How Mateco and Debreuck Neirynck Fully Believe in the Power and Value of Streaming Architecture
“Streaming architecture is a real evolution, a true game changer, something which transforms the way of integrating things for good.”, dixit Wim Debreuck. A vision that is entirely in line with the way in which mateco intends to tackle its business processes in the future, and also the main reason why they decided to join forces with Debreuck Neirynck. Discover the full story!
Need for Intelligent Integration
The mateco Group is one of the leading suppliers for renting working platforms. The fleet of rental equipment currently comprises over 12,000 working platforms in more than 700 different designs. With 150 locations in Europe, Mexico, Panama and Chile and more than 80 partners around the world, this requires a world-class administrative organization. A tangle of ERP systems, custom applications and more, where a profound and intelligent integration solution is absolutely necessary.
The scope of this project in short: the replacement of all systems by a new platform consisting of a standard ERP system and custom built apps used by mateco’s workforce and customers. The overall integration between all components is done by the use of Kafka and streaming architecture. A solution that has to be unrolled worldwide, which comes down to a total amount of 15 countries.
Any more impressive figures? The software solution is set up by a team of 150 IT professionals, labeled as the Q.one squad, divided into several units. Debreuck Neirynck is part of both the integration and the architecture squad. Wim Debreuck is a member of the architecture unit, mainly focusing on integration architecture and business event behavior (using system dynamics), where the integration squad is led by Debreuck Neirynck’s CTO Wout Neirynck. He ensures all things quality and design related on code level is perpetuated.
As mentioned before, streaming architecture was chosen for the integration and supported by the use of Apache Kafka. Not an obvious choice, considering the new character of this technology. Nevertheless, mateco has dared to bet on this, not least because Debreuck Neirynck is one of the few companies worldwide that uses streaming architecture at that level.
Streaming Architecture, the Holy Grail
Today’s need for decentralized software systems is tremendous, which in turn translates in the need for appropriate integration solutions. Streaming architecture is one such good solution, an approach that, moreover, makes connecting systems less rigid. A real evolution, a true game changer, something which transforms the way of integration for good. And you can take this transition very literally. The implementation of streaming architecture has a strong impact on the business processes. A transition that must be executed in several steps and might take several years to complete.
How do we tackle this in reality? Everything needs to be translated in business events. It’s a way of expressing technical matters in business language. A business event message can simply include that a “contact has been created”, but can contain a lot of underlying technical information. On top, streaming architecture facilitates an easier dissolution of existing systems. Different components can be isolated and it can be decided whether or not they will be used in the new system.
Another special fact about this project: the overall solution is built and delivered in a cloud-native and multi-cloud environment. This ensures less human resources are required for the infrastructure. Exceptional for a project of this order of magnitude.
A Long-Term Journey
In terms of next steps, the whole Q.one squad is now mainly focusing on creating specific functionalities and making the platform much more intelligent. As said before, this system has to be rolled out for approximately 15 countries. Each country has its own requirements, its own needs in functionalities. Although, in order to retain some overview, it was decided to align 85% of the solution. And that is the stage in which the Q1 squad now finds itself: in some countries, building is still in full swing, while in others things get rolled out.
Furthermore, the possibilities of streaming architecture are very far-reaching. Behaviour can be analyzed while it’s happening, which enables us to capture and process tons of data in real-time. Something in which streaming architecture is very distinctive compared to classic business intelligence where we store big data in data lakes and try to make some sense of it by searching the data.
In the long run, the intention is to commercialize this technology to other market segments. To realise the Q.one project, mateco has entered into a joint venture with the Cronos Group. On top, Debreuck Neirynck has a unique in-house knowledge in the area of streaming architecture. Therefore, it would be a shame not to capitalize further on this potential. To be continued for sure!
Inspired by this customer story? Curious to learn more about the possibilities of streaming architecture for your business? Don’t hesitate to get in touch and let’s talk!
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Debreuck Neirynck developed a new application for us for efficient and consistent pricing and planning. But more important is the smooth way in which they implied this. They delivered a very clear delivery plan and all our employees were well prepared for the new things to come. Absolutely a good piece of change management.