Business challenge

If your staff are too busy fixing technical issues every day, your company might lose track of what truly matters: shaping exceptional client experiences. How could Human Design solve this challenge?


Human Design uses the fully managed IBM Compose cloud platform to handle its database needs, making it quick and easy for teams to deploy multiple open-source databases and run them at scale.



database monitoring and management free up time and resources


staff to focus on designing new projects and delivering greater value to clients


scalability helps Human Design keep up with new demands from a growing client base

Business challenge story

Building a better world


Fully digital agency Human Design is all about providing the highest quality experiences for its non-profit clients, as Matt Null, CTO and Co-founder, explains: “We do everything from mobile apps and websites to marketing campaigns, and we take pride in delivering excellent client experiences, which are aimed at making the world a better place.”

However, the company’s mission was often hindered by the amount of time and effort required for database administration. Matt Null continues: “We were spending too much time on technical tasks, instead of focusing on what really matters to us – shaping and delivering great services to our clients.”

With a rapidly growing customer base, the company’s lean team needed to free up time and resources to pursue its mission of improving the world through partner projects. Human Design also wanted to be confident that the storage and backup requirements of the apps it delivered were being monitored and managed by a reliable solution.

In addition, once a project is complete, and Human Design is ready to hand over a new digital product to a client, the company must ensure that the changeover happens seamlessly, as any delays or issues could have a negative effect to a client’s business. For this reason, Human Design requires a platform that enables it to transfer ownership of a digital product and its underlying software stack without the need for disruptive database migration.

Thanks to the Compose solution, we can now support our clients with their vision of making the world a better, fairer, and greener place.

Matt Null, CTO and Co-founder, Human Design

Transformation story

Scalable database in the cloud


Human Design has been using IBM Compose for MongoDB databases for many years. When it came to picking a database platform, the company had a wide range of options to choose from.

Matt Null recalls: “We had many choices in terms of database options, but we decided to deploy IBM Compose. What we particularly like about this solution is its innovative elastic scaling, which means that we don’t have to upgrade and do a whole migration when we need more resources. It’s just really convenient, and that’s one of my favorite features – not to mention it was one of our main selection criteria.”

Historically, the company has used a cloud platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model to deploy and operate its applications, which tend to be Node.js-based.

Matt Null remarks: “When picking the software stack for each client, we tend to base our decision on a combination of our familiarity with the technology and what the client really needs. We’ve built really large platforms, all backed by MongoDB – so far, it’s working great.”

The front-end Node.js apps talk to Compose’s MongoDB at the back-end, which means Human Design can deliver to all platforms, and to all scales, without making exceptional changes to the underlying software stack.

As Matt Null notes: “Everything is in the same stack – we host everything on the cloud, so we have no internal machines. All our developers work locally, and then we deploy to a staging instance of the app, using Compose databases too.”

Results story

The power of the human touch

With IBM Compose, Human Design has the peace of mind that the storage and backup requirements of its digital apps are being safely monitored and managed, so that staff members can focus on new project design and development instead of database maintenance.

Matt Null adds: “Another great feature of IBM Compose is how quickly I can just have a database up and running, with staging and a live version. This is something truly terrific. And regardless of how many new clients we are constantly acquiring, Compose’s exceptional scalability allows us to keep the workload under control. Its automated management and tuning features give our staff the freedom to focus on project delivery instead of repetitive, time-consuming technical tasks.”

Once Human Design is ready to hand over control of projects to customers, it can do so quickly and easily, without having to worry about relocating and re-provisioning databases.

Matt Null concludes: “Thanks to IBM Compose, we are now better-placed than ever to design, develop and deliver great digital services to our non-profit clients, who in turn use them to make the world a better, fairer, and greener place.”


Human Design

Human Design is a full-service digital agency, founded in 2013 by Matt Null and John Weiss. The company’s mission is to take on projects that have a positive impact on society through their work. It has developed projects for clients including the Oceanic Preservation Society, Discovery Communications and the United Nations.

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 or to try Compose, visit:

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