New Generation Data Management System (SPECTRON® 2nd Generation)

Industry

Information services

Customer

Arvato Services is a company specialized in business–to–business data and customer services. Formerly a division of Arvato AG, Arvato Services is the Europe's largest customer service provider with presence in more than 30 countries. In 2008, the company was taken over by the Swedish group Bisnode and changed its name to Spectron Business Solutions.

Project Overview

The goal of the project is to develop a new Spectron2G (Spectron 2nd Generation) Application. This application should replace the legacy Spectron systems developed in 1981. Spectron2G is a group of systems that gather, collect, and store data coming from multiple sources. The data are corrected, normalized, standardized and improved in many ways in order to resell the information or re–use it for Spectron Business Solutions services. The new system is designed to support new business developments within the existing business model. The system should be scalable and flexible enough to support new business models.

In line with the vision to provide customers with world class data and services, the existing Spectron systems and business model should be translated and migrated to a new best proven practice and architecture. The migration should result in a reduced maintenance cost (ETL project) for the application and provide Spectron BC Data & Content Services with an information processing system that is closely aligned with the company's operational and strategic business goals.

According to the general architecture, Spectron2G Application includes:

  • Web applications (client–server software implemented on Java, JSP)
  • Middleware services (implemented on Java and C/C++)
  • Server–side applications (implemented on C/C++ and Informix 4G) with ETL subproject (Rule Engine).

Project Execution

IBA implemented all project lifecycle stages. IBA experts analyzed customer requirements, designed the new software, creating detailed design of databases and applications; built a new architecture; migrated data; as well as implemented and tested the applications (functional and integration testing).

In the course of project implementation, IBA performed customer data migration from mainframe to a cluster of HP UNIX and Informix DB (IBM Informix Dynamic Server 10). The migration part of the project comprised the following stages:

  • Data Migration
  • Data Synchronization
  • Data Warehousing.

In addition, IBA created Metadata, a system of databases and libraries that tunes every part of the newly developed programs, such as user forms, databases, services, and batch processes.

IBA also developed a new statistical accounting system that allows for retrieving statistic data on all actions of users and systems in the online mode. Based on the information, different reports can be generated.

Software Environment and Technologies

–IBM Informix Dynamic Server 10, IBM Informix ESQL

–HP UNIX scripting, C/C++, Microsoft Visual Studio

–Eclipse IDE 3.3, Java jdk/jre 1.5, JBOSS 4.0, Hibernate, Spring, ICEfaces, Web Services, MS Explorer 7.0

–MS Access, Microsoft Office Visio Professional, Macromedia HomeSite 5.5.

Project Results

The new software includes:

  • 16 web applications
  • Numerous web services
  • Specially developed ETL tool to move data from normalized databases to Star Scheme DB
  • Tools for obtaining and processing information from different sources such as flat files, other databases, and XML
  • Tools that support interfaces to other applications, such as Yellow Pages, Accountant systems, customer DB's or account applications.

The new Spectron2G is capable of processing a huge amount of data. IBA developed a visual user interface with advanced design of web forms. Software functionality has substantially expanded, and the new structure incorporates the company's operational and strategic business goals. After the successful project implementation, our customer has achieved higher performance and the ability to provide extra services to its clients.

Peter De Witte, Data & Operations Manager of Spectron Business Solutions N.V., commented: “The Spectron 2G project is the first project ever that was outsourced by Spectron Business Solutions. This decision needed a strong change management from our own R&D and business department. Due to the distance (Antwerp — Minsk), we needed to install new methods of communication and follow–up. With help and experience of IBA we succeeded. The Spectron 2G project had much to do with Belgian data and culture. Not always easy for IBA personnel to understand! IBA proved to be a solid, flexible, understanding and reliable partner in designing, developing and testing our new applications. I want to congratulate the IBA team for the work they have done. Spectron Business Solutions continues to cooperate with IBA in the future.”

Luc Mees, Project Manager ICT of Spectron Business Solutions N.V., added: “IBA was the right choice as partner for Spectron2G. Now it is a good moment to thank you all for the efforts made. A lot of people were involved in this project: some of you from the beginning to the end, others just for a short time, some of you I could meet face to face, others I just know from chat or email. But during the project I felt the engagement was very high and everyone was proud on his job. There were of course a lot of problems like in every project: specifications were not always clear enough, a lot of documentation was in Dutch, some miscommunication, business logic which seemed to be a little bit strange. But always you manage to overcome them. To all of you who went to another project I want to say: I hope you liked it to work for the Spectron project. We liked it to work with you and maybe we meet again. For those who stay: I hope you will like it in the future as well and I hope we can continue for a long time. Thanks you did a great job!”

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