Lots of companies failed because of a lack of integration. Webshops, banks, and stores with multiple locations: they all live on interoperability. This certainly did not apply to Staatsbosbeheer. Despite its public character and its many business units, the quasi-governmental institution was doing just fine.
But times are changing, and speed and ease of use are now crucial rather than nice to have. Even more reason to improve these features, so Henk Nijburg and Robbert Mackiewicz thought. At the headquarters of Staatsbosbeheer in Amersfoort, we discussed the ESB implementation and the collaboration with the Yenlo gurus.
Thinking of Staatsbosbeheer, a complex IT infrastructure is probably not the first thought that pops into your mind. But appearance can be deceiving. Staatsbosbeheer deals with several businessunits such as nature management, recreation, and real estate that exchange and process thousands of messages per day.
On top of that, there is a constant exchange of data about employees, finance, and planning. Add to this the high number of voluntary projects and events, and you will understand that the IT department dealt with a jumble of data connections.
Clearly, it was time for a new approach. Things started moving with the implementation of the CSMi (Conversation Management System international). This system was brought in to aggregate and analyse incoming information about nature- and site management. This would lead to a better insight in planning schedules, the work to be done and real estate data.
It was a great idea, but there was one important element missing. The CSMi was not linked to the financial system, which played a particularly significant role in the data exchange story.
After a careful preliminary analysis, the ESB from open source vendor WSO2 was bought to enable this link after all.
“Both Henk and I then started lobbying to connect the ESB to all of the other systems as well,” says Robbert Mackiewicz, technical architect. But not everyone was excited about this time-consuming implementation. “’Is an ESB really necessary?’ people asked me,” says Henk, laughing. “But it was about time we centralized.”
“Robbert and I wanted to know exactly how everything worked. The team explained this to us very well.”Henk Nijburg, Information Architect and Coordinator Interfaces
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