RESEARCH & RESOURCES

Case Study: Extract, Transform, and Load Unlimited Package for Business Intelligence at Virgin Mobile

Commentary by Lionel Beaudet Technical Manager, Virgin Mobile France

Virgin Mobile France, the leading alternative mobile operator in France, leverages Talend Integration Suite to drive its business operations.

The Leading French MVNO

Virgin Mobile France, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), has been offering since April 2006 a simple, innovative, and competitive offering, leveraging the Orange network. Launched in the United Kingdom by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Mobile is also present in Australia, the United States, Canada, South Africa, and India. More than 10 million customers in the world are benefiting from its services.

Open Source: Architectural Choice and Economic Necessity

Since it began its operations, Virgin Mobile France has chosen to adopt open source technologies. “We made this decision for both economical and philosophical reasons: the MVNO business is a very specific one, and there is no turnkey solution dedicated to our activity. We had important customization needs, and we wanted to be able to modify the code easily,” explained Lionel Beaudet, technical manager at Virgin Mobile France. “Even if the open source solutions have a cost, their quality-price ratio is unbeatable. Moreover, through an access to the source code, we can keep control of our information system.”

Today the vast majority of the information system at Virgin Mobile France relies on a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl) stack: Web Applications, CRM, and Back Office. MySQL constitutes the foundation of the architecture: “Our databases need to manage important data volumes; our customer base will reach 1 million subscribers in 2008 and their calls generate about 5 million invoicing tickets per day. These volumes are increasing continuously,” continued Beaudet.

The Only Enterprise-Ready Open Source Data Integration Solution

The solution deployed covers sales performance management, marketing management, customer service data, and financial data. Virgin Mobile France uses Talend Integration Suite to extract data from the production databases, transform this data, and integrate it in the data warehouse database. Organized according to a star schema, this database allows for efficient and fast selection and aggregation of selected data to guarantee analytical accuracy.

With hindsight, we can affirm thatTalend offers the only open sourcedata integration solution that isreally enterprise-ready.

“Talend Integration Suite organizes data by fetching it in different production database tables and consolidating it in the data warehouse. It helps us go beyond the limits of transactional systems and offer our users high performance reporting services,” said Beaudet. “With hindsight, we can affirm that Talend offers the only open source data integration solution that is really enterprise-ready and that provides all the necessary features, the performance of a professional solution, quality technical support, and a high degree of integration with MySQL and the rest of our environment. Its appropriation is easy and fast, and it offers many customization options.”

Virgin Mobile France chose Talend Integration Suite for two main reasons. “On one hand, we benefited from high quality and very reactive support services. The implementation of the solution was performed by Logica, but we now manage it in-house, even though we sometime require support. On the other hand, the solution facilitates collaboration work and gives us the ability to work as a team on the same project, which helps us save time,” Beaudet said.

The benefits gained by Virgin Mobile France can be found in two strategic domains: first, the senior management has gained better visibility on the business, allowing them to respond quickly to changing market conditions and to define priorities. Second, the marketing team now has the information it needs to gain market share and to grow customer loyalty.

After the deployment of the last two parts of the initial project, Virgin Mobile France plans to develop further its reporting system, particularly in order to integrate new offerings and take into account the evolution of regulations. “A data warehouse project never ends, and we will continue to refine our tools in order to respond more and more accurately to the needs of our users. Versatility and ease of maintenance are also very important aspects of the integration solution,” concluded Beaudet. “Concerning that point, Talend Integration Suite also gives us full satisfaction.”

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