Talend Data Integration is becoming the official integration tool of the whole Eurofins Group - an all-purpose solution that allows feeding project information at the group level and also meets the many daily needs of flow automation and data integration.Pierre-Eric Menuet, EAI Project Leader
One of the first world providers of bioanalysis
Founded in Nantes by 4 people in 1987, today Eurofins is a global leader in bioanalysis with over 7,000 employees in 29 countries around the world. It specializes in analytical services for the environment as well as for pharmaceutical and food industries.
The Group generated revenue of 460 million euros ($610 million) in 2007, owns a network of over 100 laboratories, and has a portfolio of more than 25,000 analytical methods to validate the traceability, authenticity, origin, safety, identity, and purity of biological substances and numerous products. Eurofins continually seeks ways to provide its customers with the highest level of quality and safety across all markets.
Eurofins primarily bases its growth on mergers and the acquisition of specialized laboratories. The integration challenge lies in the Group's ability to share data and to manage the collaboration between laboratories specialized in diverse types of analysis. "We decided to leverage the advantage of proximity - each laboratory represents an entry point for the customer and should be able to offer the same range of services provided by the other laboratories," explains Pierre-Eric Menuet, EAI Project Leader at Eurofins.
This strategy of proximity has, of course, a significant effect on the management of the information systems. "Until 2005, in order to streamline processes, each new laboratory joining Eurofins was equipped with the same information system. But we realized that this strategy could be problematic for employees as well as customers. Management decided to permit diversity among production systems, by only replacing some components and by developing interfaces to integrate other applications with the HQ's information system," explains Eric Bello, Coordinator of Systems Integration at Eurofins.
Various integration needs
This change in strategy generated tremendous integration needs. Indeed, Eurofins was juggling multi-cultural, multi-domain, and multi-format issues. For example, the firm had to consider integration needs in both real-time (ongoing collaboration between the information systems) and batch (loading the online portal and visualization by clients of their analyses results).
To meet these various integration needs, Eurofins initially decided on a proprietary solution. "After analyzing what was available, we had chosen Sunopsis. Unfortunately, this decision occurred just before this technology was acquired by Oracle," says Pierre-Eric Menuet. "We quickly abandoned this solution for two reasons: first, our growth model turned out to be incompatible with Oracle's new pricing model, based on a cost-per-target CPU. Secondly, we realized that Oracle Data Integrator didn't quite meet our "real-time" integration needs and we had to do some custom development. That didn't meet our desire for standardization and would have made maintenance more complex."
"At the same time, we wanted to have a clear inventory of the data flows which go through our information system so as to better control and homogenize these flows, even though all integration projects are different," adds Eric Bello. "Our goal is both to preserve the autonomy of all the laboratories - which have their own IT departments - and to offer consistent global services (network, directory, etc.)."
Talend Open Studio for Data Integration pilots and Talend Data Integration industrializes the integration process
Because he had worked for a services firm before joining Eurofins, Pierre-Eric Menuet was familiar with the Talend Open Studio for Data Integration solution. "We ran some tests on limited data sets and then we used the tool in a pilot project," explains Pierre-Eric Menuet. "Several observations helped us reach a decision. For instance, the Talend solution proved to be very easy to learn and to use. Moreover, the open source approach, and the fact that the code is open, help us manage the tool. We can easily follow and participate in the evolution of the tool, even give opinions, and contribute to its development. This visibility into the tool's roadmap is concomitant with transparent relationships with the software vendor. In addition, two days of training helped us become completely proficient."
Today, two laboratories have been integrated thanks to Talend's solution and seven or eight projects are planned for the coming year.
In a subsequent step, Eurofins decided to go into high gear and has implemented Talend Data Integration. "We needed a collaborative layer because many developers often work together on the same projects," explains Eric Bello. "We also wanted to develop a shared and centralized repository both to inventory our data flows and to run impact analysis, which are used for change management. In view of this development, Talend Data Integration brings additional services. This solution is becoming the standard integration tool of the entire Eurofins Group - an all-purpose solution that allows feeding project information at the group level and also meets the many daily needs of flow automation and data integration."
Speed of development, vast range of connectors, and speed of execution
Today, Talend Data Integration is being implemented throughout Eurofins, and the integration team has already realized a number of benefits.
"First, even if we haven't yet reached our cruising speed, we have already benefited from the user-friendliness of the tool; it has clearly sped up development. Today we can work much faster than in the past," comments Pierre-Eric Menuet. "Secondly, Talend support is very reactive, the community is very dynamic, and the product evolves quickly to integrate the new components we need."
"The tool also offers a vast range of connectors which save time. Thanks to our expertise in terms of databases, we improved the MS SQL Server connectors and we have shared these improvements with the community. They have also been included in the tool. Again, we wouldn't have been able to work so fast without Talend's open source," concludes Eric Bello. "Finally, thanks to the component library and the shared repository, we were able to re-use some rules already defined in other projects and to gain productivity. Talend Data Integration met our integration goals - a gain in efficiency on each integration project by using past experience."
Eurofins also highlights Talend Data Integration's speed of execution, which offers higher performance in real-time environments than Sunopsis. For all these reasons, Talend will become the standard for the entire Group, for local as well as enterprise-wide projects (operational, CRM or ERP).