Poweo Organizes its Information System Architecture Using Talend Solutions

The leading alternative energy operator industrializes and secures several interfaces to the information system, while gaining productivity without increasing costs.
Talend Data Integration will help us secure our information systems through its monitoring functions. Additionally, given the economic nature of the product, we are not exposed to significant financial risks, a real plus since the solution is above all reliable and efficient. With Talend, we can confidently plan the future because we know that we can respond to more requests than ever before, quickly and reliably.
Nicolas Hannoun, Manager of Application Architecture

 

The company

An energy operator (electricity and natural gas) established in 2002 serving both individuals and professionals, Poweo has established itself on the French market as a credible and economic alternative to its incumbent operators, with over 410,000 client sites as of mid 2010. With approximately 400 employees, the group earned a revenue of 565 million € in 2009. Placing sustainable development and responsible consumption at the heart of its activities, the group partnered with Verbund, Austria's national operator and one of the leading producers of hydroelectricity in Europe, vowing to increase environmental development and contribute to the nation’s energy independence.

Poweo was created after the opening of the energy market in France, following the rearrangement of European directives on services liberalization (deregulation). This opening, which was initiated during a preliminary phase in 1999 involving large industrial companies, was generalized to businesses in 2004 and individuals in 2007.

Talend Open Studio for Data Integration to simplify IS testing

In 2007, Poweo created an information system to support the opening of the market to individual customers. This information system is based on Oracle Siebel CRM, Oracle Utilities Customer Care & Billing, and Oracle WebLogic Integration middleware.

The IT teams at Poweo deployed Talend Open Studio for Data Integration to prepare the production of the "Individual” information system, which is very open since Poweo exchanges information with many partners. The Talend solution was used to perform tests in real operating conditions: for example, Talend jobs were implemented to simulate the activation workflow of a client, particularly calling for such exchanges with the electricity distributer (ErDF) and data processing stages.

"With Talend Open Studio for Data Integration, we developed the formula by generating distributor response files and carrying out intensive testing. We created a "plug platform" which allowed us to achieve very realistic tests simply by blocking the output interface," says Nicolas Hannoun, Manager of Application Architecture at Poweo. "We were able to test numerous interfaces and simulate all the situations that could potentially arise when we were in production, completely risk-free. This saved us a lot of time without the risk of service disruptions which would have hurt us during operation."

Poweo relies on Phloème - a consulting firm specializing in information system architecture and organization created in 2004 - to develop this deployment strategy and to perform non-regression testing, taking into account the developments of the various information systems concerned. "The main challenge we identified was in implementing a scalable solution, capable of handling the load over time," says Jacky Manai, Associate Director of Phloème. "Combining vast functional experience and business, accrued through many contracts made on behalf of energy professionals, with extensive expertise in information system architecture and urbanization, we have achieved this goal through the implementation of event-driven architecture, based on a bus and asynchronous exchanges."

Talend Open Studio for Data Integration as a migration tool

Later in 2009, Poweo migrated all business customer data from an internally developed CRM application to the same CRM system that was deployed for “Household” customers. With tight budget constraints, the Information Systems Department sought an economic solution, able to handle large volumes that also offered total reliability. "We naturally turned to Talend to migrate more than 150,000 customers and all their associated data (address and telephone number information, inbound & outbound contacts, contracts, etc.) via Web Services. The lead time was very short because we only had one weekend to complete the migration and less than three months for preparation. After a test was completed using a Talend Open Studio for Data Integration prototype, we launched the migration, with upstream data transformation and mapping processing and waste management. In the end, we easily reached our goals with a particularly low reject rate," explains Nicolas Hannoun.

Performance, simplicity, security

The middleware team of Poweo’s Information Systems Department, which is responsible for application architecture and IS interfaces, has initiated a wide urbanization and industrialization process of its interfaces.

"We initially mapped all of our interfaces to locate any weaknesses and improve security, particularly in the financial information system which consists of many applications and interfaces. We are also seeking to improve and harmonize the monitoring, logging and alert management functions," comments Nicolas Hannoun. "After completing a study, we found that Oracle’s middleware did not meet our cost/need criteria; the investment seemed disproportionate to the volume of data, which was actually rather limited. We particularly needed reliability, flexibility, and rapid learning and deployment with more heterogeneous operating environments."

Given the success of these different projects, Poweo’s Information Systems Department decided to subscribe to Talend Data Integration to extend its urbanization projects, while benefiting from automatic planning functions (scheduling). Talend’s enterprise solution has become one of Poweo’s reference integration solutions.

"Other information systems - trade, HR, for example - require urbanization and we have plans to industrialize many other interfaces. Point-to-point exchanges do not always meet our requirements, particularly in terms of cost, performance and ease of administration," adds Nicolas Hannoun. "Talend offers solutions that are exceptionally easy to deploy and handle, and speed up development time. In addition, by offering many connectors that cover all our needs, we save time."

On a more strategic level, Poweo’s Information Systems Department recognizes that Talend’s solutions enable it to better maximize its budget. "In addition to responsiveness and ease of implementation, the billing method, which is calculated based on the number of developers rather than the CPU, provides us with significant cost savings,"concludes Nicolas Hannoun. "Talend Data Integration will help us secure our information systems through its monitoring functions. Additionally, given the economic nature of the product, we are not exposed to significant financial risks, a real plus since the solution is above all reliable and efficient. With Talend, we can confidently plan the future because we know that we can respond to more requests than ever before, quickly and reliably."