A company’s digital development and data utilisation quickly hit a brick wall if information does not move between systems in the desired manner. Integrations are one of the cornerstones by which both cost-effectiveness and general project efficiency can be improved, as long as they are implemented in a sensible manner.
Kokkolan Energia was using several systems that employed point-to-point integrations. This meant that the company was lacking an overview of the state of its integrations. Information still had to be manually transferred between some systems.
“This was because we had no clear understanding of how information flows, how it is utilised, and whether it could be utilised in other ways as well. We had not been engaging in comprehensive development,” says Petri Syrjänen, Development Manager, Outsourced ICT at Kokkolan Energia.
“These kinds of point-to-point integrations result in a “spaghetti architecture” whose maintenance and development becomes very difficult and expensive. When you create locks between systems, it becomes difficult to replace them when necessary.”
Kokkolan Energia also had some data-centric projects coming up in the near future, which made sorting out the integration platform a priority.
“Renewing our integration solution is a basic building block in moving towards more modern system architecture, in which data moves in a controlled and monitored manner, and integrations can be built much more agilely and cost-effectively. It also enables us develop businesses and processes much more quickly,” says Syrjänen.
The renewal also sought to improve operational reliability.
“Integration management and troubleshooting was laborious and time-consuming, so we wanted to get them covered by advanced monitoring.”
Boomi enables hybrid integrations
Kokkolan Energia needed a solution that could handle integrations between systems in both cloud and on-premises environments. The final choice of partner was based on many factors.
“Digia was a suitably sized operator that could provide not only integration expertise, but also a scalable maintenance service that suited our needs. Our discussions also conveyed Digia’s understanding of Kokkola Energia’s situation. Digia’s extensive offering also made them an interesting option.”
On Digia’s recommendation, Kokkolan Energia introduced Dell Boomi, which included the required hybrid support.
“Dell Boomi is a mature and widely used technology that is strongly supported by many Finnish operators. Boomi also seemed like a solution that would enable us to implement integrations efficiently, and thereby achieve cost savings,” says Syrjänen.
Project enables enhanced working methods
The project was launched in early 2020, by setting up the Boomi platform and defining the required integrations. Documentation and processes were also developed, and they posed a few challenges.
“Documentation and process descriptions were not always available, meaning that we had to make more assumptions than expected during our specification work. We also took this opportunity to go through our processes and look for things that could be improved”, says Syrjänen.
During the initial stage of the project, Kokkolan Energia selected the integrations that were to be transferred to the Boomi platform in the first phase. These included integration of the time tracking system into the HR system and financial management invoicing system.
Syrjänen says that the project went smoothly and to schedule. Cooperation with Digia will continue with maintenance and minor developments.
“In my opinion, cooperation with Digia has been very straightforward. Some very skilled people have been involved in the project,” says Syrjänen.
“Our ultimate goal is for all integrations to be in Boomi, so that we can monitor and develop them through this channel. We already have a backlog of minor developments to implement, and further integrations will no doubt have to be made as part of larger projects,” he says.