The City of Châteauroux Manages the Heterogeneity of its Data

Talend Open Studio for Data Integration contributes to asset management and cost control for the town's City Hall.
The solution is extremely user-friendly and integrates perfectly into our IT systems. Today our projects are fully documented with a full set of data integration features. Talend Open Studio for Data Integration has become the Swiss Knife of integration.
Sébastien Bernard, IT Project Manager

A modern and traditional city

Châteauroux is the capital of the Indre department located in the center of France. Founded over 1000 years ago in 937, the city takes its name from the castle (Chateau Raoul) built by the princes of Déols. Today, Châteauroux has 50,000 inhabitants and boasts 1,112 acres of parks (or 560 square feet per resident).

Located two hours from Paris, in the heart of three bucolic regions - Champagne Berry, dominated by grain agriculture; the Brenne, called the country of 1000 ponds; and Boischaut, known for its breeding farms - Châteauroux also has a well-defined presence in the high-tech sector. Aeronautics, logistics, metallurgy, electronics, and IT are cornerstones of the local economy.

Asset management and cost control

The city of Châteauroux recently decided to computerize its asset management and acquired specialized software (Kimoce) to manage buildings, parks, roads, equipment, public lighting, vehicles, and computer hardware. Additionally, the city planned to integrate information, in order to better analyze the cost of its programs.

"€œOur objective is to optimize our assets as part of a Business Intelligence project,"€ said Sébastien Bernard, Project Manager of the city's IT Department. "€œFor example, we want to calculate the per-kilometer cost of operating our vehicles, monitor reconstruction and investments in our building program optimize our energy consumption, etc."€

For both philosophical and financial reasons, IT Management had always planned to evaluate open source solutions. "€œProprietary tools are very expensive and we assured our Management that we could carry out the project without increasing costs. At the same time, we wanted to contribute to the open source model,"€ said Sébastien Bernard. "We engaged Altic (a Systems Integrator) to develop a BI portal prototype based on SpagoBI technologies. After seeing the first results we got the go-ahead."

Implementation support from the vendor, Talend, and the SI, Altic

Altic developed a data warehouse powered by Talend Open Studio for Data Integration. "€œInitially we relied on manual SQL queries to synchronize our applications but we soon realized that we needed a complete integration solution,"€ explained Sébastien Bernard. "€œWe tested Talend Open Studio for Data Integration and we were very pleased by its ability to orchestrate all the integration jobs and to process data from heterogeneous sources. Moreover, most of the connectors we needed are already include in the tool, which saved a lot of development time. We quickly realized that the solution went beyond the simple function of moving data and could be used, for example, to reallocate telephone costs to each department, and then to re-use existing jobs to analyze other data (electricity, heating, water, etc.)."

Most of the data comes from the asset management application, Kimoce, but quite a lot derives from the HR management system and from the accounting and financial management applications. Châteauroux also needed to integrate data from other applications, such as fuel management (the city owns its own pumps) or from different Excel files (power, gas, phone, etc.). Talend Open Studio for Data Integration retrieves the data and then transforms this information and integrates it into the data warehouse. According to the sector, jobs are partly or totally automated-for real estate, the files are retrieved automatically and the jobs are run without a break. For vehicles, data retrieval is handled manually and scripts are launched automatically. Telephone data is fully automated.

Talend Open Studio for Data Integration - Managing heterogeneous databases

Today, two IT staff members use Talend Open Studio for Data Integration: "€œAfter a 3-day training session conducted on our premises by a Talend consultant, we were quickly up to speed. The tool is particularly user-friendly and its graphical interface lets us program without needing a perfect command of Java,"€ added Sébastien Bernard. "€œIt's also very easy to document our jobs which facilitates recovering and reusing data."€

Data consolidation within budget limits

The data consolidation project is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2009. "€œWe need to finish integrating data in the energy sector among others. Then we will have a complete analytic system that allows us to precisely calculate the cost of all our activities,"€ said Sébastien Bernard. "€œAltic's experience with data warehousing was very valuable and helped us stay within our projected budget."

The city's IT team cited two main benefits that Talend Open Studio for Data Integration provides. "€œThe solution is extremely user-friendly and integrates perfectly into our IT systems. Today our projects are fully documented with a full set of data integration features. Talend Open Studio for Data Integration has become the Swiss Army Knife of integration and the cornerstone of all our analytic activities which are many because of the diversity of our business. Moreover, the solution is particularly efficient for managing heterogeneous data sources,"€ explained Sébastien Bernard. "€œIt's also extremely cost-effective and lets us get up to speed quickly and easily; Management was easily convinced without embarking on an expensive project. Eventually, we plan to deploy Talend Data Integration to benefit from its collaborative features and from Talend's professional support. And we'll still control projects costs!"

"The challenge lay in convincing our management that a small investment could yield the desired result - but we did it! Thanks to Talend and Altic, we will have a very efficient and progressive analytic system covering all our activities,"€ concluded Sébastien Bernard. "€œThis added value is essential for the life of a community like ours - it lets us streamline our asset management, know precisely the cost of each activity, and keep our constituents informed."