Novamedia Improves Customer Experience, Reach with Red Hat JBoss Fuse

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May 21, 2014

Novamedia was struggling to meet the demands of its customers to execute marketing campaigns faster. With Red Hat partner Trivento, Novamedia chose Red Hat® JBoss® Fuse to open up its technology landscape via an API for trusted third parties.

Customer: Novamedia

“We have looked at other vendors, but the experience we have with Red Hat and the quality of its consultants and architects is of a really high level. The relationship has developed into a partnership." - Dharminder Debisarun, IT advisor concern director, Novamedia

Industry: Other
Geography: EMEA
Country: Netherlands


Business Challenge:

To keep up with the demands of volume and high customer expectations while catering to a large variety of devices, Novamedia needed to develop an application platform interface (API) that could integrate large amounts of data, services, and devices.

Hardware:

EMC VNX, Dell Power Edge R710, Brocade MLX

Benefits:

The API Novamedia built with Red Hat JBoss Fuse excels in the area of security, and the deployment time of a new environment has been reduced from several days to just minutes. Novamedia also realizes cost savings of 60% annually.

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Background:

Novamedia was set up as a marketing agency for charity organisations and is the originator and founder of the Dutch Nationale Postcode Loterij, which was founded in 1989 to raise money for charity organizations that work to create a fairer greener world. Since 1989, Novamedia’s charity lotteries have donated €6.1 billion to 264 charities for people, nature, culture and health & welfare. The charity lotteries are actively supported by world leaders and top athletes such as Bill Clinton, Rafael Nadal, Anna Roosevelt, Ruud Gullit, and Johan Cruyff.

Business Challenge:

Defining the problem

Novamedia, a specialist marketing agency for charity organizations, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014. The organization strives to improve the world by supporting charities, for which the lottery is used as a fund-raising mechanism. Located in the Netherlands, the company works for three major Dutch lotteries — the Nationale Postcode Loterij, the Bankgiro Loterij, and the Vrienden Loterij—as well as the Svenska Postkod Lotteriet in Sweden and the People’s Postcode Lottery in the UK. Together, these lotteries accounted for a revenue of €1.19 billion in 2012, which makes Novamedia the second-largest private charity donor in the world.

“In order to execute a good marketing campaign, you must have a well-oiled IT machine,” said Dharminder Debisarun, IT advisor concern director, Novamedia. “Over time, the marketing activities of Novamedia have evolved significantly. We started with traditional marketing and direct mailing, but that alone is not enough. Certainly not now that we are in an economy that relies on technology, especially applications.”

To stimulate the sale of lottery tickets in the Netherlands, Novamedia launches a yearly total of 120 campaign and marketing websites with life cycles of 2-6 weeks. Consumers also use mobile applications to buy lottery tickets. While watching the Dutch TV quiz show Miljoenenjacht, for example, viewers can win up to €5 million by playing along using a “second screen” application on a tablet or smartphone.

“Every hour, 200,000 people play along with the show,” said Debisarun. “It is the highest participation rate at the moment in Dutch television. The concept of playing along with the TV show will certainly grow in the future, including the option to buy tickets through the application.”

With such volume, the risk of error was high on Novamedia’s current system. During the online sale of postcode lottery tickets, for example, it’s important for the participant to know whether his or her residential address is available, or if the limit for that postcode has already been reached. If a participant lives in a postcode that has reached its limit, he may be assigned another postcode, but he wouldn’t be aware of this until he checked his bank statement.

To keep up with the demands of volume and high customer expectations while catering to a large variety of devices, Novamedia needed to develop an application platform interface (API) that could integrate large amounts of data, services, and devices.

Solution:

Developing an open API

To launch new campaigns and websites faster, engineers at Novamedia proposed development of an open API that could be made available to third parties. This project would require an integration solution that was both cost-effective and flexible.

Based on previous experience with Red Hat, Novamedia selected Red Hat® JBoss® Fuse, an open source enterprise service bus (ESB) with a JAX-WS and JAX-RS implementation.

“We have looked at other vendors, but the experience we have with Red Hat and the quality of its consultants and architects is of a really high level. The relationship has developed into a partnership and helped us to identify a unique solution,” said Debisarun.

Working together, Novamedia’s business information security partner, B-Able, Red Hat, and the lotteries’ IT teams planned to roll out the project in three phases. The API would initially be available to one client, then to multiple clients, and finally to third parties who are not directly known to the lotteries. “When we are in this final stage, the project will be deemed successful. Using the API, the marketing department can quickly initiate one of the 200 campaigns that are conducted annually in all the countries,” said Debisarun. The implementation of Red Hat JBoss Fuse was managed by Trivento, a Red Hat partner.

Thanks to the Red Hat solution, the deployment time of a new environment has been reduced from several days to just minutes. “For a dynamic organization that launches so many websites each year and spends a lot of time testing new environments, time is very important,” said Debisarun, who believes that Novamedia would have struggled to hold its market position without the shorter lead times provided by JBoss Fuse.

The API Novamedia built with Red Hat JBoss Fuse excels in the area of security, which was a crucial requirement. “Red Hat security measures were used in the operating system, within the application layer, and in the bus itself. We found this level of flexibility quite unique,” said Debisarun.

Benefits:

With Red Hat JBoss Fuse, a UK lottery participant is immediately alerted that his or her postcode is no longer available. “Information is now exchanged in real time between the front and back offices,” said Debisarun.

As a result of the transition to JBoss Fuse, Novamedia realizes cost savings of 60% annually. Different IT systems that needed to exchange information couldn’t do so efficiently before the implementation of JBoss Fuse. These cost savings can be translated into further growth and expansion of the business.

The new system has also increased performance. “We can now handle a higher workload,” said Debisarun. “Previously we could do 20,000 transactions per hour, but now it is possible to double this. The marketing department has become much less dependent on the IT department. Everything is laid out in a framework which the marketing department can use. If test results are positive, they’ll give us a sign and we will convert the test environment into the production environment. This saves us a lot of time. Previously we needed six weeks for such a process and now it can be achieved within two days, or at a push within a day, and then you can start another campaign. With all the different campaigns, the calculation model is also easier thanks to Fuse Mediation Router,” said Debisarun.

The future

Novamedia’s preferred technology provider had been Oracle, but they are now aiming to be Oracle-free by 2015 by moving toward open source software because of the dramatics cost savings, increased flexibility, better performance, and great experience they’ve had with open source. In the UK, a new back office will be launched that is entirely based on a distributed architecture and open source, and Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform and PostgreSQL, an open source database, will play key roles. If the test case in the UK proceeds satisfactorily, offices in the Netherlands and Sweden will follow suit and migrate completely to open source.

Novamedia plans to expand its activities to other countries and apply for online gaming licences that the Dutch government will start dispensing in 2015. “To realize the expansion into other countries, we are in need of a scalable, flexible infrastructure that is compliant with country rules and regulations,” said Debisarun. “Scalability is our strength, and our new architecture is ready for future demands. Our Swedish colleagues, who have built their own enterprise service bus, are impressed and will also implement our ‘bus’. In addition, we can use more channels to reach additional people, stimulate the sale of lottery tickets, and make more charitable contributions. Ultimately, that is what we are doing all of this for.”

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