Finnlines, part of Grimaldi Group, has successfully implemented REST APIs for improved real-time data sharing & customer collaboration.
Finnlines, a shipping operator of freight and passenger services in the Baltic and North Seas and a subsidiary of the Grimaldi Group, embarked on a transformative journey in 2019. Aiming to elevate its services for customers, port authorities, and operators, Finnlines sought to enhance data transfer capabilities, streamline access to Finnlines' digital services, enable real-time capacity management, and implement effective cost-control measures.
"We felt that Frends iPaaS was the most native technology for REST API management. In addition, we found its version control and deployment effortless."
Vesa Vähämaa, Head of Group IT at Finnlines
In its operations, Finnlines employs a range of technologies, including Oracle and IBM DataPower, both suited for API management. However, to drive digitalization, Finnlines recognized the need for a more native tool for REST architecture:
“Frends iPaaS emerged as the most intuitive technology for managing REST API, with its effortless version control and deployment,” remarked Vesa Vähämaa, Head of Group IT at Finnlines.
The realization of the importance of cloud integration was amplified when Finnlines launched its mobile application, “Finnlines Cargo,” in 2016. The burdensome nature of information sharing without cloud integration was evident, reinforcing the necessity of an iPaaS. Convinced of Frends' suitability after a successful pilot and proof-of-concept, Finnlines forged ahead with the integration, expressing satisfaction with the product and the invaluable support from Frends’ experts:
“We then realized that getting an iPaaS, from which sharing information for other parties is convenient, would be a major step for our digitalization. Since our pilot and proof-of-concept, we have been convinced that Frends is our right choice. We are delighted with the product and the experts at Frends who have helped us whenever needed,” says Vähämaa.
Through the development of a REST API solution with Frends iPaaS, Finnlines unveiled the Customer Atlas APIs, a self-service platform offering seamless real-time data transfer. These APIs are complimentary, well-documented, easily deployable, and compatible with standard HTTP methods. Upon entering an API agreement with Finnlines, customers receive an admin ID, granting them both managerial access and the ability to add additional users. Customer Atlas APIs proved pivotal in optimizing schedule retrieval, allotment management, tracking, and bookings for major customers.
“The APIs work like a self-service integration combined with a permission mechanism, which decreases the amount for us and our customers. When sales contact our IT team, all we need to do is send the instructions and create a test ID, and the customer is ready to try it,” says Vähämaa.
With Frends iPaaS, Finnlines developed a REST API solution that now serves as a self-service platform for major customers. This has effectively optimized the efficiency of schedule retrieval, allotment management, tracking, and bookings.
The REST APIs demonstrated their efficiency with the launch of a new route in Ireland in 2022, significantly reducing the time required for mappings and routings compared to older systems. Finnlines proudly noted enhanced cooperation with customers, with one of their largest clients building a solution atop the Customer Atlas APIs, connecting to the Finnlines-Grimaldi network.
“With Frends, our focus shifted from in-house processes to customer-centric service. The crucial information is in a cloud environment for anyone to access. Now that we have created customer APIs, the next step is developing similar ones for port authorities and operators,” said Vähämaa.
Finnlines values the in-house capabilities developed with Frends and appreciates the platform’s intuitive, low-code nature.
“We value our in-house capability with Frends, which we have gradually reached throughout the years. Frends is a very intuitive, low-code platform with which I am mostly self-taught. I have had the privilege of working with Frends consultants and getting their support when needed,” shared Juhani Kemppinen, API Architect at Finnlines.
In conclusion, Finnlines’ digital transformation, fueled by the integration of Frends iPaaS and the development of Customer Atlas APIs, exemplifies a forward-thinking approach to scalability and service enhancement. The journey reflects a successful partnership and the realization of significant operational and customer-centric benefits.