REVIEWER: Clement Chaumette, IT analyst at Easyssur.
BACKGROUND: Established in 1991, Easyssur is a pioneer of online insurance sales and builds targeted insurance offerings through several commercial brands. By using Web, telephone or video-conference technologies to handle customer relationships, Easyssur reinvents both proximity and personalized service.
HARDWARE PLATFORMS: Windows XP; Dual Xeon CPU servers running Windows 2003 Server.
PROBLEM SOLVED: In every aspect of Easyssurs business - customer relationships, claims, relationship with insurance companies - we try to be creative and to capitalize on new technologies to offer clients the best service at the lowest cost. Easyssur had the need for data extraction and integration. In order to better analyze our business and to improve our predictions, Easyssur developed a business intelligence platform.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We use Talend Open Studio to extract data from several applications in back-office systems - an enterprise resource planning (ERP) for insurance brokers and a customer relationship management (CRM)/rate calculator, both of them based on Microsoft SQL Server, Excel spreadsheets and Sage accounting software - and consolidate all of the data into a data warehouse to perform calculations, comparisons and predictions.
STRENGTHS: Talend Open Studio brings three key advantages. The first is maintainability. The solution is easy to understand and master, the environment is intuitive and its appropriation requires minimum training. Second, Talend Open Studio is very stable, which is a must-have for a production environment. Finally, Talend Open Studio offers maximum flexibility. Easyssur is growing quickly, and we need to be able to meet new requirements and quickly modify our integration processes. Beyond these advantages, Talend Open Studio offers economical advantages, no license costs and quick results obtained after only a short training.
WEAKNESSES: Talend Open Studio requires that database schemas (tables and columns descriptions) be defined prior to creating integration jobs using these databases. A little more flexibility in this field would be welcome. Also, in an early version of the product, we experienced some memory leaks in the development environment (not at runtime, though). These leaks were reported and fixed in recent versions.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Easyssur uses tools that help us reduce costs. We were looking for a reliable and economical way to perform our data extractions. Because we were using Microsoft SQL Server 2000 databases, we first looked at what Microsoft had to offer, but a limited functional coverage and a lack of ease of use drove us to look at open source solutions. We had significant Java expertise, and Talend with Java code generation was the ideal solution for us.
DELIVERABLES: Talend Open Studio helps us control the quality and consistency of data between several applications and provides us with a detailed snapshot of our activity - new business, contract cancelations, claims, etc. as well as our accounting and financing data.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Of major interest in the open source model is that community support is available at no cost through forums, wikis, bug trackers, blogs, etc. Talends developers are very active in this community and answer many of the questions - the rest are answered by our peers in other user organizations. We find this way of working as good as if not better than the technical support organizations of large proprietary vendors.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation was complete and easy to understand. We operate Talend Open Studio on our own and ramped up with minimal training.
Talend Open Studio
105 Fremont Ave, Suite F
Los Altos, CA 94022
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