Outsourcing Integration

Challenge

The customer is active in retail trade and logistics with operations in 23 European countries. A common integration platform had been set up in the group. There was a gradual increase of portal utilization as a result of new development projects requiring integrations and due to migration of older integrations. The platform was used for information flows in logistics above all.

The customer was experiencing instability and unpredictable performance in the common integration platform. Consequently, interruptions and disruptions in the central business flows were occurring with unacceptable frequency. The problems were linked to a lack of proactivity in resolving basic problems and non-controlled integration development that had resulted in an abundance of poorly arranged and non-standardized solutions.

Implementation

A plan was made for assuming ownership of the platform. A start-up project was conducted where several specified activities were implemented during a ten-week period. Ferrologic then assumed responsibility for 24/7 support, operational monitoring, management and development of the integration platform. Ongoing improvement is now performed in parallel with daily operations.

Several improvement measures were implemented during the initial start-up project:

  • automated monitoring procedures introduced
  • existing documentation improved and supplemented
  • new common procedures produced and templates introduced
  • standards for designing integrations and documenting them introduced
  • procedures for handoff to operations introduced
  • new support and operational monitoring organization set up

In addition to daily support and operational monitoring, the undertaking after the start-up phase includes ongoing improvement work and analysis of the entire integration stack to identify bottle-necks and problem areas. Problems are listed, prioritized and remedied. Particularly problematic integration solutions are listed as candidates for a new design.

New development of integration solutions on a smaller scale will also be conducted as part of the ongoing operations and support undertaking.

All work is coordinated by Ferrologic’s service delivery manager (SDM), who also serves as the customer’s only point of contact for administration and planning issues.

The SDM and customer meet regularly to discuss various issues related to planning and implementing improvement measures and to plan maintenance and development activities.

Result

The platform’s stability has continued to improve since Ferrologic assumed responsibility for it. Improvement has been characterized by a proactive working method with a standardized solution pattern and a holistic approach to the entire platform, namely integration solutions, integration platform, database, operating system and hardware.

Introducing automatic monitoring procedures and tools for managing faulty integrations has resulted in incidents being managed quicker and more uniformly than previously. Recurrent errors are registered and improvement proposals are implemented, which subsequently increases the degree of service for integration solutions.

Integrations are developed on the basis of standard patterns and are uniformly documented, which leads to quicker development time and lower support costs.

Ferrologic is a competent advisor for the customer on issues such as architecture and issues related to process and principle. The customer now has a supplier that aims, with the customer, to create a stable platform with sound solutions, enabling efforts to focus on innovation in the future as well.