The Education Division of the City of Helsinki chose Frends iPaaS to be its strategical integration platform.
The Education Division of the City of Helsinki (in Fin. "Kasvatuksen ja koulutuksen toimiala"), capital of Finland, chose Frends iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) to be its strategical integration platform. The adoption of Frends helped the client to achieve several high-level business goals:
- To quickly and flexibly move data from on-premise systems to different cloud platforms in use.
- To, automatically and in real-time, record the updates across the whole IT ecosystem when changes to data are made in any education system.
- To easily reuse APIs and save development time and cost when developing new public services.
- To solve compatibility issues and modernize all the systems, as some legacy systems were as old as 20 years.
- To operate in multi-cloud and utilize distributed architecture.
Frends has enabled the reuse of data in our complex IT-landscape with systems of various ages. The deep understanding of old and new interface technologies of the Frends team is also invaluable. Reusability brings us significant savings of time and money.
Jarno Koppala (ICT-architect, City of Helsinki)
The Division outlined several primary integrations and IT needs: Firstly, they needed to create a department-wide API layer to share information and functions with internal and external stakeholders. Secondly, they needed to develop an API infrastructure to support current and future digitalization needs. Thirdly, they wanted to be able to repurpose the functionality of existing APIs. After the period of consideration and evaluation, it was concluded that Frends platform was the most suitable tool to address those needs and overcome challenges.
The visuality and transparency of Frends iPaaS have provided an easy-to-operate layer between systems and their front-end or user interfaces. The Education Division of Helsinki City was pleased with Frends' and the Frends team's ability to connect to legacy and new systems. Even the ones that could be called vintage systems were modernized with APIs in the Frends platform. Additionally, the client separately noted the quality of documentation, communication, and management of Frends.
"Initial Frends deployment project was perfectly on-time and budget, even though Frends was installed into the hybrid multi-cloud environment, that includes AWS, Azure, and on-premise systems," says Jarno Koppala (ICT-architect, City of Helsinki).
1. The Education Division developed a service for matching pupils with schools
The Frends APIs calculate the distance of the closest school for a student using the address information of both students and schools. In the back-end, this matching service uses a third-party map API to gather parameters for the calculation. Later on, the client was able to easily reuse the APIs from a first project in the next one for preschools. By reusing the APIs, there was no need to adjust systems that provided the data and maps, making projects' implementation more efficient, and less prone to errors.
2. Data-driven leadership
Frends has also enabled data-driven leadership by transferring and transforming the raw data from line-of-business systems to a data lake. The Frends basic data synchronization features on the back-end allow AI to process the data to a dashboard solution before other solutions can continue processing data at later steps.
3. Increased agility
In addition, Frends and the chosen architecture have made the Education Division agile. Frends Agents, processes, and the run-time execution units of APIs run in several public cloud platforms and on-premise. As a result, there is no need for constant firewall adjustment, and the data is processed close to the line-of-business systems, whether they be in AWS, Azure, or on-premise. In addition to the modernization of legacy systems, this kind of three-layer API architecture also keeps changes from propagating. For example, the Division upgraded one of their old on-premise systems to a modern cloud equivalent - only the API logic in Frends was updated by using APIs without touching the systems. In addition to that, the new system receives vital information from other systems right from the start.
"As an iPaaS, Frends has enabled the reuse of data in our complex IT-landscape with systems of various ages. The deep understanding of old and new interface technologies of the Frends team is also invaluable. Now we can reuse integrations and APIs from one project to another. Reusability brings us significant savings of time and money," says Jarno Koppala (ICT-architect, City of Helsinki).
The Frends integrations will continue in the next big project of the City of Helsinki, as the city is taking a new HR system into use. For the Education division, this means connecting the interfaces to several core systems starting from identity management.