Business challenge

If you’re in the business of building digital apps, you want to focus on development—not infrastructure management. How could Differential help its team deliver great solutions, quickly and easily?


Choosing a platform-as-a-service model proved to be the perfect fit for Differential; it uses IBM Compose to help develop and manage innovative apps for clients.



developer productivity by freeing teams from tedious and time-consuming IT admin


scalability helps Differential keep apps running reliably even as client demands grow


delivery, enabling clients to put innovative products into production faster

Business challenge story

Driving client success

These days, it seems like everybody has a software component to their company, but not every team has the resources or the know-how to bring new applications to market. That’s where Differential stands out. The digital product agency goes beyond typical development services to offer support and coaching that help deliver long-term success for clients.

One such client is Organized Living, a manufacturer of custom storage and organization solutions for the home. When Organized Living came to Differential with a brief for an easy-to-use 3D visualization tool, Differential produced something that was not only useful, but gorgeous too.

Gerard Sychay, Product Lead at Differential, explains the situation before the project began: “Organized Living had been taking closet design orders through a bare, 2D app that stored hard-coded images and inventory. The original app didn't even have the latest inventory because it was too hard to update.”

Differential's approach replaced the previous 2D closet design with a new 3D interactive app. The company even integrated the new app with Organized Living’s back-end enterprise resource planning (ERP) system so that customers could visualize actual inventory.

“The final product amounted to an online CAD program for designing closets,” notes Sychay. “It has replaced an older, spreadsheet-based dealer ordering process and has enabled Organized Living to increase consumer sales.”

This project is indicative of the types of solutions that Differential has been building for its customers since 2013. So how does the company make it all happen? By harnessing the power of cloud-based managed services like the IBM Compose database-as-a-service offering.

The quality of all of our interactions with the IBM Compose team is top-notch.

Gerard Sychay, Product Lead, Differential

Transformation story

Taking development to the cloud

Differential uses a cloud-based app hosting platform and IBM Compose for MongoDB for databases. By opting for this platform-as-a-service model, the company can build responsive apps for its clients without getting bogged down by day-to-day administration.

The app development platform enables Differential’s developers to focus on building a great experience with fewer lines of code. It also leverages MongoDB, and the development team at Differential finds immense value in being able to model data in the database the same way as it models data in the code.

Differential has been using IBM Compose for many years now, and has always been able to count on excellent service and functionality.

Gerard Sychay states: “The quality of all of our interactions with the IBM Compose team is top-notch. Everything from the administration console to the documentation and even to the company culture.”

Results story

Staying ahead of the curve

Differential has done a lot with a small team of twenty-five professionals. By turning to managed cloud services, it has freed up its people to focus on clients' success.

For instance, Compose's elastic scaling provides much needed automation, meaning that Differential can seamlessly keep pace with clients’ growing capacity and performance demands as their projects take off—without additional management effort.

“We try very hard to educate and build a support network for our partners,” remarks Gerard Sychay. “A lot of that includes automation, so any instance where we can make this process easier for ourselves and our partners is a huge success.”

For Differential, success is rooted in achieving an extremely close relationship with the companies that have turned to it for help. Selecting the right tools is part of what it means to build a great partnership with each and every client.

Gerard Sychay concludes: “There are always going to be competitors that can offer very compelling SLA agreements and pricing. But at the end of the day, I think what we consider mission-critical service comes down to our ability to use the right tools, and then the competence of our teams to make things right.”


Digital innovation agency Differential uses a startup-like approach to enable partners to invent, prototype, test and build digital products that drive growth and keep them ahead of the innovation curve. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, the company employs 25 people.

Solution components

  • IBM Cloud Databases and Compose

Take the next step

IBM Compose is a cloud-hosted platform for building enterprise applications on open source database technologies. Offering a choice of the best in open-source software databases, ready to go into production within minutes to support web and mobile apps, Compose combines practically unlimited auto-scaling with practically zero administration. For more information and to try out Compose for yourself, visit:

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