Because of the increases in productivity gained using Talend, we have more time to meet the demands of our colleagues by developing, for example, new solutions that facilitate work. Data integration in Excel files has become a piece of cake, whereas before this used to take a long time. Given the size of the IT team and the issues related to the growth of our business, Talend offers us significant support and reassurance.Freddy Marboeuf, Research and Development Engineer
VM Matériaux is a group specializing in building material trading, the concrete industry and industrial joinery. Located in 25 departments in Western France, 5 overseas departments, China and Canada, it has 116 building material trading branches, 12 exterior joinery and closure manufacturing plants, 4 wood structure factories (timber frames), 25 ready-mix concrete factories and 5 concrete product manufacturing plants. A family business founded at the start of the twentieth century, VM Matériaux has approximately 3,000 employees and generated 630.6 million € in sales in 2010. For more information, go to: www.vm-materiaux.fr
Numerous heterogeneous business applications
Originally based in the Vendée department, VM Matériaux gradually expanded through multiple acquisitions. It is now a member of the MCD national business organization of regional and independent wholesalers, which groups together six regional leaders for a total of more than 650 outlets located throughout the country. Its external growth strategy has created a significant need for application and data integration as the group currently operates thirty heterogeneous applications which are specific to one of its businesses. With each acquisition, the company must integrate new applications to its information system, at least temporarily, before planning the migration to the tools used by the entire group.
At the heart of this system there is a central ERP, based on AS/400 technology (M3 of Infor), which supports business management, accounting, finance, logistics, manufacturing, etc. Until recently, the group fulfilled its data integration needs via point-to-point interfaces which, with the growth of its business and number of applications, became increasingly complicated to maintain and update. Meanwhile, VM Matériaux simultaneously maintained three versions of its ERP; in order to cover all business units.
“With the growing complexity of maintaining these scripts, we needed a solution that would allow us to increase efficiency and accelerate the integration of the companies acquired,” explains Freddy Marboeuf, Research and Development Engineer at VM Matériaux. “We initially came across Talend through a seminar and conducted tests with Talend Open Studio for Data Integration. The results were resounding. We therefore decided to implement Talend Data Integration RTx Edition which offers the ability to expose a service as a Web Service, greatly facilitating communication both internally and with third parties. Since then, we have been gradually rebuilding all of our interfaces using Talend. Due to the reusability of components and ease of programming, we have increased productivity.”
More than a hundred future interfaces
Talend Data Integration RTx Edition helped the IT team at VM Matériaux centralize all of its interfaces within a single platform. “We now have an overview which facilitates maintenance and administration,” adds Freddy Marbeuf. “As of today, we have moved or built thirty integration interfaces. However, there still is a lot work left to be done. Eventually, we will manage a solid one hundred interfaces.”
These interfaces are dialogue vectors between all of the applications of the Information System. They allow the exchange of information to trigger an action. For example, when in-process inventory has not been paid, the interface sends a blocking notification to the accounting application. The interfaces also facilitate the automatic transfer of customer files, suppliers or articles, not only saving time but also reducing the risk of error.
“In addition to these improvements, Talend allows us to gradually free ourselves from the AS/400 language and point-to-point interfaces which are difficult to maintain. Furthermore, thanks to Java, we now have new opportunities which facilitate and further improve our developments,” notes Freddy Marboeuf. “While most processing is completed in batch mode, some of our processing needs to be conducted in real time. This is where Web Services, exceptionally reliable and activated on demand, come into play.'
Ease of deployment and cost reduction
The IT team at VM Matériaux appreciates the ease and speed of deployment and learning of the Talend solution. “The solution is really simple to use because of its graphical programming mode which generates significant gains in productivity. A good working knowledge of Java is a plus of course, but not required. After figuring out how to use Talend Open Studio for Data Integration on our own, we completed a 3-day training session which enabled us to be up and running as fast as possible,” specifies Freddy Marboeuf. “Also, financially-speaking, the solution is far more economical than the proprietary ESB, and its scalability perfectly suits our needs. Lastly, we enjoy highly responsive support services that provide excellent maintenance for our software.”
VM Matériaux feels that Talend Data Integration RTx Edition has fully met its primary need: the industrialization of integration interface development. “We have found a solution that not only satisfies this need, but that also offers an unbeatable cost/performance ratio! Eventually it is likely that we will increasingly employ real-time interfaces to reactively respond to business demands, and we will test Talend ESB to move to the next level,” concludes Freddy Marboeuf. “Finally, because of the increases in productivity gained using Talend, we have more time to meet the demands of our colleagues by developing, for example, new solutions that facilitate work. Data integration in Excel files has become a piece of cake, whereas before this used to take a long time. Given the size of the IT team and the issues related to the growth of our business, Talend offers us significant support and reassurance.'