Dutch online travel and leisure platform Emesa was facing accelerating data growth and complex data exchanges between its applications. To ensure a positive customer experience - and still support internal business intelligence - it needed a new integration solution.
Emesa Nederland BV is the leading Dutch e-commerce company. It provides travel and leisure platforms where customers can search for, compare and book everything from holidays through concerts to beauty, spa and wellness packages. Every week in the Netherlands, over five million subscribers receive Emesa’s e-newsletter. Over 95 million users visit the company’s websites each year. In 2011, three million consumers completed transactions via Emesa, generating over 125 million euros in revenue.
Emesa’s IT infrastructure is built around an auction platform that the company developed in 2010. Completed transactions are fed into an ERP system from Dutch software provider Afas and an open-source solution from SugarCRM is used to manage customer data. These three systems all run on MySQL databases. Every day, 300,000 users and tens of thousands of auctions generate huge amounts of data which is stored in a central warehouse based on Greenplum, a division of EMC.
The central data warehouse currently holds over one terabyte of data and this figure is rising rapidly. Emesa’s company-wide reporting system - built on the business intelligence solution Qlikview - also draws on this data.
“Our platform brings providers and customers together - the simple, transparent way,” says Emesa CTO André Buren. “Our slogan - ‘Just Enjoy’ - underscores our commitment to offering a unique shopping experience where simplicity is the golden rule. This comes at the price of an extremely complex IT landscape. Our auction platform is the exchange at the heart of this landscape. And we have to process the big data generated by this exchange more or less in real time.”
“Our challenge was to find a solution that could exchange data between the data warehouse and MySQL databases on the one hand, and the Qlikview solution on the other - and operate reliably under extreme conditions,” recalls Arno Pont, managing director of WeDoBi, a specialist business intelligence integrator.
As Emesa firmly believes in open source software, the consultants recommended the Talend integration platform. For the initial test phase, the company installed the free community version, Talend Open Studio for Data Integration, and put it through its paces under real-life conditions.
Emesa then purchased the commercial version, Talend Enterprise Data Integration to control data exchanges between the data warehouse, the MySQL databases supporting the individual applications and the Qlikview BI solution. On the one hand, it retrieves data from the data warehouse for the applications and loads it to the individual databases. On the other, it collects data generated through transactions and customer interactions from the MySQL databases, converts it into a uniform format and loads it to the data warehouse.
“We need performance, flexibility and scalability - and these are the hallmarks of Talend,” summarises Buren. “Twenty of our developers work with the Talend software. We are particularly impressed with the user-friendly graphical user interface and the modular, component-based architecture – we know that the solution will grow along with our business.” Emesa is currently testing the new big data version of the Talend platform, for example, and assessing additional data quality functionality.
The new, powerful data integration platform enables Emesa to launch targeted marketing campaigns more frequently, for example, offers aimed at older audiences or focusing on specific regions. The entire infrastructure is scalable and can accommodate any plans for future expansion.
“We are already the clear market leader in the Netherlands. Now, we are looking to consolidate our foothold in Germany and, after that, we have our sights firmly set on the European market. Our platform is designed from the ground up to support multiple countries and languages so, from a technical perspective, there are no limits to what we can achieve,” explains Buren.