In less than 10 minutes we can create a job to load a file in a database. The solution is also easy to deploy and the automation features are easy to pick up.David Slaviero, Director of Information Systems
Acticall is a group specializing in customer relationship management. A major player on the market, it offers complete outsourcing of multi-channel CRM platforms with input and output flows. In its 14 contact centers (12 sites in France and 2 in Morocco), the Acticall Group advises and supports its customers - mostly large private or public accounts, such as American Express, BNP Paribas, Bouygues Telecom, Canal +, EDF , GDF SUEZ, Ministry of Health, Orange, SFR, Toyota, etc. - in defining, implementing and developing their customer relationship projects. It offers a wide range of services covering the entire customer service chain (BtoB or BtoC), from the request for information to after-sales services including commercial development, Social CRM and e-reputation management, medical information processing, computer engineering, and even training. Acticall, which has 5,000 employees managing an average of about 45 million contacts per year, earned a revenue of €129 million in 2010 and forecasts €159 million for 2011.
Ensuring the interoperability of a heterogeneous information system
With sales figures that have multiplied by 70 in ten years, Acticall is rapidly growing in the customer relationship market in France. This development is based both on external growth (Vitalicom was acquired in 2006 and Learning CRM in 2007), the extension of existing sites (such as those in Nancy and St. Etienne in 2010, Rouen in 2011, etc.) and the creation of new establishments, such as those in Saint-Etienne, Cournon d’Auvergne and Casablanca in 2009, and the creation of specialized subsidiaries (Medical Information and Pharmacovigilance (SIMCall) in 2009, and Digital CRM (e-Acticall) in 2011). Therefore, this accelerated growth is a major challenge for a company that has built its reputation on the quality of its services, innovation and social and environmental commitment (the Group is in fact doubly certified with the Social Responsibility Label and the NF 345 - NF Customer Service Center certification for all its sites in France and Morocco).
Computer engineering has a central role in the group’s strategy. For data integration, Acticall’s IT department used to use different tools and scripts to move, transform and load data from heterogeneous systems.
"With the growth of our business, our data integration needs multiplied. The tools that came with our database remained confined only to the scope of these databases and the Java scripts developed in-house became more and more difficult to manage and maintain," explains David Slaviero, Director of Information Systems for the Acticall Group. "We wanted a way of simplifying our daily work by automating recurring data exchange tasks between our different systems. For this reason, we tested Talend Open Studio for Data Integration and other tools to assess their ability in meeting our needs. We finally chose the Talend solution which best matched our requirements: easy to use and quick to learn without training, easy to deploy, openness and high-performance."
Talend Data Integration: industrializing the integration process
After these initial tests, Acticall’s IT Department decided to implement Talend Data Integration not only for data exchanges, but also to load its management data warehouse; the company wanted to benefit from enterprise level technical support as well as automation features not offered with the free product.
"Today, between 70 and 80 Talend jobs have been put into production. The first half involves loading the data warehouse and the other half involves supplying other tools and extracting data for client reporting. For example, some jobs allow us to feed the applications used by our call representatives," reveals Stéphane Colle, Project Manager. "The data warehouse is primarily used by our supervisors to control their daily operations. We consolidate all the information for each one of our projects in a single tool, which is accessible via a single interface and definitely makes our lives easier. The data is published in an internal portal, in the shape of dashboards available to supervisors and business managers."
This data allows us to analyze various indicators, based on the consolidation of various data, such as the number of calls, the duration of processing, the types of calls, etc. The statistics are compiled by site, team and call center representative, and are intended for the Operations Department. In addition, a unit dedicated to client reporting also accesses data. Finally, data integration processing is usually performed at night, but some jobs automate data updating every half hour.
Ease of development, configuration and deployment
Over time, Acticall’s IT team increased its skills and it now has enough experience to implement complex jobs using the best practices. According to ISD [Information Systems Director], the user-friendliness of the Talend solutions contributed to this success.
"The solution speeds up job construction because of its graphic development mode. In less than 10 minutes we can create a job to load a file in a database. Meanwhile, the flexibility of the settings allows us to contextualize our jobs very easily and run multiple versions in test and production environments. The solution is also easy to deploy and the automation features are easy to pick up," comments David Slaviero. "In addition, the wide range of connectors supplied with the solution saves us even more time. Lastly, even though the volume is not yet huge, we still have files with a few million lines and the integration performances are quite reasonable."
Finally, Acticall highlights the relevance of Talend’s open source model, "Not only do we benefit from the efforts of the open source community to promote interoperability and openness, but we also were able to test Talend Open Studio for Data Integration fully and at the lowest cost before deciding to industrialize our integration process with the enterprise solution. It is clear that while the first version was free, we definitely would not have advanced. This model is perfectly suitable for fastgrowing companies like ours, saving us time and simplifying our business," concludes David Slaviero.