on essential business activities such as application development and data analysis.
About the customer
Delphy’s SaaS applications guide growers at each step of the cultivation process, enabling them to harvest crops to their unique and precise standards such as taste, size, and desired yield.