Easy maintenance has allowed us to reduce costs since, due to the performance of the Talend solution, we spend less time in development, bug tracking and maintenance, time that we can devote to other strategic projects.Katia Levé, Head of Research and Application Solutions in the Department of Information Systems
The Regional Council of Languedoc-Roussillon is primarily responsible for the economic development of the five departments that make up the region (Aude, Gard, Hérault, Lozère and Pyrénées Orientales, which contain more than 2.5 million people and more than 127,000 companies). It also is responsible for education and research, professional training, public transportation, territorial and environmental action, tourism, social action and culture. Showing the highest rate of population growth in France after Corsica (+33,000 inhabitants per year since 1999) and a rate of employment growth of about 2% per year, the region has a budget €1.17 billion, an increase of 1.3% , that it primarily dedicates to investment, economic support and youth-related activities.
A BI system to increase the visibility of elected officials and leaders
While the economy of the region is mainly based on construction, public services (health and education), tourism and viticulture, the major challenge for the progress and growth of the Languedoc- Roussillon region is wealth and job creation. Business and employment are central to the regional economic policy. Therefore, the region supports and promotes private initiatives in the design, implementation, coordination and evaluation of regional business support programs. However, the duties and concerns of the Regional Council are varied and it is essential that every elected leader in the region is fully informed of the progress of activities under its responsibility.
This is why the Regional Council has launched a vast BI program to give each player a clear view of the going-ons of the region. Significant amounts of data are extracted from business applications (financial management and accounting, professional training, school management and maintenance, HRM, grant management, etc.) and consolidated in order to draw a clear picture of each project via reporting in Business Objects.
“Previously, we had a data integration system based on point-to-point interfaces (each application is connected to another via scripts). This system became increasingly difficult to manage and maintain, and each development of the information system made it more and more complex,” explains Katia Levé, Head of Research and Application Solutions in the Department of Information Systems of the Languedoc –Roussillon Regional Council. “The evolution of our BI system should respond to the consolidation logic, including through the establishment of generic flows and web services.”
Talend Data Integration to overcome the complexity of integration flows
The IT architecture of the Languedoc-Roussillon Regional Council is mainly based on open source technologies (Linux, PostgreSQL databases, etc.). Therefore, the Department of Information Systems has naturally studied the opportunity to deploy a solution for data integration in harmony with the open source philosophy of the region.
“Talend's solutions meet the standards of the Regional Council’s technical infrastructure. We chose to adopt a progressive approach: tests were conducted using Talend Open Studio for Data Integration with a gradual buildup and migration to the Talend Data Integration solution provided in stride,” adds Katia Levé. “The ‘Enterprise’ version of the solution can support a higher complexity, provides more advanced support, uses more efficient flow administration tools and allows us to complete collaborative developments, all while managing configurations.”
The data stored in the Data Warehouse originates from two dozen heterogeneous applications and the data consolidation and consumption needs are significant in various fields. 1100 data flows are operated with the Talend solution. “We have developed many dashboards for different populations – the Regional Council consists of 22 different business divisions. In all, we have more than 5000 Business Objects reports,” continues Katia Levé.
Adaptability, scalability, user-friendliness and cost reduction
One of the main benefits highlighted by the Regional Council is the scalability of the BI system. “With Talend, we had the opportunity to start on a limited basis, and then expand gradually with a minimal initial investment. To go one step further and add intelligence (quality, control, profiling, monitoring, automatic corrections, etc.) to our integration flows, we are now exploring the possibility of deploying Talend ESB,” confirms Katia Levé.
For Katia Levé, Talend's solutions are easy to use, thanks to very user-friendly graphical programming. “Moreover,” she adds, “the Java knowledge and experience possessed by our developers is an advantage, especially for complex processing. They are able to enter the code to tweak any process if necessary.”
She particularly appreciates how easy it is to update and maintain data integration flows. “As it subcontracts its developments to outsourcers (now Bull), the Regional Council did not want to tie itself to a proprietary technology vendor to sustain its development. Meanwhile, this easy maintenance has allowed us to reduce costs since, due to the performance of the Talend solution, we spend less time in development, bug tracking and maintenance, time that we can devote to other strategic projects.”
In conclusion, Katia Levé highlights the contributions of the Talend open source model. “Aside from the fact that a local government like ours strictly controls the spending of public money, which sometimes in our case limits the use of proprietary solutions that are much more expensive than Talend, other factors enter into the equation. For example, the fact that the solution, as a standard, provides a wealth of components that allows us to cover all of our information systems without needing costly additional developments. Meanwhile, the community of Talend users also offers valuable assistance and guarantees the sustainability of our developments,” she concludes. “This falls perfectly in line with our philosophy and our efforts to decompartmentalize and open up our information system.”