Talend keeps data flowing for Sky TV

TV viewing has never been better
The decision to go with Talend was just right. They were able to tick every box in our specifications and we are happy with the customer-friendly functionalities of the open-source licensing model.
Krishnan Venkatasubramanian, Head of IT Architecture at Sky Deutschland

The customer

Sky is the leading pay-TV provider in Germany and Austria with more than 4.1 million subscribers and annual revenues amounting to approximately 1.7 billion Euros. The program portfolio of Sky includes live sports, feature films, series, children's programs and documentaries. Sky has around 2,500 employees and is based in Unterföhring near Munich. The company is a part of Sky plc, Europe’s leading entertainment group.

Sky is the innovation leader in the German and Austrian TV markets, driving new technologies for digital TV. Data plays a defining role for Sky operations and its future success. It must constantly be aligned, moved and updated for Sky to deliver its many services – from Sky Go for live TV on smartphones through TV series to customer profile management. And to manage those massive volumes of data, Sky needed a powerful integration platform. It chose Talend.

The challenge

Is the customer authorized to view the 18-rated action film he or she just requested? Has the smartphone user who wants to view football games got the right subscription? Is Mr. Smith entitled to update the profile in the named account? Sky has to answer thousands of questions such as these every second – ideally automatically and within a fraction of that second. And all of the resulting transaction data has to be stored in the right databases.

“Today, TV is being delivered to all sorts of devices – from notebooks through smartphones to tablet PCs. Especially on mobile devices, customers expect services to be available on demand,” explains Krishnan Venkatasubramanian, Head of IT Architecture at Sky Deutschland. “Split-second responses means we need direct access to many sources of data – which could have been generated at any number of touchpoints across the company and be stored in any one of many databases. To manage this huge and varied landscape, we need flexible data integration capabilities with the highest data security.”

The Talend solution

Having scoped the various options and read different Gartner studies, the Sky team decided to evaluate Talend besides several other solutions. Following extensive due diligence checks, Sky decided in favor of the Talend Data Management Platform. A test installation revealed that Talend was able to meet all of Sky’s needs. The Sky team was equally impressed with the 800 or so connectors available with the Talend platform. They meant that Talend can connect to just about any data source – including big data databases and application systems. Sky entrusted the Talend deployment project to its outsourcing partner Capgemini, which possesses a wealth of experience in complex data integration initiatives. At the same time, five members of Sky’s team attended a Talend training course as Sky planned to manage the Talend platform itself once it had been successfully rolled out.

The Talend project is part of Sky’s Over the Top (OTT) IT initiative, aimed at reducing costs, increasing performance and responding to IT changes with flexibility. OTT extends over a number of applications which drive data to the customer frontend. Sky wanted to insert an architectural layer between the staging layer (back-end databases) and the fast access layer (front-end databases) that aggregates and accesses the staging layer to deliver data to the user platforms.

The Talend Data Management Platform now supports this interim layer. In the early stages, Talend was only deployed to a limited extent but has now become the company standard at Sky and increasingly the solution of choice for data quality tasks.

The benefits

Since the end of 2013, Talend has been supporting all data integration and interfacing processes, improving quality of data and actively enabling the company’s data integration strategy. With the help of Capgemini, the installation was completed in just one day. Then Norbert Gergely, Data Architect from Sky’s IT development team, and his team stepped in. “Thanks to Talend’s excellent training services, our team could manage the new platform from the very outset. Talend is easy to use, easy to adapt and extremely versatile.” The connectors that come with Talend directly hook up to a huge variety of source systems and ensure that the access layer is always up to the minute, giving an extremely realistic picture of the current status.

For Krishnan Venkatasubramanian, the entire project was a huge success. “The decision to go with Talend was just right. They were able to tick every box in our specifications and we are happy with the customer-friendly functionalities of the open-source licensing model.”