ATMB keeps traffic and data flowing safely with Talend and Keyrus
By Kate Speer
When you drive through a toll booth, you might make your payment and drive on without a second thought. But a lot of data exchange is going on behind the scenes to keep traffic flowing — and that’s just one of the many data processes involved in roadway management.
“ATMB is part of a French and European highway network,” says Grégory Forel, Project Manager of Information Systems and Technology at ATMB. “As such, they need to share a large amount of data on a daily basis with multiple partners or service providers, whether they are other highway firms, banks, or a variety of other actors.”
Meet ATMB — Autoroutes et Tunnel du Mont Blanc
The Mont Blanc Tunnel is a feat of 20th-century engineering, running for 11.7 km (7.3 miles) beneath the tallest mountain in the Alps. The tunnel crosses the French-Italian border to connect the two nations’ highway systems. When it opened in 1965, the Mont Blanc tunnel was the longest automotive tunnel in the world. It has transformed ground transportation between France and Italy.
ATMB was founded in 1957 in anticipation of the tunnel’s construction. Today, ATMB remains a public company responsible for the management, operation, and safety of its network’s road, highway, tunnel, and mountain infrastructure. ATMB and its Italian counterpart, SITMB, jointly form a European Economic Interest Grouping, helping France and Italy cooperate in cross-border business activities.
Facing the challenge of aging data infrastructure
Exchanging all that data with multiple partners and service providers is difficult with aging tools and multiple data flows. In 2017, ATMB knew it needed to modernize its legacy IS (information system). The organization was still relying on technologies and tools developed in the early 2000s, including a variety of systems for scheduling, monitoring, and data processing.
These legacy systems had become difficult to maintain, and few people still had the necessary skills to do the work on such outdated technology. At the same time, GDPR had been enacted, and ATMB had to meet stricter requirements in many areas.
“Constraints relating to system maintenance and highway standards called for change,” says Forel.
Choosing a new Information System
ATMB needed to find a data solution that would comply with current standards. But the company didn’t want to end up in the same situation 15 years down the line — struggling to maintain an aging system built on outmoded technology. Instead of just selecting a tool that would meet today’s needs, ATMB decided to completely redesign its IS flows in favor of an open, standardized, and centralized solution that wouldn’t lead to maintenance issues down the road.
In addition to future-proofing, ATMB looked for a reliable, efficient, and easy-to-maintain solution that would allow it to centralize and standardize data exchange, supervision, and scheduling. The goal was to simplify processes to help all users adapt to the changing requirements of the highway sector, and support secure data exchanges with ATMB’s many partners.
“We wanted an open, well-known, and recognized solution,” explains Forel, and Talend fit the bill. “It was designed to provide a wealth of capabilities while also accelerating project development through the use of a diverse set of components and interfaces. It also needed to be widely distributed so that we could avoid any roadblocks when it comes to finding partners and providers.”
With Talend, ATMB can solve today’s challenges — and tomorrow’s
Talend’s trusted platform was the ideal tool for directing ATMB’s information system flows. Following a proof of concept (POC) with its integrating partner, Keyrus, ATMB chose Talend as the foundation for transforming its IS.
“Implementing the Talend tool has been instrumental for ATMB’s current and future operations,” says Forel. “We would not have been able to keep up with developments in the sector without it.” Within a year of instituting the new system, ATMB had deployed 29 data flows and begun others. ATMB expects to put all flows into production during 2023.
Developing the project led to the creation of a centralized portal for the operations and operational teams. This unified system simplifies access and visibility for operations. Meanwhile data is now at the forefront for operational teams. Talend provides them with oversight and governance tools, saving time on rule management and data control.
Remember those toll payment transfers? That process is now managed with automated — and substantially more reliable — database synchronization from a single acquisition module. Partners and internal business users alike have higher confidence in the accuracy of the data.
With Talend, ATMB can always stay ahead of the curve
ATMB now has a solid foundation to adapt to future developments in the sector, from regulatory changes to technological developments in the transportation sector. That’s because implementing Talend has provided ATMB with a framework for building future projects.
For example, operational developments are pushing ATMB to modify its ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) interfaces. “Thanks to the Talend connector with the Sage X3 ERP solution and the confidence inspired by the solution, the new interface of the ERP software and future data acquisition modules with the existing IS bring peace of mind to the teams at ATMB.”
ATMB also knows that standards related to the implementation of “free-flow” communication will change their toll system. Toll barriers across the French highway system will be replaced with automated terminals, requiring a new data acquisition module interface and new partner exchanges. With Talend, ATMB will be ready for these changes.
And Talend has already paved the way for another big transition. “We also plan to move to the cloud version of the Talend platform in the next few months,” says Forel, “to take advantage of all the cloud’s features and benefits.” Talend’s cloud independence and flexibility mean that ATMB will be able to leverage any combination of private and public cloud data warehouses without getting locked into a specific cloud provider.
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