The solution lets us modify and easily optimize the code enabling us to expand our level of customization. Furthermore, besides the quality of support services, the solution offers so many different connectors that we can accelerate the integration processes. We also benefit from the strength of the Talend Community model, especially when it comes to dealing with bugs and product evolution. Talend's approach is exemplary and this is a big change for us.Nicolas Feray, R&D Manager
Building and managing public housing
Founded in 1919, the mission of the Public Habitat Office in Seine Maritime (Habitat 76) builds and manages public housing for low-income families. In the past few years it has also developed large maintenance and modernization programs for its legacy units. In addition, Habitat 76 handles city planning, real-estate restoration, and functions as a service provider in construction and building management.
Habitat 76 is the largest landlord in Seine-Maritime and operates in 181 regional municipalities. With nearly 27,000 single-family or apartment housing units, it provides a good quality of life for more than 100,000 tenants.
Data integration is key
The strategic role of data integration in Habitat 76's information system is a given, according to Nicolas Feray, Research & Development Manager: "From a job standpoint, the data integration tool helps us develop the dashboards and BI projects that are so important for managing our activities. From a more technical perspective, it expedites the design of the information system by allowing rapid integration of new applications. Our activities rely on this tool."
In the past, Habitat 76 depended on Genio ETL which, after several mergers and acquisitions, didn't offer the upgrade potential needed by the Public Office. "Customers suffered more from the consolidation of the BI proprietary world than they took advantage of it," says Nicolas Feray. "Our data integration functions are very strategic. We couldn't just wait and see what happened. When we didn't get positive signals about Genio's new proprietary product, we launched a market study to test different alternatives and select one we could count on risk-free for a long time."
From Talend Open Studio for Data Integration to Talend Data Integration
After a number of detailed tests, Habitat 76 elected to develop BI solutions with Talend Open Studio for Data Integration. "We'd been following the product since the beginning and were pleasantly surprised by its performance and adaptability and the quality of Talend's support services. Even as a Talend Open Studio for Data Integration user (that is, Talend's free download option), we had access to forums and to the Bugtracker on the website. When a bug is found, the first reaction of Talend support personnel is to really work to solve the problem instead of trying to deny it and start an endless sequence of emails, which is a reaction we've had with other companies," explains Nicolas Feray. "Moreover, the accessibility of this solution lets users not familiar with Java or Perl easily develop jobs. The developers were very positive about this."
Then, Habitat 76 decided to go into high gear and migrate all existing Genio jobs to Talend. The automation and consolidation functionality provided by Talend Data Integration were an important part of that decision: "With several hundred jobs to run every night, automation lets us be more reliable and effective. We can not only schedule and check the jobs, but also balance the load between various machine to optimize resources," Nicolas Feray says.
When the migration is complete (in 2009), Habitat 76 will be able to manage all the integration jobs running two data warehouses dedicated to managing both the rental and technical data of the enterprise (originating from an ERP specialized in managing real-estate and expenditures). Data Marts allow the extraction of data provided by those data warehouses in order to analyze specific fields of interest (default rate, vacancy rate, construction plans, etc.). Talend's solution allows the exchange of information between software packages in an extranet, among others, dedicated to managing purchase orders (between 50,000 and 60,000 per year).
Increase in productivity, customization, updates
Habitat 76's IT team, which was migrating existing jobs to Talend Data Integration, had positive early feedback. "The quality of this solution is a major benefit. The processes are extremely clear and the documentation is automatically produced and managed within the application. We have a more synthetic view of the integration jobs, which helps us manage them better and improves productivity," Nicolas Feray explains. "At the same time, the solution lets us modify and easily optimize the code enabling us to expand our level of customization. And besides the quality of support services we already discussed, the solution offers so many different connectors that we can accelerate the integration processes. We also benefit from the strength of the Talend Community model, especially when it comes to dealing with bugs and product evolution. Talend's approach is exemplary and this is a big change for us."
The Public Office financed the development of a connector for the Alfresco management tool, which it opted to return to the community for integration in future versions of Talend Open Studio for Data Integration and Talend Data Integration. "It's not a case of fair's fair, but rather win-win - we took advantage of developments made in the past and it's our turn to give modules developed for our own needs back to the community. This philosophy is perfectly in synch with our mission of public utility," Nicolas Feray concludes.
According to Nicolas Feray, Talend Data Integration will become a more and more strategic tool towards standardizing Habitat 76's information system, particularly with its support of Web services, which is proliferating in the applications used. By selecting Talend Data Integration, Habitat 76 is resolutely choosing the future.