With appropriately skilled resources, results can be achieved remarkably quickly. The Talend graphical development environment and vast palette of provided components shields developers from the historic complexities of "how to" implement and allows them to focus on what really matters - truly understanding a client's data and designing a robust and reliable solution to their data management needs.Mark Perkins, Senior Talend Consultant, eCentric Media Ltd
With 3,300 employees in 150 offices, across 30 countries in Europe, Middle East, India and the US, including 15 wholly owned and 15 alliances, BNP Paribas Real Estate is a leading real estate services provider and a major global player. In the UK, BNP Paribas Real Estate offers its clients a comprehensive range of real estate services, providing targeted and integrated solutions both locally and internationally.
In doing so, BNP Paribas Real Estate manages real estate portfolios for customers. BNP Paribas Real Estate treats its client data with the highest level of security and, as part of this process, restricts access to any application or data to validated BNP Paribas Real Estate users; external access to its systems is not permitted.
As part of the service provided to clients, BNP Paribas Real Estate wished to provide clients with visibility of their data and enable them to view the status of their portfolio.
The Corporate Real Estate Extranet project aimed to provide extranet functionality to customers of BNP Paribas Real Estate so that they could visualise their property portfolio and access property and financial reports through the Internet using a web based interface.
Anthony Shama, Head of Software Development at BNP Paribas Real Estate commented: "We needed a solution that would integrate with our existing core system and database so that we could hold all data required both for property and financial management of customer portfolios as well as extract and migrate data to our new extranet system."
"In particular, we needed one common tool to seamlessly integrate our data processes and ensure that any changes to data on the core system were propagated to the extranet system."
To meet these needs, BNP Paribas Real Estate began searching for a data management solution. Shama said: "As the largest provider of property services in Europe, BNP Paribas Real Estate has to manage huge amounts of confidential client data, and make information such as property rental and lease details directly accessible to clients. We needed a tool that could securely migrate this data. Our head office in Paris is already successfully using Talend Data Integration and so we have rolled it out in the UK. Talend Data Integration is an excellent choice and fully meets our needs."
Talend Data Integration is the data integration solution, designed to support multi-user development, with the capability to scale to the highest levels of data volumes and process complexity - extending the award winning open source data management solution, Talend Open Studio for Data Integration.
Mark Perkins, representing Talend's Integration Partner, eCentric Media Ltd, commented: "Talend's adaptability is immensely attractive. It is equally at home on large projects in a team-based environment and as a stand-alone tool for technical proof of concepts and smaller one-off tasks. In our work with BNP Paribas Real Estate, the judicious use of technical proofs of concepts has helped to manage complexity and risk."
Far from a straightforward ETL problem, the data integration processes demanded careful and thorough design.
The data structures in the source SQL Server database were vast and complex. The design managed this complexity by introducing intermediate database views which simplified the structures exposed to the ETL jobs. Source data spanning over 200 tables was simplified into less than 20 staging views.
The system architecture demanded that the integration mechanism be via web services. The extranet exposed web services to allow data updates to be transmitted. The web services required a complex multi-schema xml payload (with multiple levels of grouping and looping) containing changes to customer's property portfolio data.
A set of framework jobs were developed in Talend to manage the interface and to provide a full audit history of invocations, records processed and records failed. A suite of technical reporting jobs were developed off of the audit history to facilitate operational management of the Talend jobs. Similarly a suite of business reporting jobs were developed to inform key business representatives.
This initial release was developed and tested in just 20 days. Subsequent releases have extended the functionality and scope of the integration jobs, including transfer of data files, which required integration with external Java libraries to encode the files. These have been developed in similarly remarkably short timescales - testament to the usability and efficiency of the Talend product suite and the robustness of the original design.
Shama commented: "Using Talend Data Integration, BNP Paribas Real Estate can securely extract rich client data instantly and easily. Talend Data Integration has removed the headache of creating databases and reports and also eliminated the chance of human error, meaning we can completely rely on the data we hold and provide to our clients."
Perkins commented: "With appropriately skilled resources, results can be achieved remarkably quickly. The Talend graphical development environment and vast palette of provided components shields developers from the historic complexities of "how to" implement and allows them to focus on what really matters - truly understanding a client's data and designing a robust and reliable solution to their data management needs."
"The experience of eCentric Media's consultants and the remarkable efficiencies of the Talend product suite give us the satisfaction of being able to surprise our clients by delivering robust solutions more quickly than they might expect."
Shama concluded: "Overall, Talend Data Integration is a leading piece of technology that allows us to move and transform information in a more sophisticated, secure and easy to use manner. Being based on a highly flexible and intuitive platform, we have the capability to build our own integration processes internally, and the added value of this is tremendous."
"Following the success of this project, we intend to use Talend for other projects."