Easyssur Strengthens its Data Integration Processes

Talend Open Studio for Data Integration streamlines all data extraction and integration processes.
Originally we were only using Talend Open Studio for Data Integration for a few specific processes, but it has grown on us and become our single integration platform. This lets us spend more time on data than on “plumbing" and saved us lots of valuable time.
Clément Chaumette, IT Analyst

A Web-based insurance broker

A pioneer of online insurance sales, Easyssur is part of April Group, a leading insurance broker in France widely recognized for its business performance, its quality of service, and its innovative products.

Established in 1991, Easyssur builds targeted insurance offerings through several commercial brands:

  • www.redcoxx.fr (for all customers).
  • www.bnrassurances.fr (for customers with bad driving records).
  • www.alloassurances.com (independent workers).

By using Web, telephone, or video-conference technologies to handle customer relationships, Easyssur reinvents both accessibility and personalized service.

A modern company that leverages new technologies, Easyssur has reduced its structural costs in several ways:

  • Trained Call Center personnel manage contracts and protect client interests.
  • Contract management is available 24x7 via Web sites.
  • Each client has access to a personal advisor.

Data extraction and integration needs

To better analyze its business and to improve its forecasts, Easyssur has developed a business intelligence platform. "We extract data from several applications - our back office systems (an ERP for brokers and our CRM/Rate Calculator, both using MS SQL Server databases); Excel spreadsheets; our Sage accounting software - and integrate and consolidate it in our data warehouse, and perform calculations, comparisons and forecasts,"€ explains Arnaud Fournier, co-Director at Easyssur in charge of Internet Development. "We can get a detailed snapshot of our day-to-day activities - new business, contract cancellations, claims, and so on - as well as our accounting and finance data, facilitating analysis."

At the same time, Easyssur needs to provide monthly reports to its partner insurance companies about the contracts - contact information, coverage levels, claims, renewals, etc. "€œEasyssur's main advantage is that we can provide reasonably-priced services, without decreasing the coverage,"€ explains Clément Chaumette, IT Analyst at Easyssur. "€œThe company uses tools that help us reduce costs. In every aspect of our business - customer relationships, claims, associations with insurance companies - we try to be creative and to capitalize on new technologies that let us offer our clients the best service, at the lowest cost."

"€œWe were looking for a reliable and cost-effective way to perform our data extractions,"€ continues Clément Chaumette. "€œBecause we were using MS SQL Server 2000 databases, we looked first at what Microsoft had to offer. But as the tool wasn't user-friendly and offered limited functional coverage, we decided to evaluate open source solutions. Of these, two products looked interesting - Pentaho Data Integrator and Talend Open Studio for Data Integration. However, we found a significant drawback with Pentaho - the scripting language used for custom data manipulations was JavaScript, a pretty limited language originally created for the Web and not as efficient as Java or Perl for processing massive data volumes. Conversely, we had significant Java expertise - Talend with Java jobs was the ideal solution for us."€

Clément Chaumette adds: "€œAnother determining factor in favor of Talend Open Studio for Data Integration was its debug mode, and the ability to transparently see the Java code generated. This has helped us greatly reduce development cycles. In addition, Talend's solutions are mature, with frequent updates, an ever increasing feature set, an active community, and a growing ecosystem of partners. The ergonomics of the solution is also a key advantage (the tMap component for joining several sources is a real killer!). In addition, Talend Open Studio for Data Integration is cost-effective - no license cost and quick results after a very short training period."€

User friendly, stable, and flexible

"Our project started in January 2007 and a prototype was ready the following month. A lot of work had to be done around data semantics and designing the data warehouse. The 80/20 rule for BI applied - 80% of the work was on data and loading processes, and 20% on analysis. We now have a pretty strong database to integrate all of the enterprise data,"€ declared Clément Chaumette. "€œWe could never have manually created the thousands of lines of code that Talend Open Studio for Data Integration generated automatically. This let us spend more time on data than on "€˜plumbing" and saved us a lot of valuable time."€

According to Clément Chaumette, Talend Open Studio for Data Integration brings Easyssur three key advantages. "The first advantage is maintainability. The solution is easy to understand and to master, the environment is intuitive, and it requires minimal training. Secondly, Talend Open Studio for Data Integration is very stable, which is a must-have for a production environment. And finally, Talend Open Studio for Data Integration offers maximum flexibility. Our company is growing very rapidly, and it's critical that we respond promptly to new requirements and modify our integration processes as needed."€

Easyssur also uses Talend Open Studio for Data Integration for implementing MDM (Master Data Management) to control the quality and consistency of data among several applications. "€œInformation is sometimes entered multiple times in our different systems (back office and CRM for example),"€ explains Clément Chaumette. "With automated processes, we can track duplicates and anomalies. Thanks to Talend, we make our data more reliable - continually."

€After nearly a year of using Talend Open Studio for Data Integration, Easyssur is exploring several directions for expanding its use. First, they are considering increasing the number of information sources handled by Talend Open Studio for Data Integration, including integrating data from the Call Center. They are also studying the possibility of leveraging it for recouping data from their Incidents Manager (a modified version of the Mantis open source solution). Another possible application would be to automatically update the company's Active Directory.

"€œAt some point, our CRM will communicate in real-time with our back office. Today, we are manually transferring some data entered by our customers on the Web site; soon this process will be automated, which will save us a lot of time. Originally we were only using Talend Open Studio for Data Integration for a few specific processes, but it has grown on us and become our single integration platform, our "Swiss Army knife" for data manipulation. When a new data - related need arises, we immediately look for a way to implement it using Talend,"€ concludes Clément Chaumette.