We wanted complete control of all of the components of our information system so as to stay on top of changes and to respond quickly to our clients' needs. The open source model facilitates customization, while providing the same performance as proprietary solutions.Fatih Gezen, Technical Director, Wonderbox
A leading manufacturer of gift boxes
Founded by two young entrepreneurs, Wonderbox was based on the simple idea that it's becoming increasingly difficult to find a really great gift. Since introducing the concept of gift boxes in France in 2004, Bertile Burel and Jacques-Christophe Blouzard have conceived an identity, established relationships with partners, and continue to design and distribute numerous innovative gift boxes.
Inspired by a proven Anglo-saxon model, Wonderbox is constantly looking for original, first-rate service offers and leisure activities. Today, the company continues to grow with a presence in Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland, Portugal, and Japan.
A scalable information system to assist development
Since its inception, Wonderbox has shown explosive growth, driven, in part, by the relevance of its business model and the diversity of its products, and partly by the special attention paid to the quality of its gift boxes and the services offered to its customers. Via an extended network of partners, the company markets some 60 gift boxes, comprising more than 8,500 possible activities. These include activities such as a weekend at the beach, or a stay in a castle, spa visits, extreme driving courses, bungee jumping, etc. In 2009, Wonderbox sold its millionth gift box.
To give the company every opportunity to grow, the IT department opted for an open source solution from the beginning. "Developing a 100% SOA logic, based on applicative bricks and a central Repository, we use PHP, MySQL, an open source application bus (Mule), JasperReports, and Compiere's open source ERP," explained Fatih Gezen, Technical Director at Wonderbox. "We wanted complete control of all of the components of our information system so as to stay on top of changes and to respond quickly to our clients' needs. The open source model facilitates customization, while providing the same performance as proprietary solutions."
In addition to this rapid growth, collaboration with numerous partners also drives the heterogeneity of the company's IT system. For example, the Wonderbox catalogue is built by retrieving information from products in the Repository. This data must be distributed to all partner websites and updated on the company's central website. The information collection and update process (called "Publish") is strategic for Wonderbox. However, for some time now the lead time of this process has increased exponentially and each publication takes more than 20 hours. "It became impossible to implement urgent changes online, which was not only a problem for our partners, but also generated increased administrative work for us to deal with cancellations or replacements," added Fatih Gezen. "Faced with this lack of responsiveness, we brought in Altic, a systems integrator specializing in open source, to pilot the complete overhaul of the process."
Talend Open Studio for Data Integration cuts the publishing task processing time by a factor of 80
Altic, a Talend Silver partner, knew that Talend Open Studio for Data Integration had all the features Wonderbox needed. "The Talend solution was clearly the right choice for Wonderbox because of its ease of use and its deployment speed," said Charly Clairmont, Technical Director at Altic. "Even though the in-depth technical skills of Altic technicians were useful for optimizing Jobs, Wonderbox non-technical users had no problems mastering the tool in a short period of time. Because of its graphic programming mode, the tool is much easier to understand than a classic development environment. It is easy to maintain and, of course, very economical since it is available gratis. Also, the tool automatically generates documentation which is essential to ensure traceability."
Talend Open Studio for Data Integration is connected to the Wonderbox application bus via Web Services, communicating with a dozen applications, including SugarCRM and OS Commerce. Altic quickly completed the integration without compromising the existing architecture. "The development teams received training designed to prepare them for the deployment of the tool within the company replacing manual transformation scripts that were hard to maintain," said Fatih Gezen. "Ultimately, the catalogue update lead time was cut from 20 hours to only 15 minutes. From now on, we can respond to our partners' urgent demands and always offer our end clients current information. Updating the information system is done in parallel to the work done by the teams and results in qualitative productivity that can't be compared to what existed previously."
Ten operational Talend jobs today
The catalogue update was actually the second Talend project that Altic completed for Wonderbox. The first - finished several months earlier - established daily operational reporting, covered sales across the globe, and guaranteed complete traceability of product use. "Each stage in the life of a gift box is traced, from assembly by a partner to consumption by the end client. A very sophisticated alert system lets us precisely monitor proper execution of each stage and hone financial management," explained Fatih Gezen.
Wonderbox also uses Talend Open Studio for Data Integration to feed a data mart on their CRM B2C, containing information relative to each gift box consumer and buyer - including the date and type of purchase, profile, etc. This information is integrated into the data mart to send targeted offers by email after analyzing purchase behavior. In addition, Talend Open Studio for Data Integration now manages all of the Wonderbox data integration jobs. In particular, the solution handles retail chains purchase orders, which each have different formats, to trigger production or shipment after validation.
In October 2009, Wonderbox migrated to Talend Data Integration to benefit from the advanced teamwork features. The company also implemented Talend Data Quality to create a set of indicators to survey and improve data consistency. For example, a first indicator concerns the monitoring and authentication of gift box identifiers. A second indicator verifies client telephone coordinates to streamline the company's marketing programs.
"Talend's solutions increased the flexibility of our information system which makes us more responsive," concluded Fatih Gezen. "With our continued growth in recent years, we now have an investment capacity that allows us to subscribe to the commercial offerings of open source vendors, and benefit from a high level of support and other features. It's a win-win cycle since the increased agility of open source solutions helps us further develop our business and invest in the future."