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Wageningen University

WUR and Yenlo are doing more with less

Best Dutch university

For quality of life

A drone flies across the fields to inspect the condition of the soil. Meanwhile, there’s an incoming alert saying it’s time to milk the cows. The drone starts its descent; the farmer starts his rounds. This may sound like a pie in the sky to some people, but to farmers that are associated with the Research Center of the Wageningen University, it’s just another day.

The Wageningen University and Research Center (WUR) is hailed at home and abroad. Year after year, the For Quality of Life institution is voted the best Dutch University, while its researchers and students travel the world contributing to breakthrough studies in the field of engineering and health. The WUR owes a greater part of its international success to the combination of science and IT, two components that are inseparably linked in Wageningen. Thanks to this two-unit, the university has gained a competitive edge over the other players in the field, resulting in an outstanding position in the world of research and innovation. It was only a matter of time before the WUR took a next step, and called in the Yenlo Gurus to implement a complete solution for the supply chain management of their corporate systems.

cases yenlo wageningen university

Desire for an open source platform

This is why a few years ago, team leader of Middleware Erik Sanders and his team went looking for a product that would provide them with a complete supply chain integration solution. Their goal was to implement an affordable, manageable and scalable integration platform that would connect all corporate systems. Erik Sanders: “We found it important that the new product could be purchased in blocks. Because why would you pay for parts you don’t use?” Apart from these conditions, there was a desire for an open source platform.

Tangled web of data

One of the disadvantages of a big and international institution like the WUR, is its large number of systems, information streams and people. Student Information, Human Resources and Finance; all is supposed to be connected, resulting in a tangled web of data that is hard to unravel. Another problem is caused by the corporate systems, that age rapidly and are often managed by staff members whose knowledge disappears when they retire. At the same time, the WUR stands in direct contact with its students, employees and researchers, that all demand speed, efficiency and transparency.

Erik explains: “The university has a social role and even contributes to open source solutions. We wanted to integrate this feature in our IT policy.” After an extensive preliminary examination, the WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus turned out to be the answer. An added benefit was the assistance of the Yenlo Gurus: specialists that could support the project from beginning to end.

Hybrid team, the perfect combination

Soon afterwards, the Yenlo Gurus arrived on the campus and kicked off the WSO2 project by rebuilding all systems and connecting them to the open source WSO2 platform. This was a challenge, since the project was executed organization-wide. Data from staff and students, reports, research data, project information; everything was connected to the same online platform. During the project, the Yenlo Gurus worked closely together with Erik and the WUR team, consisting of integration specialists, domain experts and suppliers. "We wanted to have a handle of our own systems," he explains. "Only then we could get the best out of the WSO2 product and solve problems ourselves." This gave rise to a hybrid team of IT staff and the WSO2 specialists of Yenlo. A perfect combination, as Erik explains.

"What's so great about Yenlo is that they not only customize their products, but also their support."

More with less

Today, 30 couplings have connected 19 applications to the ESB, a change that will save time and money in the long run. "Staff and students already notice that data is processed faster and can be reused," says Erik. "Students that subscribe for a course, for example, get direct access to the digital learning environment and all materials. Earlier, this process would take at least 24 hours.” Furthermore, employees spend less time filling out project forms, because often the same information is available in another system. This way, the integration platform does exactly what it should do: achieving more with less.

Yenlo feels the same way

Just like the WUR itself, its IT department is always working to improve. The integration of all corporate systems is part of a larger project, as Erik Sanders explains: “As IT department of a university, you don’t just facilitate. We want to make a substantial contribution to the scientific world and support researchers in every way we can.” In order to achieve this goal, Erik and his team will keep on working together with Yenlo. “They are our sparring partner and keep us informed of developments that are related to WSO2. For example, we’ve been following their iBeacon project with great interest.” When it comes to attitude, Yenlo and the WUR make a great fit. “In our department, we tend to take on every challenge. We just go or it,” says Erik. "Yenlo feels the same way. And thanks to the Gurus we have enough in-house knowledge to launch innovative and exciting projects."

About Wageningen University

The University of Wageningen is one of the specialized universities of the Netherlands and focuses on life sciences. The institution has 10,000 students and dominates both the Dutch (no. 1) and international (top 50) university rankings.

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"As IT department of a university, you don’t just facilitate. We want to make a substantial contribution to the scientific world and support researchers in every way we can."

Erik Sanders - Team Leader of Middleware

The WUR is a combination of a university and a research center, and closely cooperates with the business sector and the international world. Its IT department consists of 250 employees and covers the entire organization.

Solutions and Services we used to make this project a huge success.

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