Thanks to our strategic partnership with Boomi, PortaOne was able to help South Africa-based company called ECN to upgrade the way their enterprise resource management system (ERP) was synchronizing data with PortaBilling – and to do it in just 2 months.
The old data-sync component, which was written in .NET and was responsible for activities, such as transferring customer information, reconciling charges and payments, and so on – was difficult to maintain, and new data flows were taking far too long to implement. The result: an increased need for time-consuming and resource-draining manual data entry. With this new implementation via low-code Boomi iPaaS from PortaOne – known as PortaOne Workflows – ECN successfully reduced these maintenance efforts to near-zero and refined their data sync process with new attributes and conditions, all in just a matter of hours. Plus, ECN did all of this using their own in-house specialists, who are not experienced software developers.
How the key players worked together
Let’s start this success story with a look at the key players who were able to bring this project to fruition.
ECN (Electronic Communications Network) Ltd. has been in business since 2005. The company’s mission is to “be the leading next generation communications provider in South Africa.” ECN offers their customers a vast array of communication services, including voice and fax, data, cloud, and IoT. They have also been a valued PortaOne customer since 2018.
SAP B1 (Systems, Applications, & Products in Data Processing) is a well-known multinational software company, developing enterprise software that manages business operations and customer relations. SAP is a global leader in ERP software, which companies use to manage day-to-day business activities such as accounting, procurement, project management, risk management and compliance, and supply chain operations.
ECN uses SAP B1 as their ERP system. They also use our own PortaBilling platform as their billing solution. And, to help PortaBilling sync its customer records and other data with their SAP software, they initially used a middleware (API), that they developed in-house.
And the last but certainly not least player in this story is Boomi. Boomi is a software developer specializing in a low-code iPaaS (integration platform as a service) that requires only a few mouse clicks and a few lines of code to create a dataflow that can connect different software systems, such as extracting reconciled transactions from an accounting system using its API, and delivering that data into a billing system through the API. With just a few days of work, a company can combine several great products into a single, ultra-powerful solution. Boomi has topped the list of the Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service for the last eight years. They are also a PortaOne partner (more about this later).
What ECN did
Recently, ECN was faced with the need to upgrade to a newly released version of SAP B1– one that involved new API methods on SAP’s side. And, at the same time, the existing middleware that sat between PortaBilling and SAP was already needing adjustment. It had been created using a “classic” development approach (writing code using the .NET programming language) and it had proven to be very difficult to maintain. Every small adjustment of functionality had to go through the full software development cycle, starting from specification, then coding, followed by testing and deployment.
This meant that data synchronization at ECN was always a few steps behind the needs of its various departments. As a work-around, the team was entering information manually – a process that, as you can imagine, took a lot of costly person-hours and slowed things down considerably.
These days, ERP has become a vital part of any company’s daily business. For that reason, it must be reliable, it must be efficient, and it must require as little maintenance and downtime as possible. But, as ECN knows well, this is often not the case: developers are notorious for creating code that is designed to function perfectly in a perfect environment, and forgetting that no business environment is ever perfect. How will the code operate if there is a temporary problem on the network, a server restart, or any of the other complications that businesses often face? When developers do not take these issues into account, administrators need to step in to fix things manually. And, sadly, they need to do it often.
So, the SAP update was the ideal opportunity for ECN to replace their finicky middleware – and they chose PortaOne Workflows as their new solution. They launched Workflows in a high-availability Boomi cluster in their private cloud – this, combined with Boomi’s built-in capabilities for service orchestration and error handling – allowed the finished low-code app to seamlessly run without manual intervention.
What this means for ECN
The PortaOne Workflows undertaking has yielded several key benefits for ECN. This Boomi iPaaS from PortaOne is significantly more reliable, easier to manage, and is reducing their expenses – and it will continue to deliver even more benefits going forward. ECN has found that PortaOne Workflows has gone above and beyond their expectations, with results like these:
- It sped up the route to market with the entire project – from design to deployment of a non-commercial acceptance system. The typical timeline of 4-6 months for a project like this dropped to a mere 2 months thanks to the low-code/no-code approach.
- It proved to be reliable thanks to the highly available architecture for run-time and resilient implementation with auto recovery from errors like temporary network issues.
- It is easier to maintain: when it’s time for infrastructure maintenance or troubleshooting, administrators can pause and re-run process executions with simple UI controls; reports and email notifications can be customized, and updated workflows can be deployed from a staging or production environment in a single click.
- It is easily adjustable: most simple tasks, such as transmitting a piece of customer data from SAP into PortaBilling or changing the data transformation rules, can be done by ECN staff themselves in just a few hours.
- It has reduced ECN’s costs by cutting out the need for the manual workflow actions that once had to take place when the former middleware (wasn’t able to cope with high loads.
Where PortaOne played a role
Just as ECN relies on PortaOne to solve their billing needs, we rely on Boomi for their development expertise to help us deliver to customers like ECN the turnkey data sync solutions they need. The internal experts – like Boomi developer and architect Sergii Kirik – perform the analysis, design a solution, and execute the implementation and rollout.
Simultaneously, ECN’s team built their own Boomi practice, including hiring skilled Boomi engineers. Now, ECN has total ownership over this solution, and can manage the data stewardship easily with their own in-house teams.
So many companies can benefit from the use of PortaOne Workflows, just like ECN did. If you are a PortaOne customer, you too are able to access the benefits of Boomi iPaaS from PortaOne.
Learning to use Boomi iPaaS and similar no-code automation tools is easy, and by taking this step you can give yourself the power to create your own custom solutions that will reduce your costs, increase your efficiency, improve the reliability of your data (sync) flow, and ensure better data integrity.
Meanwhile, our team here at PortaOne is always here to offer you our expertise in automation and integration, and to work with you to deliver your ideal turnkey solution in record time.
Our partnerships with leading companies in telecom, software, data and more bring all kinds of additional value to our customers. Boomi is a prime example of this, but they’re not the only ones.
If you are facing a complicated integration or automation scenario, we can help. Reach out to our sales team and tell us what you want to accomplish and we’ll work with you to devise a solution that fulfills your specific needs.
Contact us today.