Talend Data Integration: A Toolbox Enabling Credit Agricole Consumer Finance to Rationalize its Information System

Most new integration data flows pass through Talend's open source data integration solution before gradually recovering old production flows.
Talend Data Integration is a toolbox that offers numerous possibilities that we continue to discover. Additionally, the solution offers very interesting performance features, for example enabling to write a job much faster than our other mainframe or Java solutions.  This perfectly responds to our rationalization objectives and encourages us to promote it internally via skill transfers and training sessions.
Bruno Livenais, Information Systems Management Architect of Credit Agricole Consumer Finance

Credit Agricole’s specialized subsidiary, Credit Agricole Consumer Finance (CACF) has become the number one European leader in consumer credit with 75.8 billion euro in managed liabilities and nearly 20% of market shares, following the Sofinco and Finaref merger at the end of 2009, which resulted in the creation of the company. With two thirds of its activity conducted outside of France, locations in 22 countries at the end of 2009 and a liability volume that has multiplied by six in the past five years (2004-2009) abroad, Credit Agricole Consumer Finance works with 26.5 million clients. The company has 10,600 employees, of which 4100 are in France and a total revenue of 457 million euro in 2009.

Urbanize developments and organize flow exchanges with partners

Meanwhile, three ETL tools are used in different areas (BI, data mining and operational integration) to integrate or move data.  Finally, Information Systems Management planned the development of new flows to integrate data from the numerous software packages into its information system. “As a result, we started a rationalization project whose first step consisted in launching a call for tenders, then developing prototypes (proof of concept), to select one integration tool, while planning the gradual abandonment of the solutions already in place,” explains Bruno Livenais.

Talend Data Integration to centralize all integration jobs

After the call for tenders, CACF kept two proposals (IBM and Talend) and started prototype development to test these solutions to determine if they really met all of these needs (access to databases, to flat files, to the mainframe, etc.). “We finally chose Talend Data Integration, which best responded to our prerequisites. Even though we weren’t specifically looking for an open source solution, we didn’t have any negative prior knowledge on this technology. In addition, with Talend’s strong economic stability we were assured of their reliable and constant support services,” continues Bruno Livenais. “In technological terms, Talend uses standard technology, like Java, compared to IBM which has a proprietary approach. Finally, the tool is very easy to use and learn and thanks to its graphic interface, we can quickly achieve the desired results.”

The first project implemented consisted in normalizing the developments completed with Talend Data Integration and proceeding with the necessary tuning to manage different technical environments in a centralized manner. For this, CACF used the Talend expert support services for two weeks. At the same time, Information Systems Management organized a skills update via a few training sessions.

“Our first Talend jobs were developed to extract data from our LDAP directory for audit purposes. It specifically involved creating a list of skills via an Excel report designed for security personnel,” explains Bruno Livenais. “Then we started the developments to replace the two software systems mentioned earlier. If these developments were completed internally, Talend was responsible for the creation of the mainframe and DB2 connectors. Finally, Talend Data Integration enabled us to generate reference data in XML format promoting data access through frontal applications (public or partners). Even if Talend’s data quality and MDM solutions did not exist at the time, we plan on taking a closer look at these products this year, particularly for problems related to our BI activities.”

Rationalization and cost management

Most of the new developments are completed today using Talend Data Integration. “The gradual recovery of old jobs could be done, but on the one hand it generates costs that we want to reduce over time and on the other hand, we have other priorities, like merging the Sofinco and Finaref systems, or the rationalization of our information systems costs,” notes Bruno Livenais.

Today, CACF’s Information Systems Management is satisfied with the implementation of the Talend solution, particularly due to its openness. “The fact that the Talend solutions are open and standard-based enables us to easily participate in the code to make modifications and create our own components. For example, we developed a password encryption module to secure our access,” concludes Bruno Livenais. “Talend Data Integration is a toolbox that offers numerous possibilities that we continue to discover. Additionally, the solution offers very interesting performance features, for example enabling to write a job much faster than our other mainframe or Java solutions. This perfectly responds to our rationalization objectives and encourages us to promote it internally via skill transfers and training sessions.”