The ability to deploy Talend abroad was a crucial factor in the selection process. Even if our development activity is carried out in Bordeaux, our product uses Talend’s international version and the project teams can use the localized versions.Philippe Ribera, Software Marketing Director at Lectra
Lectra is the world leader in integrated technology solutions that automate, streamline and accelerate the design, development and manufacturing processes of products for industries using soft materials. Lectra develops the most advanced automatic cutting systems and software and provides related services that are specific to numerous large markets including fashion (apparel, accessories, and footwear), automobiles (car seats and interiors, airbags), furnishings and aeronautics. With a staff of 1,400 people, Lectra serves 23,000 clients in over 100 countries and generated a revenue of 153 million euro in 2009. Founded in 1973 and based in France, the company is listed on the NYSE Euronext.
Controlling the lifecycle of a product
In 2006, Lectra launched Lectra Fashion PLM, a product lifecycle management solution specifically dedicated to the fashion industry. This solution enables to orchestrate processes and centralize all of the data needed to design and manufacture fashion products and accessories. Unlike an ERP that handles production, Lectra’s solution primarily addresses the phases of collection development.
Lectra clients therefore need to interface this software with the rest of their information system – ERP, logistics and supply chain, CRM, etc. – for example, to exchange mutual data between two fields (supplier lists and nomenclature). At the launch of Lectra’s PLM solution, the company was deploying an ETL that was chosen for its technological relevance (J2EE). “The data integration solution market has recently evolved through a wave of consolidations and acquisitions,” reflects Philippe Ribera, Software Marketing Director at Lectra. “The solution we were using was purchased by a vendor who had a radically different development strategy and business model. Not being the end user of the solution, we sought to maintain control over a marketing method that was no longer compatible with the vendor’s new strategies. That’s when we took a close look at Talend, which offered major advantages: the resilience and flexibility of its technology, its open source core and its high level of functionality.”
After a thorough market analysis, Lectra concluded that Talend's solutions were the most relevant in terms of technology and best suited its business model.
Talend-Lectra: immediate launch
While the Talend Data Integration development environment is not integrated in the Lectra solution, it is strongly recommended to its clients because it facilitates customization. Meanwhile, Lectra uses it to develop standard open interfaces with its own solution. These interfaces are particularly used during upgrades as the functional model evolves on a regular basis.
Lectra subscribed to Talend Data Integration to develop interfaces and benefit from a special support contract, containing specific commitments to meet the demands of its clients. Clients can use either Talend Data Integration or Talend Open Studio for Data Integration, depending on their needs and requirements in terms of project complexity and support.
Lectra Fashion PLM centralizes a lot of analytical and graphical information, distributed internally and externally. Therefore, the solution presents exporting and aggregation (dashboards and catalogs) functions to enable data mining in business intelligence software or layout. For implementation projects, Lectra develops more specific interfaces between the PLM solution and the rest of the client’s information system often to load a data warehouse which centralizes information for BI and management purposes.
When migrating from a technical data management solution to Lectra Fashion PLM, Talend’s tool allows to save and migrate all historical data (products, suppliers, sizes, colors, etc.), then transform the data to fit the data model of the Lectra solution.
Lectra also offers an ERP transfer module to organize the path of the product in production; all of the information describing the product – sizes, colors, subcontractors, etc. – is migrated via flat files, XML, web services or in another format, depending on the client’s technical specifications.
“Our clients rarely operate a standard environment because their business is generally very specific. Their ERP management is sometimes externalized, sometimes it’s internalized. Therefore, it is convenient to be able to quickly modify and organize exchanges that are the least intrusive possible,” comments Philippe Ribera. “Talend offers us the flexible adaptability that we need.”
Lectra’s clients are primarily manufacturers, distributors or brands of clothing and fashion accessories developing on a global scale (Lectra generates 90% of its revenue abroad, particularly in Europe, North America and Asia). “The ability to deploy Talend abroad was a crucial factor in the selection process. Even if our development activity is carried out in Bordeaux, our product uses Talend’s international version and the project teams can use the localized versions,” explains Philippe Ribera.
Quick learning time and technological maturity
Lectra clients appreciate the user-friendliness of the Talend solution. “Thanks to a very productive environment, Talend offers users true independence to develop interfaces according to their needs,” says Philippe Ribera.
According to Lectra, the level of technological maturity of the Talend solution is also very significant. “We have always succeeded in completing what we planned with our clients. When our clients typically use hybrid environments due to the specificity of their businesses, we have never had a problem. Instead, we have generally had good surprises because the solution capitalizes on a functional wealth that we are far from having exhausted. Today, we are completely satisfied with our choice: our satisfaction is determined by the satisfaction of our clients!”
Lectra also appreciates the support of Talend’s open source solution user community. “We initially negotiated our subscription and support terms, which in practice have never been called into question. In addition, we benefit from the contributions of a very active, vibrant community, allowing us to evolve and move forward,” adds Philippe Ribera. “Also, we in turn can develop components that can be contributed to the community.”
In terms of development, Lectra plans on tackling data quality problems in the future. “Given the migration needs of our clients, we plan on creating extensions dedicated to data quality; interface quality does not guarantee data quality,” concludes Philippe Ribera. “In these areas, Talend’s solution increases the confidence that we feel in relation to its complete product. And that confidence is fundamental in providing increasingly efficient services to our clients.”