Med lokala IT-lösningar på sina över 1300 församlingar behövde Svenska kyrkan uppdatera och förstärka sin IT-infrastruktur. Vi planerade och genomförde ett av Sveriges största IT-konsolideringsprojekt någonsin, där vi installerade ett gemensamt virtuellt skrivbord i ett privat moln med två lager av tjänster.

I korthet

UTMANING 

Att utveckla en rikstäckande IT-lösning som sänker IT-kostnaderna och förenklar de lokala administrativa uppgifterna, så att kyrkans medarbetare kan fokusera på kärnverksamheten istället – samt att skapa en enkel och effektiv stegvis övergång till den nya lösningen.

LÖSNING

Ett virtuellt skrivbord i ett privat moln med två lager av tjänster. Det första lagret är en gemensam IT-plattform som kör de administrativa program som församlingarna själva önskar. Det andra lagret erbjuder en gemensam programvara för bokföring och HR. Nya tjänster kan enkelt läggas till på den Citrix-baserade plattformen.

HUR VI GJORDE

Vi genomförde en förstudie av Svenska kyrkans processer och krav innan vi designade och utvecklade vår lösning. När vi var färdiga med förstudien besökte vi församlingar, utvärderade deras befintliga IT-lösningar och hjälpte dem att ansluta till sina nya virtuella skrivbord.

FÖRDELAR

IT-strukturen vid anslutna församlingar är nu uppdaterad och uppfyller alla lagar och myndighetskrav. Centraliserade inköps- och supportfunktioner har minskat IT-kostnaderna. Filer kan enkelt delas mellan församlingar och data lagras säkert i ett privat moln.

OM KUNDEN

Svenska kyrkan är landets största religiösa samfund. Totalt består organisationen av tretton stift med drygt 1300 församlingar och över 3000 kyrkor. Svenska kyrkan har sex miljoner medlemmar vars kyrkoavgifter uppgår till närmare 15 miljarder kronor.

Stegvis övergång

Svenska kyrkan är en enorm organisation med uppdrag att tillhandahålla kyrkliga tjänster i hela Sverige. Totalt består organisationen av drygt 1300 församlingar i landets alla hörn, där varje församling i praktiken är ansvarig för sin egen IT-struktur. Detta innebar att man hade lokala IT-lösningar och processer runt om i landet. Församlingarnas administrativa uppgifter behövde också förenklas så att medarbetarna kunde fokusera på sin kärnverksamhet istället. Efter en förstudie av organisationens processer, struktur och IT-krav föreslog Data Ductus en successiv övergång från denna splittrade, dyra och ineffektiva IT-infrastruktur till en ny gemensam lösning.

Lösning i två lager täcker alla behov

Lösningen består av två lager där församlingarna själva kan välja vilka centraliserade tjänster de vill använda. I det första lagret finns ett virtuellt skrivbord där varje församling väljer de administrativa program de föredrar. Medarbetarna kan komma åt molntjänsterna från vilken enhet som helst. Det andra lagret består av en gemensam och samlad programvara för bokföring och HR som förenklar lönebetalningar, fakturering och andra administrativa uppgifter. Den virtuella skrivbordslösningen körs på Citrix-plattformen. All data och alla tjänster är samlade i ett privat moln. Lösningen inkluderar även en bemannad IT-support.

För att underlätta övergången till den nya lösningen erbjuder Data Ductus även en uppgraderingstjänst till församlingar. Det innebär att vi utvärderar befintlig IT-struktur på församlingskansliet – där vi går igenom allt från nätverksanslutningen till kansliets datorer – och tar fram en enkel plan för övergången till det virtuella skrivbordet. När planen antagits, kan antingen Data Ductus-teamet eller en lokal IT-leverantör sedan utföra uppgraderingen.

Lägre kostnader och bättre samarbete

När fler och fler församlingar nu byter till Citrix-plattformen, gör stordriftsfördelarna att både underhållskostnader och kostnader för investeringar i ny hårdvara, nätverksresurser och liknande minskar. Eftersom alla anslutna församlingar delar samma programversioner har fildelning dessutom blivit mycket lättare. Som en konsekvens har samarbetet kring administrativa uppgifter mellan församlingarna blivit betydligt enklare, vilket i sin tur minskar administrativa kostnader och felkällor och förbättrar den övergripande kvaliteten.

Många av de vanligaste administrationsuppgifterna hanteras nu centralt. Till exempel innehåller bokföringssystemet en automatisk faktureringsfunktion, som skriver ut fakturor centralt och skickar dem till mottagaren, allt med en enkel knapptryckning.

Den privata molnlösningen uppfyller både befintliga och kommande regelverk, såsom GDPR. Sist men inte minst innebär en gemensam plattform att IT-organisationen enkelt kan erbjuda och implementera nya tjänster till alla församlingar över hela landet.

Som en bonus medförde projektet flera positiva effekter för miljön. Att gå från tusentals olika servrar i lokala datacenter – ofta med fler processorer igång än vad som var nödvändigt – till ett konsoliderat centralt datacenter, innebar att energiförbrukningen minskades avsevärt. Dessutom är förbättringen i termer av informationssäkerhet givetvis stor, eftersom riskexponeringen i de otaliga datacentren var omfattande.

Kundens omdöme

”När vi startade det här projektet var vi angelägna om att församlingarna själva skulle få välja om de ville hålla fast vid sin befintliga IT-lösning eller gå över till det virtuella skrivbordet. Vi skulle skapa en lösning som minskade deras administrativa uppgifter och gav dem mer tid till det de verkligen ville ägna sig åt i församlingen. Men vi behövde samtidigt ge dem en viss kontroll över sina egna processer.

Den här lösningen i två lager löste det problemet perfekt, eftersom församlingarna själva kan välja vilka delar de vill använda. Drygt två tredjedelar av kyrkans medarbetare i de lokala organisationerna ute i landet använder nu lösningen. Jag tror att när vi väl är färdiga kommer vi att ha genomfört ett av de största IT-konsolideringsprojekten i Sverige någonsin”, säger Hans Eskemyr, tidigare IT-chef på Svenska kyrkan.

En digital bank ville ha expertstöd till sin identifieringsfunktion från en betrodd leverantör som kunde leverera säker autentisering. Vår Identity as a Service-lösning (IaaS) med sin proaktiva Service Desk passade perfekt eftersom den gjorde det möjligt för banken att fokusera på sin kärnverksamhet.

I korthet

UTMANING 

En digital bank behövde extern expertis för att stödja, uppdatera och hantera gateways, brandväggar och deras Curity Identity Server. Det här skulle möjliggöra för banken att fokusera på att skapa intäktsdrivande tjänster snarare än att underhålla viktiga autentiserings funktioner.

LÖSNING

Identity as a Service inkluderar automatiserade uppdateringar, installationer och arbetsflöden för distribution och hantering enligt vedertagen branschstandard. En proaktiv Service Desk säkerställer att systemen fungerar smidigt och säkert.

SÅ GJORDE VI

Hantering av brandväggar, gateways och Curity Identity Server flyttades till en automatiserad miljö enligt vedertagen branschstandard. Detta gjordes av samma utvecklingsteam som nu ansvarar för verksamheten.

FÖRDELAR

Uppdateringar genomförs regelbundet och i rätt tid, patchar installeras för att förhindra potentiella säkerhetsintrång, ytterligare expertresurser kan kallas in vid behov och banken har tillgång till Data Ductus egen Curity/IAM-expertis och support.

OM KUNDEN

En svensk digital bank som erbjuder användarcentrerade tjänster till organisationer och privatpersoner i hela Norden. Det börsnoterade företaget har ett starkt fokus på data science.

Hantering och automatisering av autentiseringstjänster hos en ledande konsumentbank

Att erbjuda hög tillgänglighet samtidigt som ens autentiseringslösning är uppdaterad och säker är en stor utmaning för alla verksamheter som omfattas av snåriga regelverk. Regelbundna uppdateringar och patchar är nödvändiga om man vill erbjuda en strulfri kundinloggning och samtidigt undvika säkerhetsintrång. Om man har många andra viktiga IT-frågor att hantera kan autentiseringslösningar lätt hamna långt ner i prioriteringslistan. Vår kund ville säkerställa att autentisering och auktorisering fick lika hög prioritet som deras andra IT-frågor. Det mest effektiva sättet att åstadkomma detta är att anlita en partner som kan automatisera autentiseringsprocesserna och erbjuda en professionell Service Desk-funktion. Kunden undersökte marknaden och identifierade Data Ductus och vårt Identity as a Service-erbjudande som den bästa lösningen.

Identity as a Service (IaaS) 

IaaS utvecklades för att stödja medelstora till stora organisationer i hårt reglerade branscher med behov av en identifieringsplattform. Vanligtvis har kunderna hittat rätt lösning eller använder den redan, men de har inte själva den tekniska kompetens eller bandbredden som krävs för att hantera den här affärskritiska funktionen helt på egen hand.

Curity Identity Server-plattformen

Data Ductus har varit Curity-partner i över sex år – vi stödjer organisationer och företag som är beroende av strikt API-säkerhet i branscher som energi, bank, detaljhandel och kommunikation. Stefan Nilsson på Curity berättar att ”flera kunder har kontaktat oss och bett om hjälp när interna förändringar har gjort att de saknar resurser för att effektivt hantera Curity-tjänsten. Kunderna är nöjda med plattformen, men har inte längre egen expertis. I sådana fall är det väldigt smidigt att flytta det ansvaret till en certifierad partner, till exempel Data Ductus.”

Tar identifiering till en ny nivå 

Kunden hade använt Curity Identity Server i tre år när de kontaktade oss. Lösningen fungerade väldigt bra och de hade en väloljad utvecklarorganisation för att hantera den. De ville dock använda mer av sina interna resurser till att utveckla nya tjänster. Dessutom ville de inte behöva vara beroende av att ha egen identifieringsexpertis, och beslutade därför att anlita extern kompetens enligt IaaS-modellen.

Säker autentisering

Data Ductus implementerade IaaS-modellen i samarbete med bankens egen expertis. Den sista delen övergången implementerades i bankens infrastruktur tre månader senare. Autentiseringstjänsten inkluderar proaktivt underhåll och support för att upprätthålla säkerhet, upptäcka och lösa potentiella problem innan de blir kritiska, och hantera incidenter snabbt.

”När vi börjar arbeta med en ny kund gör vi en djupgående analys av deras behov av identifieringslösningar”, förklarar Per-Gustaf Stenberg, Solution Architect på Data Ductus. ”Vi kartlägger också de arbetsflöden och processer som kan automatiseras för att förbättra lösningen, och implementerar vedertagna branschstandarder för både teknik och processer. Dessutom definierar vi och avtalar om olika mätbara SLA:er, samt skapar tydliga kommunikationslinjer för att säkerställa ett öppet och effektivt samarbete.”

Lifecycle management 

Bankens IaaS-lösning levereras med Lifecycle Management – inklusive hosting, support och hantering av licenser. En dedikerad Service Desk erbjuder support till andra och tredje linjen för deras dagliga verksamhet, samt hanterar tickets, nya uppdateringar och särskilda tekniska supportärenden. Bankens IaaS-lösning levereras med Lifecycle Management – inklusive hosting, support och hantering av licenser. En dedikerad Service Desk erbjuder support till andra och tredje linjen för deras dagliga verksamhet, samt hanterar tickets, nya uppdateringar och särskilda tekniska supportärenden.

Joacim Claesson, Service Account Manager på Data Ductus säger att ”ett bra samarbete är centralt för vår relation med banken. Uppdateringar, konfigurationsändringar, patchar och artefakter installeras automatiskt i testmiljön innan teamet på banken får ge sitt godkännande. Den här strikta säkerheten är lagstadgad för en bank, och kontakten mellan oss är lika fundamental. De måste vara säkra på att vi agerar på potentiella hot genom att uppdatera systemet, och vi måste vara säkra på att de är tillgängliga för att godkänna uppdateringarna. Dessutom utvecklar vi de nödvändiga artefakterna ur alla olika säkerhetsperspektiv.”

Artefakter kan utvecklas av antingen vårt team eller av bankens utvecklare. Leveransen och installationen i testmiljön har automatiserats

Många fördelar

IaaS-avtalet omfattar även Service Desk-support efter kontorstid, något banken inte hade innan. Andra fördelar för banken är bland annat:

  • Tillgång till våra säkerhetsexperter med lång erfarenhet av autentisering och Curity Identity Server-plattformen 
  • Nya automatiserade arbetsflöden  
  • Frigjord tid och resurser till att utveckla nya tjänster 
  • Ett helt transparent samarbete

Bankens säkerhetsteam behöver inte längre oroa sig för autentiseringen. Oavsett vilken enhet en kund loggar in från kan de vara säkra på att identifieringsplattformen hanterar autentiseringen och att kunderna kommer åt sina konton – en tjänst som kunderna, med rätta, tar för givet. Sammantaget fungerar allt lika bra som det gjorde förut, men hela processen är mycket mer effektiv och uppdateringar görs mer regelbundet.

Anders Essner, Business Manager på Data Ductus.

Hur kan vi hjälpa dig?

Behöver ni hjälp med autentisering eller andra säkerhetstjänster? Kontakta oss redan idag och låt oss berätta hur vi kan hjälpa dig.

LKAB är mitt inne i en revolutionerande förändringsfas med målsättningen att göra sina gruvor koldioxidfria, digitaliserade och självständiga. För att stödja detta arbete utvecklade vi en global ITIL Service Desk med en integrerad CMDB.

I korthet

UTMANING 

Att stödja LKAB:s omvandling genom att skapa en Service Desk som blir en samlad kontaktpunkt som tillhandahåller IT-stöd för både hemmamarknaden och bolagets globala filialer. Detta omfattade även att möjliggöra automatiserade helpdesk-tjänster och förbättra leverantörernas prestationer och svarstider.

LÖSNING

En lokal ITIL Service Desk med integrerad CMDB (configuration management database) som stödjer kontinuerlig automatisering genom nära integrering med bolagets centrala infrastrukturtjänster. Det här gör att allt fler problem kan åtgärdas med minimal ansträngning, och möjliggör dessutom förebyggande åtgärder.

SÅ GJORDE VI

I nära samarbete med LKAB:s IT-avdelning definierade vi kravbilden för deras nya Service Desk, så att den låg i linje med bolagets digitaliseringsmål. Vi ersatte sedan de befintliga äldre systemen med en smidig och central lösning för hela koncernen.

FÖRDELAR

LKAB har nu en Service Desk på plats som är anpassad efter bolagets digitaliseringsmål. Supportärenden hanteras inte bara snabbt, vi har även skapat en plattform som är anpassad för kontinuerligt förbättringsarbete och automatisering.

OM KUNDEN

LKAB är Europas största järnmalmsproducent med 4200 anställda i 13 länder. Företaget ägs till 100 procent av svenska staten och har lanserat Nordens största industriella innovationsprojekt någonsin, med målet att göra gruvorna koldioxidfria, digitaliserade och självständiga.

Nya trender inom Service Desk Management

Den tidigare trenden att företag flyttar support och IT-tjänster utomlands håller på att vända. Supporten flyttas hem igen för att stärkas av den lokala domänexpertisen. Ett viktigt skäl till den här utvecklingen är att moderna IT-organisationer använder tjänster från så många olika leverantörer. En enda kontaktpunkt som samordnar alla dessa tjänster blir allt mer angeläget. Leverantörer som specialiserar sig på Service Desk hanterar och övervakar organisationens alla tjänste- och leverantörsavtal och möjliggör därmed kontinuerligt förbättringsarbete.

En affärsgenererande Service Desk

LKAB ville ha en ny typ av Service Desk som inte bara löser problem utan även fungerar som en proaktiv affärsgenerator, vilket ligger i linje med företagets digitala transformation. En omedelbar utmaning var att stärka kontrollen över leverantörernas prestationer och inrapporteringen av SLA:er (service level agreements). LKAB behövde en lösning som skulle ta bort leverantörssilon för att säkerställa att alla IT-ärenden hanterades snabbt. Företagets befintliga Service Desk för IT kunde inte tillhandahålla den transparens som krävs eller tillgodose Service Desk-behoven hos de olika filialerna runt om i världen. LKAB ville dock inte ta risken att själva bygga och bemanna en ny Service Desk som kunde möta deras krav. 2014 gjorde de därför en offentlig upphandling av Service Desk Management.

En ny användarcentrerad ITIL Service Desk

Vi tog oss an utmaningen med bolagets framtida behov som ledstjärna, det vill säga LKAB:s processer och arbetssätt och de viktigaste Service Desk-kraven. Detta resulterade i:

  • En generöst bemannad lokal servicedesk som ger support via telefon, e-post och olika digitala gränssnitt.
  • En agil tjänst som stödjer förändringar i infrastruktur, leverantörsbyten och nya SLA:er. Helautomatisk SLA-rapportering.
  • Helt anpassad till både befintliga och kommande regelverk, såsom GDPR.
  • En Service Desk för alla marknader och filialer.

Vi lanserade LKAB:s nya ITIL Service Desk 2015. Totalt bemannas den av åtta personer och är öppet 06.00-18.00. Alla tjänster, manualer och gränssnitt finns både på svenska och engelska.

Service Desk med full transparens

LKAB har nu full insyn i Service Desk-processerna hos sina IT-leverantörer. Alla SLA-rapporter lagras säkert och kan enkelt nås av auktoriserad LKAB-personal. Nya SLA:er kan snabbt läggas till vid förändrade villkor och leverantörskontrakt. Dessutom har viktig information som SOP:er (standard operation procedures), felsökningsguider, manualer, artiklar och tidigare lösta ärenden överförts från det äldre systemet till den nya plattformen. För leverantörerna innebär det här att de har mer tid att fokusera på högprioriterade ärenden, eftersom Service Desk-teamet hanterar de flesta rutinärendena. Dessutom delar leverantörer nu mer information med personalen på LKAB och med andra leverantörspartners vilket ger en mer transparent process.

Kundens omdöme 

”Ett år efter lanseringen genomförde vi en noggrann utvärdering av vår nya Service Desk. LKAB-anställda över hela världen fick betygsätta Data Ductus prestationer enligt vissa nyckeltal såsom svarstider och genomsnittstid för problemlösning, och ge feedback till slutanvändarna angående förbättringar. Service Desk-teamet fick mycket höga poäng. Sammanfattningsvis är man mycket nöjda med den nya tjänsten. Data Ductus är ett transparent företag som ger oss en transparent tjänst, vilket är precis vad vi ville ha.”
Head of IT-Operations Rory Wikman, LKAB, Kiruna.  

Hur kan vi hjälpa dig?

Behöver du hjälp med att förbättra din IT Service Desk? Läs mer om vad vi erbjuder inom Service Desk och IT Service Management och kontakta oss redan idag

Photo by Kiruna kommun

Haninge kommun ville ha hjälp av en pålitlig och beprövad leverantör för att ta hem sin Service Desk och skapa en SIAM-funktion. Vårt team driver nu deras Service Desk samtidigt som SIAM-funktionen ger en effektiv multisourcing-strategi.

I korthet

UTMANING 

Att utforma och driva en intern ITIL Service Desk som tillhandahåller IT-support och rådgivning, samt en SIAM-funktion (Service Integration and Administration), och därigenom stödja Haninge kommun i deras mål att skapa en framgångsrik multisourcing-strategi.

LÖSNING

En styrningsfunktion för IT-infrastrukturen baserad på SIAM-modellen och en lokal ITIL Service Desk – bemannad av Data Ductus personal – integrerar och samordnar de IT-tjänster som levereras till kommunen av olika tjänsteleverantörer.

SÅ GJORDE VI

Med hjälp av intervjuer med olika intressenter definierade vi nya administrativa processer och introducerade en styrningsmodell för centrala IT- och kommunikationsleverantörer. Vi implementerade och konfigurerade sedan ITSM-programmen för att passa de nya processerna, innan vi slutligen integrerade dem med andra centrala affärsprogram.

FÖRDELAR

Med en SIAM-funktion på plats har Haninge kommun nu en effektiv multisourcing-strategi. Resultatet är ett team av specialiserade leverantörer som arbetar mot fördefinierade SLA:er (service level agreements) för att förbättra IT-leveransen i kommunen och driva innovation genom hela organisationen.

OM KUNDEN

Haninge kommun ligger strax söder om Stockholm och har runt 86 000 invånare. Kommunala ansvarsområden omfattar bland annat utbildning, socialtjänst, stadsplanering, offentliga val och kultur och fritid.

Läs mer om caset här

Svenska kyrkans data lagrades i mindre datacenter som drevs av flera olika leverantörer. Som en del av deras digitala transformation planerade och genomförde vi en sömlös flytt av organisationens data i en detaljerad och samordnad fyrstegsprocess.

I korthet

UTMANING 

Att flytta data från mindre datacenter – hos flera utomstående leverantörer – till en ny IaaS-modell (Infrastructure as a Service) utan störningar eller avbrott i organisationens verksamhet

LÖSNING

I samarbete med Boston-baserade Transitional Data Services genomförde vi en kontrollerad flytt som inkluderade tusentals IT-komponenter, programvaror, databaser och komplexa integrationer i fyra separata steg.

SÅ GJORDE VI

Efter en inventering av IT-infrastrukturen och en analys av hur olika system var beroende av varandra, skapade vi en detaljerad plan för flytten. Team skapades på både de ”gamla” och ”nya” platserna, som sedan följde en gemensamt koordinerad lista med uppgifter under varje fas av flytten, för att säkerställa en smidig övergång.

FÖRDELAR

Flytten orsakade inga betydande avbrott eller störningar i organisationens IT-tjänster eller arbetsprocesser. Tids- och budgetramar möttes. Dessutom har IT-styrningen nu förbättrats avsevärt tack vare kartläggningen av organisationens IT-infrastruktur.

OM KUNDEN

Svenska kyrkan är landets största religiösa samfund. Totalt består organisationen av tretton stift med drygt 1300 församlingar och över 3000 kyrkor. Svenska kyrkan har sex miljoner medlemmar vars kyrkoavgifter uppgår till närmare 15 miljarder kronor.

Med sex miljoner medlemmar är Svenska kyrkan landets största religiösa samfund. I den historiska rollen som statskyrka har man haft många administrativa uppgifter, till exempel att hantera det nationella befolkningsregistret, vilket gör att man nu har en omfattande IT-infrastruktur. Svenska kyrkan har fortfarande lagstadgade skyldigheter som kräver en komplex uppsättning av IT-tjänster.

Den komplexa flytten till molnet

Under 2017 slöt Svenska kyrkan ett avtal med en ny leverantör av IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) för att ersätta sina befintliga mindre datacenter. Dessa fanns då på flera olika platser och drevs av underleverantörer. Övergången till IaaS visade sig dock vara mycket mer komplex än man först hade trott. Detta resulterade i att den ursprungliga projektplanen skrotades på grund av risken för serviceavbrott och störningar under själva flytten.

En roadmap för flytten

Man anlitade därför Data Ductus för att underlätta flytten. Tillsammans med vår partner, Boston-baserade Transitional Data Services (TDS), skapade vi en projektplan baserad på TDS verktyg och vedertagen branschstandard. Vi genomförde intervjuer med ämnesexperter och systemägare för att få en fullständig bild av hela den komplexa IT-infrastruktur som påverkades av flytten. Sedan gjorde vi en fullständig inventering av alla IT-komponenter och en grundlig analys av hur olika system var beroende av varandra, innan vi planerade den stundande flytten. Vi urskilde och definierade fyra separata steg i flytten, som behövdes för att minimera störningar och avbrott.

En smidig process

Med noga utarbetade strategier för de fyra separata delmomenten skapade vi team på både de ”gamla” och ”nya” platserna, för att underlätta en smidig process under flytten. Med hjälp av gemensamt koordinerade listor med uppgifter för alla inblandade genomfördes övergången på några timmar utan några avbrott, trots de olika systemens många beroenden av varandra. Flyttens tids- och budgetramar möttes

Förbättrad IT-styrning

Som en bonus fick Svenska kyrkan med hjälp av projektet förbättrad kontroll och styrning av sin IT-infrastruktur. Beroendeanalysen och åskådliggörandet av systemens olika delar som skedde under projektets gång gjorde det möjligt för dem att planera en effektivare och säkrare lösning. Alla datakällor är nu säkert åtskilda tack vare effektiv nätverkssegmentering, och informationsägare kan lita på datan i deras nya uppdaterade CMDB (configuration management database).

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A leading provider of wooden flooring and furnishing technology turned to Data Ductus for a new innovative vision system, which has been fully integrated into their production facilities.

In brief

Challenge 

Quality Control staff using the company’s systems were unable to consistently identify small defects in flooring during high-speed production, and wastage was too high.

Solution

Boards are scanned by a 3D scanner on a conveyer belt. A newly developed vision platform collects, analyzes and visualizes the data, and informs machine operators about defects. All data is categorized and centrally stored for later use.

How we did it

We worked closely with the customer to develop the initial machine vision solution. Today, agile workflows are used to seamlessly incorporate additional capabilities and intelligence into the solution which has become a fully integrated part of their production.

Benefits

Wastage has been greatly reduced and manual inspection stations have been minimized. The solution can be incorporated into the production practice and implemented at different manufacturing plants. Additionally, systematic production problems can now be identified and resolved.

About the client

The customer is a leading provider of wooden flooring and furnishing technology.

State-of-the-art production

The company wanted a state-of-the-art production line, with minimum wastage and resource requirements. During manufacturing, multiple floor tiles are produced on a 2 x 2.4 meter hardened wood composite core, with a thinly applied veneer layer, before being cut to size. Heat and high pressure can cause blistering, bending, and other damage to multiple or single tiles during the production process.

Manual inspection of the boards is challenging due to the size and speed that the boards are produced. It’s virtually impossible for a person to consistently identify small but crucial defects with just a few seconds to inspect them, especially as a defect can be smaller than one square centimeter and protrude less than 0.5 millimeters from the wooden surface. To consistently identify such defects, an effective machine vision system is required to rapidly and accurately inspect the boards.

Inspecting the details with 3D scanning

Since the flooring has extremely low tolerances, the choice of hardware for data collection was critical. Minute height differences – as small as 0.03 millimeters on the veneer edges – had to be recorded and analyzed. The boards also had to be inspected while traveling on a conveyor belt. Therefore, a 3D scanning solution was deemed most appropriate.

A new vision solution

A new vision solution was developed to collect, analyze and store the data generated by the 3D board scanner. This provides a range of benefits. For instance, each board is marked with a unique identifier, to which the stored data is coupled. With this data, single tiles within a core panel can be automatically rejected if they have a defect, at a later stage in production. Previously, the whole panel was rejected, now, single tiles are discarded once the panel is cut into tiles. Additionally, machine operators are informed of any defects and can make an instant decision on how to proceed.

All measurement data is stored in a central database and is available for post analysis. Together with other process data, it can be used to detect and resolve systematic problems in production.

A collaborative partnership

What began as a vision system project, has now evolved into a long-term partnership. New measurements and features have been added and the solution has been fully integrated into the production process. Collaborative agile workflows enable the scanner to be rapidly adapted for parallel projects while small on-the-fly improvements can be quickly implemented.

A future-proof vision system

The new vision system provides objective inspection of products, with high traceability in the form of quantification of the measurements stored in an ordered and accessible format. Automated sorting of defect tiles means wastage is minimized. Furthermore, the need for manual inspection has been greatly reduced, freeing up resources in manufacturing. Finally, the ability to identify issues in production, provides an innovative tool for identifying production improvements and alerting staff about potential upcoming service requirements.

A global air-purifying manufacturer was unable to explore and take advantage of new digital opportunities due to its reliance on IT legacy systems. Bringing IT up to date through a cloud architecture design was imperative to safeguard the market position and help grow the business as part of the company’s digital transformation.

In brief

Challenge 

The company’s existing IT solution was holding back innovation and production was not as efficient as it should be. Competitors were incorporating new functions and services in their products and deploying them much faster. As the market leader, the company had to act to secure their position, grow sales and modernize the entire product lifecycle.

Solution

The new architecture design connects the entire ecosystem – from enterprise resource planning to user app control – in a secure, multi-cloud – AWS, Azure and Alibaba. It supports device management, online payments, real-time sensor monitoring, and advanced Business Intelligence tools.

How we did it

We worked closely with senior management at the company to define a digital roadmap. We designed the cloud architecture to support this and developed firmware in parallel to avoid delays in delivery.

Benefits

User data is now aggregated and analyzed to guide product development and improve the user experience through better app features and proactive air controls. Automated diagnostics enables issues to be fixed quickly online. Data security and integrity is assured. Additionally, manufacturing is more efficient, as automated processes have been incorporated into production.

About the client

The company is a global manufacturer and provider of air filter solutions for commercial and homeowner use.

Data-driven architecture design – from mobile apps and enterprise resource planning systems to data lakes and protocol adapters

A leading IT environment for a market leading company

As the leading provider of clean air products, the company’s solutions are renowned for their ability to filter air to provide protection against harmful pollutants. The company’s engineers are highly skilled in developing products that do this silently and effectively. However, they do not have the inhouse competence to develop an IT environment that can fully utilize the opportunities on offer from digitalization. Data Ductus was challenged with analyzing the company’s existing IT platform and designing a new, futureproof architecture that would put the company’s IT in the same leading spot as its market position.

“We were approached by senior management to look holistically at how IT is used today, analyze the potential opportunities IT can deliver, and develop a roadmap for the coming years. This included everything from giving users a first-class digital experience when using the product, to assessing how changes could be implemented in production, to creating a secure environment for sensitive user data.”

Mario Toffia, Data Ductus Senior Architect

A culture of user-centricity

The assignment was run from a user-centric perspective. Providing clean air to businesses and consumers – in a simple and service-minded way – was the driving force of the cloud architecture design (see figure below). This meant developing a simple onboarding processes for end customers and identifying intelligent monitoring and analytics tools and processes to gain a better understanding of users, support predictive online maintenance and guide new product/feature development. Additionally, it covered the lifecycle of the product from supply of parts through to remote maintenance.

Providing users with clean air and a great user experience were at the center of the new digital roadmap, from which different key elements were addressed. *Enterprise Resource Planing

Holistic and fine-grained architecture

The team from Data Ductus – who worked closely with the client’s tech team throughout the assignment – consisted of a Senior Solution Architect, and a small development team with cloud, IoT and firmware expertise. The cloud architecture design included overreaching plans for how IT can support the business, all the way down to specifying protocol adapters, sensors, API gateways, identity management tools and much more (see figure below). The architecture design and specifications had to be comprehensive and intuitive in order for third-party utilization or indeed for another provider to deploy the service. Development of cloud functionality, APIs and firmware was also done iteratively and in parallel to the architecture design, so as not to slow the project down. This included everything from system development and testing, to device monitoring and control, to configuration and event management.

The comprehensive and intuitive architecture overview was derived from a multi-cloud infrastructure.

New product line

Due to the limited IT capabilities of existing products, the decision was taken to build a completely new “connected” line of products and an IoT platform to support them. This enabled monitoring of local air quality 24/7 from which push notifications could be sent to users and/or purifiers. With the new product line, much more data can be captured, providing more fine-grained data on user activity, such as why and how users adjust fan speed and the way in which they interact with the app. Regional user patterns can also be identified and analyzed.

Push notifications are used to engage users in the app to nudge them into using more product features and ultimately become more receptive to in-app campaigns.

Cutting-edge, cost-effective data management 

“The system was designed to use two types of databases, one for events – since they are partially unstructured – and a time series database to capture telemetry bound to time, such as when air particles reach PM2.5 – the point at which a person’s health can be negatively impacted,” explains Toffia. “This provides a cost-effective way to run algorithms, and store, analyze and present data.”

The system design supports a configuration approach from which telemetry and events get pushed to the cloud. Fast analytics and machine learning tracks are done in real-time using Kinesis technology for streaming analytics. Batch processing is implemented via a data lake, whereby the data produced in the IoT cloud is exported to the data-lake every 15 minutes to reduce load and cost. The data is then analyzed and normalized using BI analytics and charting tools (including dashboards). Time constrained data is archived in slow to retrieve, low-cost storage.

Security

Security was paramount to the assignment. With much more user data being stored and analyzed, data integrity and compliance had to match capabilities. This challenge was compounded by the fact that users are located around the world, where differing regulations must be adhered to. To ensure customer data remains secure in the cloud – according to strict regulations – advanced certification, encryption and firewall services were incorporated.

Smoother and more secure production

The company wanted to open up its production processes to support a broader supply chain of air filters and purifiers as well as create a smoother flow between operations and production. To support this, enterprise resource planning systems were connected, and device provisioning was created for improved configuration and security. This system enables the secure production of units while prohibiting design theft or production of pirate filters and devices. This is central to the company’s multi-supplier model for filters, fans and other parts. 

In conclusion

“By working closely with senior management and developers at the air filter company, we were able to achieve a great deal before the project was handed over” continues Toffia. “It was great to collaborate with an organization that is working to provide a better future for people through the air they breathe. The company was focused on end customers and ensuring they get the most out of air purifying solutions, but the IT structure didn’t match this. Not all companies have got so far in the journey of understanding that their IT system can be the key to delivering on customer expectations – but they had,” he concludes.

A leading provider of medical equipment serving hospitals, clinics, and laboratories within diagnostics, in both human and veterinary hematology. Their products are sold in over 100 countries and are noted on NASDAQ.

In brief

Client’s business challenge 

To reduce maintenance costs and provide higher value for their end customers by means of connecting diagnostic equipment to the cloud.

How we did it

We worked tightly together with the client’s internal medical software expertise and provided technical guidance on how to architect a cloud based platform for managing vast number of medical devices across the globe.

Our solution

A requirements specification for a healthcare grade IoT cloud solution, compliant with regulatory frameworks for patient, software and hardware life cycle management. (HIPAA, ISO62304, ISO14971)

Benefits

We bridged the gap between the client’s internal expertise on medical software and cloud technologies available. The resulting requirements specification will enable the customer to take the next step towards digitalizing their products.

We provided R&D as a Service solution to Easymeet to develop.their meeting solutions for a secure, cloud based method of holding congresses, and union and shareholder meetings – where voting is critical.    

In brief

Challenge 

Transform the current on-site delivery model for congresses to a cloud-based service.

Solution

Easymeet’s SaaS enables the users to manage their digital meetings online and includes voting, document management, attendance control, video conferencing, and much more.

How we did it

Data Ductus R&D-as-a-Service team created the groundbreaking functionality in Easymeet. For example, Cisco Webex video conferencing was integrated into the solution.

Benefits

Easymeet’s customers can now create and manage congresses as well as other formal and non-formal meetings remotely with less effort and less environmental impact. Video conferencing and digital meeting support is now easier than ever.

About the client

Easymeet is the leading provider of digital meetings for unions and political parties on the Nordic market. The company serves the main unions and political parties with digital solutions for congresses and other formal meetings.

Taking on-site services to the cloud

Easymeet’s original business model for congresses was based on on-site delivery. Deploying anything from high-quality wifi to tablets, servers and a high-class digital support system onsite, Easymeet acts as a one stop shop for formal meetings. However, the demand for availability online required new technical solutions and business models. 

Securing live cast sensitive data remotely

Easymeet Online is delivered as Software as a Service, enabling customers to manage their digital meetings online by themselves. The solution supports managing the meeting agenda, attendance control, voting, document management, and video conferencing. Easymeet Online leverages cloud technology for flexibility and availability. 

R&D as a Service

We worked closely together with Easymeet to define requirements and the general architecture of Easymeet Online. The close collaboration continued throughout the development phase where Data Ductus R&D-as-a-Service was utilized.

“Data Ductus helped us create the groundbreaking functionality that can take our services to a new level and also enable deliveries to new customer segments.“ says Frans Eklund, CEO of Easymeet. 

Our experts on Cisco Webex video conferencing integrated it into the solution. We also assisted Easymeet with deployment to the cloud and maintenance of the solution. “This is a good example of when our 360° perspective of software development – in the form of R&D as a Service is utilized.“ says Carl Grönbladh, site manager at Data Ductus. 

Remote meetings made e

Easymeet’s customers can now create and manage their meetings without assistance. Functionality that was previously only available on-site during larger conferences can now be used for all meetings. Having the complete solution for video conferencing and meeting support functionality gives the customer a new way to arrange meetings. Conducting meetings remote can also save time and effort, as well as lower environmental impact. 

More information about Easymeet Online is available at the following link: https://www.easymeet.se/easymeet-online/ 

As a leading provider of clinical trial software, PCG Solutions needed to extend their software capabilities. We provide medical software development that meets strict regulations as a core part of their R&D development team.

In brief

CHALLENGE

In this highly regulated market, PCG Solutions needed to extend their software development capabilities to strengthen the R&D department and ensure that software meets medical technology regulations.

SOLUTIONS

Data Ductus provides medical software engineering services in the form of a fully functional core development team. With a long-term focus, the team forms a key part of onsite PCG R&D.

HOW WE DID IT

Our skilled technical software consultants develop IT solutions based on product strategy and requirements. These comply with strict regulatory requirements such as IEC 62304, IEC 60601 and ISO 13485.

BENEFITS

With this long-term partnership, PCG Solutions can focus on their core business of cloud-based EDC technology for clinical trials and rely on Data Ductus to develop regularly compliant products.

About the client

PCG Solutions is a global pioneer in cloud-based Electronic Data Capture (EDC) technology. The company develops and markets software for clinical trials used by customers such as Pfizer, Novartis and Ipsen.

A large percentage of the world’s blood tests are done using the company’s laboratory equipment. Our medical software engineering team are instrumental in the development of the company’s QIMS system for the quality control of their immunodiagnostic production.

In brief

Challenge 

Update and take over the management of the inhouse developed QIMS system. Run DevOps, including development of new functionality in accordance with standards such as IEC 62304 and FDA Title 21 CFR Part 11 regulations.

Solution

Our Application Lifecycle Management Service for medical devices, provides an experienced team to develop and maintain QIMS, while handling any software issues from a global user base.

How we did it

We analyzed the company’s existing and future needs. A core medical software engineering team with relevant regulatory and standards competence was assembled, with the option to bring in other technology expertise when needed.

Benefits

The company’s IT costs have been reduced. QIMS updates and new releases are launched faster and issues are resolved quickly. Additionally, with the transition to a more robust platform, new capabilities can be introduced.

About the client

The world’s leading provider of immunodiagnostic solutions offers blood test systems to support clinical diagnosis and monitoring of allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases.   

Medical software engineering for leading life science company    

A large percentage of the world’s blood tests are done on the life science company’s laboratory equipment. A single machine can handle up to 40,000 tests a day. The company’s inhouse LIMS software development team developed their own laboratory information management system (LIMS). This is a core monitoring and quality assurance component of the business offering, handling many of the internal workflows for processing tests and evaluating results.

As technology has advanced and regulations have become more complex, the life science company has had to allocate more and more resources to IT – often from multiple external consulting companies. In order to focus on its core competence of immunodiagnostics, the company began a search for a new long-term medical engineering software partner to develop and manage their QIMS system, which ensures the quality control of their immunodiagnostic production..

A highly regulated market  

In the highly regulated healthcare industry, companies can be severely penalized when software isn’t up to standard. Therefore, choosing the right medical software engineering partner is business critical. They opted for Data Ductus’s Application Lifecycle Management Service for Life Sciences, which included administration, implementation and development of QIMS, as well as updating and streamlining the service within the regulatory framework.

A dedicated team of medical software engineers 

With the parameters set, an extensive analysis of  existing needs as well as the company’s IT roadmap for the coming years was undertaken. A dedicated team of medical software engineers with relevant experience from IEC 62366, IEC 62304, ISO 14971, ISO 13485 and MDD 93/42/EEC (now replaced by 2017/745) and FDA Title 21 CFR Part 11 was assigned to the case with the option of bringing in other domain and/or technology expertise when needed. 

To ensure a smooth transition, the Data Ductus team spent three months onsite with the existing QIMS team before assuming responsibility for the product. This included development, management and handling of software issues from the global user base. Since transition, Data Ductus has delivered four new releases into production.

Lower Costs and Faster Releases 

The tight collaboration between the product owner and the QIMS team at Data Ductus ensures any third line support issues are quickly resolved. Data Ductus Software developers and the company’s Product Development team  are also aligned when it comes to updates, new versions and the general direction of QIMS. Releases are now delivered on schedule, while maintenance costs remain within budget. Additionally, whenever new capabilities require additional competencies, specialist Data Ductus medical software engineers can be drafted into the process to ensure a smooth delivery. 

“Since we took over QIMS, the life science company’s IT costs have been reduced, launch times are quicker and software issues are resolved faster,” says Amin Gholiha, Business Developer, Data Ductus.” They can now concentrate on what they’re best at, immunodiagnostics, and we handle IT, which is our core expertise.” 

Analysis of iron ore phases and microstructures used to be done manually at the world’s largest iron ore producers. We collaborated with LKAB to automate analysis.

In brief

Challenge 

Automate the inspection process of 12 mm iron ore pellets to identify mineral content, distribution of additives, and porosity levels.

Solution

Microscopes equipped with high-resolution digital cameras photo the pellets. The images are automatically analyzed, and the results are visualized in graph form.

How we did it

We trained a machine learning pixel Classifier to classify the images and built a system to quantify relevant pellet image data and visualize the results.

Benefits

The R&D team can now dedicate their time to analyzing results rather than carrying out manual pellet inspection. Additionally, pellet analysis is now standardized.

About the client

LKAB is Europe’s largest iron ore producer, with 4,200 employees in 13 countries. The company, which is wholly owned by the Swedish state, is headquarted in Luleå, northern Sweden.  

Machine learning: Automating iron pellet analysis for the LKAB mining and processing company   

LKAB’s core business is the mining and processing of iron ore for the steel industry. Over the years, LKAB has developed a unique market offering for its customers, namely blast furnace pellets. These have now become LKAB’s most vital product – with an annual production capacity at its plants in northern Sweden, of 28 million tons per annum. The main benefit of using pellets over standard iron ore products at steel mills, is lower furnace energy requirements. An addition benefit is that the pellets contain extra minerals, such as olivine, which provide improved high-temperature properties.  

Pellet inspection  

The R&D team at LKAB are continuously searching for improved ways to produce more effective as well as customized furnace pellets. Part of this process includes manually inspecting the formation of different iron oxide phases and microstructures in sample pellets. This is a time-consuming process that must be done by experts, who examine sample pellets embedded in epoxy, through an optical microscope. Some minerals can be identified by color and intensity, such as magnetite and hematite, while others are based on pellet surface texture. This process lends itself perfectly to machine learning.  

Automating inspection 

Our goal was to automate this process. The first step was to create a dataset of high-quality microscopy images of representative iron ore pellets. Experts at LKAB provided us with sample pellets embedded in epoxy and access to automated microscopes – each equipped with high-resolution digital cameras – at their facility. 

Creating an image library 

High-magnification images of the sample pellets were acquired, and multiple images were pieced together into large mosaic images to create a complete view of each pellet. Depending on the size of the pellet, the images ranged between 500 and 900 mega pixels.   

Training a pixel classifier 

Once the image library was created, the images were annotated in close collaboration with analysis experts at LKAB. Regions from each class were marked in a set of images and used to train the pixel Classifier. The Classifier was subsequently used to classify the images and the annotation was improved by correcting the classification. This was repeated until a satisfactory classification was achieved. The Classifier was then evaluated on a set of images that were not included in the training process. 

Intuitive pellet analysis 

The last step was to extract and quantify relevant information from the classified images and create a visual format that could be easily interpreted by all members of the pellet analysis team at LKAB. The result was a series of graphs depicting a mineral map, the microstructure and the mineral content of a pellet. 

Thanks to the automated mapping of sample pellets, experts can now dedicate their time to analyzing the results, rather than inspecting the pellets. This has speeded up the analysis process considerably. Furthermore, analysis is no longer based on one person’s viewpoint, it is now standardized across all pellet samples – based on the collective experience and advise of the R&D team.  

Optimizing pellet properties 

The automated and quantitative characterization of microstructures can be used to generate the necessary data to better understand the effects of pellet additives and the different process parameters. Additionally, it is now possible to automate a quantitative study of the reaction mechanisms in the blast furnace based on pellet microstructures. With this knowledge, pellet properties can be optimized for different customer applications.  

“Thanks to a close collaboration with Data Ductus, we were able to define the machine learning project and move through development to implementation quickly and smoothly,” says Johan Sandberg, Section Manager, Process & Product Development at LKAB. Automating the inspection of pellets has freed up time for the R&D team to focus on more valuable and interesting work.” 

Water seepage is an issue for all mines – even disused ones. Boliden used an environmental and water management IoT solution from Data Ductus to model and analyze water flows.

In brief

Challenge 

Identify and measure groundwater seepage and consequent water flows from waste at a decommissioned Boliden gold mine and provide accurate real-time data from the isolated site.

Solution

2D/3D models and a geological map of the site rock formation and underground water flows were developed. A custom built IoT solution measured flow rates and contamination levels and transmitted the data to a central web portal for analysis.

How we did it

We took Electrical Resistivity Tomography measurements of the site and designed and built a robust IOT system to remotely measure the water. We provided a secure portal and worked closely with Boliden to analyse the data.

Benefits

New underground water flows were identified and could be monitored remotely as opposed to taking manual samples. Boliden has now taken the necessary steps to ensure the old mine rock waste is no longer a potential environment hazard.

About the client

Boliden is a high-tech metals and mining company with over 5,000 employees throughout Europe. With its origin and part of its operations in Boliden, Skellefteå, northern Sweden, the company has been mining and smelting metals for close to 100 years.

Challenge 

Identify and measure groundwater seepage and consequent water flows from waste at a decommissioned Boliden gold mine that – due to seepage from the oxidizing waste rock – has been listed as a potential hazard to the surrounding environment. Provide accurate real-time data from the site that is located in the middle of a forest, has poor cellular coverage and extreme weather conditions, ranging from -30C to +30C. 

Solution 

Advanced 2D/3D models of the site and surrounding area were developed to provide a full geological map of the rock formation and underground water flows. A custom solution based on Aqua Ductus’ battery-driven IoT water monitoring equipment was installed in run-off streams. These measure flow rates and contamination levels and send the data to a central web portal for analysis. 

Map

How we did it 

Firstly, we took Electrical Resistivity Tomography measurements of the entire site with specialist equipment, in order to generate the 2D/3D maps. We then designed, built and tested a system that could take measurements of the water and send it remotely, while withstanding the harsh environmental conditions. Finally, we provided a secure portal for Boliden to access the transmitted data. We also worked closely with Boliden at every stage of the process to analyze data and decide on the best actions to take.  

Benefits 

Thanks to the 2D/3D geological measurements, Boliden was able to identify new underground water flows. They were then able to remotely monitor surface water run off as opposed to making manual flow measurements. Based on this and other data, Boliden have been able to take the necessary measures to ensure the old mine rock waste is no longer a potential hazard to the environment.  

“We approached Data Ductus with a problem and they came back with a way of solving it. That’s exactly what you want from a partner, they don’t just roll out an off-the-shelf solution unless that’s exactly what you need. They create what’s best for you both at that particular moment in time and for the long-term.”  

Andreas Vallmark, 
Development Engineer, HR and Sustainability
Boliden 

As part of the vision to digitalize its industrial timber kilns, we worked closely with Valutec to develop a smart, long-term industrial IoT solution for harsh environments.

In brief

Challenge 

Assist Valutec in the implementation of a long-term smart control system for industrial kilns that is easy-to-use, can withstand the harsh kiln environment, and can deliver optimal timber drying conditions in accordance with different wood types and drying routines.

Solution

A robust hardware solution with a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) connected to temperature sensors, heat coils, fans, etc. A PC monitors and controls all PLCs. The PLC and the PC are connected to a PROFIBUS or PROFINET network. The PC software uses Open Control Communication (OPC) standards to communicate with the PLCs.

How we did it

We worked closely with Valutec’s in-house team, utilizing several open source and commercial add-ons from Valutec partners such as Siemens. A test system was used as a beta site to perform incremental updates and evaluate the results before solutions were deployed at live kiln sites.

Benefits

Thanks to the simple and intuitive user interface, a kiln can be configured locally to fit many different kiln types and suit individual wood drying requirements and processes. The system uses simulation software to fine-tune its operational settings in order to deliver optimal wood-drying results with minimal energy usage.

About the client

Valutec is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of industrial timber kilns. With operations in Sweden, Finland, Russia and Canada, the company has annual sales of around 30M USD and has delivered over 4,000 kilns to the market.

Telecom service providers face considerable challenges as they try to balance the rapid and continuous changes in consumer behaviour, with the availability of new online services. We orchestrated and automated the network of one of the world’s largest telecom providers using YANG model services through the NSO’s open NBI REST API.

In brief

Challenge 

Help one of the world’s top 10 largest telecom providers to reduce time to market of new services, speed up the customer onboarding process, and minimize OPEX/CAPEX expenditure.

Solution

Service automation and orchestration using Cisco’s NSO as a service engine with VMWare as a NFVI platform, as well as Cisco’s VTS as a SDN platform.

How we did it

Working collaboratively with our partner Cisco Systems, we tailored the YANG-modelled NSO solution to meet the client’s requirements and deployed it globally. All within four months.

Benefits

The provider now has a fully automated customer service offering that can be deployed 100 times faster than the previous solution. New agile processes means they can develop and roll-out additional services considerably faster than their competitors.

About the client

One of the world’s top 10 largest telecom providers serving a global customer base.

Growing customer numbers leads to long service delivery times

In 2012, one of the world’s largest telecom companies introduced a new managed solution with secure services for enterprise customers. As customer numbers increased, the company began to struggle with long service delivery times and a continuously rising OPEX: it was taking an average of one month to deliver services to new customers and several working days to make configuration changes. Data Ductus was asked to develop a solution that would help the telecom operator stay ahead of competition. The provided wanted to:

  • Simplify the customer onboarding process to reduce onboarding times
  • Speed up time to market of new services
  • Reduce OPEX/CAPEX

YANG model services

In October 2015, the telecom operator announced the deployment of an upgraded version of their cloud VPN service, utilizing Cisco’s platform for SDN and NFVI technologies and the Cisco Network Service Orchestrator. It features automated orchestration via a customer portal that accesses YANG-modelled services through the NSO’s open NBI REST API. The solution went live in February 2016.

The automation and orchestration part of the solution uses the Cisco NSO product as the orchestration engine. This platform is model driven (YANG model) and allows a separation between the network’s service layer and its device layer. This enables networks to be programmed with device agnostic services. Accordingly, a device can be changed from one vendor to another without the need to break or change a service. In fact, the services are agnostic despite the fact that the network comprises a mixture of physical (PNF ) and virtual (VNF) networks, distributed across two geographically separated Data Centres.

The orchestrated solution

The orchestration solution is mainly divided into two major services, one for secure internet access and one for secure remote access. The customer can select between these services and configure them according to their needs, i.e. Bandwidth, QoS, value added Functions (e.g. Web security and mail security), etc. The configuration is then automatically mapped down to each individual device (physical or virtual).

The input data is automatically validated before the settings are approved, eliminating typing errors, type definition correctness, as well as validity towards global system thresholds. This type of validation, in combination with the removal of manual intervention, minimizes the risk of costly faults in the network. Furthermore, the orchestration optimizes network resources by “spinning up” new virtual network functions when they are required. This ensures Data Centre resource usage is kept to a minimum.

From hours to minutes

Thanks to the combination of Cisco products and Data Ductus orchestration design, the telecom operator can now make configuration changes to their services in minutes instead of days. Furthermore, they can do it without any OPEX involved, which provides them with considerable savings.

Time to market has also been greatly improved as new services can now be designed without concerns about the complexity of the underlying network. New agile processes also add greatly to the speedy rollout of new services.

We developed a new secure, smart home IT eco-system for E.ON consusting of new IoT components and cloud services, flexible APIs, automated process control, event management, model-based onboarding of new sensorsand analysis of the huge amounts of data generated by connected devices.

In brief

Challenge 

Since market deregulation in the 1990s, it’s been easy for consumers to switch between suppliers. Electricity companies need to offer customers a much better service than simply providing electricity. Our challenge was to help E.ON develop a way to do this.

Solution

100Koll is an app-based control system that enables customers to manage electricity in the home. The smart home solution is built on a modern IoT-based service platform. The architecture is designed for continued agile service and business development.

How we did it

Working closely with enterprise architects at E.ON, we developed a new platform for IoT services. We then trialed the service with 10,000 E.ON customers, before rolling out nationally across Sweden.

Benefits

E.ON offers customers added value through Smart Home functionality, transparent usage and billing and potential energy savings. 100Koll meets the immediate needs of the market while catering for future IT and market developments.

About the client

E.ON is one of the largest  companies in the European energy markets. The company serves many millions of people in Europe and beyond.

Market deregulation

In 1996 the Swedish electricity market was deregulated. Ever since it’s been easy for consumers to switch between providers. Competition is fierce. Energy companies faced a major challenge: convincing customers that a kWh from their company is better than a kWh from a competitor.

In the main they reacted by developing new websites to improve communication with customers. However, most had limited functionality. A standard “My Pages” menu rarely provided significant added value for people.

This remained the case for many years, but more recently the Internet of Things (IoT) has opened up new possibilities for companies willing to embrace change. We were asked to help E.ON utilize IoT and develop a game-changing service for their customers.

Secure, smart home IT eco-system

E.ON has launched a unique smart home solution. It’s built on the Crossbreed platform for IoT and service integrations which complement the existing IT infrastructure.

A new secure smart home IT eco-system was developed to integrate the existing infrastructure with new IoT components and cloud services. Requirements included flexible APIs, automated process control, event management, model-based onboarding of new sensors and related data models, as well as management and analysis of the huge amounts of data generated by connected devices.

E.ON customers also had to be provided with new hardware – such as temperature sensors – that could constantly relay data while ensuring it remained securely stored for analysis. Moreover, web and app solutions had to be developed reflecting real-time power usage on their screens while enabling  customers to control electrical equipment in the home.

100Koll

Today, E.ON no longer only supplies electricity but also an expandable service platform to complement customers’ smart homes.

Developers can now quickly and easily develop apps for mobiles, tablets and computers. These apps, or more complete applications, give the ultimate customer experience on the web or a smartphone, adding value to both E.ON’s customers and E.ON.

With the 100Koll service, E.ON offers a brand new customer experience. The user can actively be online and receive real-time information, compared to the old days when customer interaction consisted mainly of monthly invoices.

What the customer is saying

“With the help of 100koll, we simplify the everyday lives of our customers a little and improve safety in the home. And for those that are environmentally conscious, they can choose to use greener energy. Basically, 100koll is aimed at all solving many of challenges faced by our customers.”
Tobias Övall, Technical Product Manager for 100Koll at E.ON