Not only have processing performances improved, but we have much less data loss than before.Benoît Aubry, Project Manager at Prosodie
A multichannel transactional flows operator (fixed and mobile telecommunications, Internet and electronic banking flows) and Cloud Computing specialist, Prosodie - a subsidiary of the Capgemini Group with 800 employees and revenue totaling more than € 170 million (at the end of 2010) - develops and hosts highly available and secure transaction services on its technical platforms. Providing services for large public and private accounts, Prosodie has four main areas of expertise: multichannel customer relations, e-outsourcing (hosting of critical ‘front office’ applications), payment/prepayment, and document dematerialization. The company also manages SMS and IVR voting for television shows.
Aggregating 12 million telecom tickets for customer reporting
Every day, Prosodie manages thousands of voice, web and electronic banking transactions. In 2011, the company processed 2 billion minutes of telephone calls and 300 million SMS. Its prepayment platform can manage 5,000 transactions per second and all of the applications that it hosts total more than 40 terabytes of data stored each month. To support such a large volume, Prosodie operates more than 12,000 servers in 18 rooms across 6 production sites (in France and in Spain). These sites are connected via a fiber optic backbone, guaranteeing the high availability of services.
To control the proper running of its services and provide customers with detailed reporting, Prosodie aggregates 12 million telecom and IVR (interactive voice response) tickets in real-time per day, which anonymously track the user’s entire course, and the selections that he or she made via the telephone keypad. Customers can view these statistics through a web application accessible via a portal and with a few clicks get information regarding the volumes processed, failed calls, most frequently called services, etc. This anonymous data is distributed every morning in different formats, according to customer preferences, then integrated into the business intelligence systems for marketing purposes.
Until recently, to move, format, aggregate and update these statistics, Prosodie used a solution acquired from a non-specialist player in the IT market.
“We were having more and more trouble controlling our application costs, mainly because of an expensive maintenance contract and a licensing policy forcing us to complete a version upgrade with every update and accordingly update our server farm,” reflects Thierry Fourquet, Head of Design, Engineering and Production for the Information Systems Department of Prosodie. “At the same time, we developed some corresponding manual scripts, whose maintenance, over time, also became increasingly complex. Finally, we noted a loss of internal skills that made us really think about changing integration solutions.”
Talend Data Integration to speed up processing
A prototype based on Talend Data Integration was completed with the help of a Talend consultant to validate the scalability capabilities of the solution, evaluate migration costs, and more generally verify whether the solution met all of the company’s needs.
“First we evaluated migration costs after 10 days of consulting services and 40 days of development - the processing volume being particularly large - plus the training of 3 developers and 2 administrators. In addition, Talend's open source positioning corresponded to our desire for openness. Its expertise in enterprise computing and the feedback from its customers finally convinced us,” continues Thierry Fourquet. “The biggest job consisted in recovering the existing data following numerous management rules. We took the opportunity to streamline our operations as much as possible, which was possible due to the availability of the many components that come with the Talend solution.”
The developers, already experienced with using an ETL solution, appreciated the easy graphical programming of Talend Data Integration, and the ability to directly view the Java code generated by the solution.
“The first benefit highlighted during the migration was the dramatic acceleration of our processing. Talend’s real-time loading method and ad-hoc processing enabled us to greatly maximize efficiency compared to our former solution,” comments Benoît Aubry, Project Manager at Prosodie. “For example, in the event of doubt or an error, we are required to re-start the processing of tickets that were generated for one day. Previously, this operation took an entire workday (6-7 hours). Now, in just one hour we can accomplish our goal. This applies not only to recovery projects, but also testing and development. In the past, we needed two days to aggregate one days’ worth of testing data (that is 12 million lines, as a flat file); today the operation is performed in just two hours.”
Performance gains, centralized management and collaborative development
Aside from the improved performances, Prosody emphasizes the gains in reliability attained using the Talend solution. “Not only have processing performances improved, but we have much less data loss than before (tickets disappearing during processing). This means that we have to recover processing much less often. This is all the more important since this reporting is considered strategic, given that it is at the foundation of our billing,” continues Benoît Aubry. “In addition, we also noted gains in productivity through the centralized administration console, which covers all of our production, testing, validation, etc. servers. We also cut production costs, while freeing up time to manage other projects. Finally, since development teams are spread across multiple geographic sites, Talend’s shared repository is very helpful in optimizing their collaboration.”
Thierry Fourquet also emphasizes the billing method of the Talend solution. “With billing based on the number of developers rather than the CPU, we have further reduced the solution’s costs, while increasing its ROI. In addition, we are freed from the vicious cycle that linked us to the former vendor, requiring us to pay for a new license for each server change.”
As a result, Prosodie can plan the future at ease. “We have forged a true partnership with Talend to help us improve the quality of data provided to our customers. Today, we plan on leveraging Talend to complete the reconciliations necessary for telecom operator billing. Taking into consideration the tests that we are currently conducting, we know that eventually we will be able to process a full month of data volumes in less than 2 hours, which opens up a lot of opportunities, especially in terms of creating new services for our customers,” concludes Thierry Fourquet.