Provide a mission-critical, cloud-based service that handles large volumes of data, enabling B2B integration of networks of buyers, suppliers, financial service providers and government authorities
- Thousands of businesses successfully use Tieto’s cloud services, which handle a vast flow of data
- Timely rollout of new services and accurate system dimensioning, thanks to close coordination between Tieto and Axway
- 99.6% system availability enables Tieto to meet customers’ SLAs requirements
- Proactive approach prevents problems before they occur, for disturbance-free data flows
“With Axway’s solution, we enable (thousands of) different enterprises that don’t speak the same language to communicate with each other. That’s just one example of how we provide value to our customers.”
Ensuring System Availability for a Vast Partner Community
Tieto Value Networks rises to the challenge
An innovator in cloud-based services, Tieto is among the leading IT service providers in Northern Europe and a global leader in selected segments, with operations in almost 30 countries and 18,000 employees worldwide. Its crossindustry unit, Tieto Value Networks, offers business-to-business (B2B) integration and electronic invoicing services in Europe, providing on-demand service from the cloud.
Tieto Value Networks uses the Axway 5 Suite to deliver services to over 10,000 organizations using a multi-tenant, cloud-based platform. The Axway-based service platform governs a massive flow of data, handling over 100,000 B2B transactions during peak hours and processing 3 terabytes of data annually.
Axway-powered Business Information eXchange (BIX)
24/7 access to mission-critical services
Tieto Value Networks provides cloud-based services to support its customers’ purchase-to-pay and order-to-cash processes. These include:
- E-trade: E-commerce services for orders, deliveries, warehouse inventory, as well as demand and delivery forecasts
- Electronic invoicing: Invoice exchange, e-invoicing, web applications, tax and legal compliance, invoice visualization, attachment handling and archiving
- Financial messaging: Global finance service provider connectivity using SWIFTnet and direct bank connections in the Nordic countries for payments, securities, trade finance and other financial messaging
In addition, Tieto Value Networks plays a vital role in the Nordic energy sector, where it provides mission-critical services for the Energy Information Exchange (EIX). Key services include:
- Keeping a balance of supply and demand in the Nordic energy market
- Buying and selling electricity on the open market
- Enabling consumers to move from one utility company to another
Although Tieto’s customers come from many different fields — banking and insurance, telecoms and media, the public sector, healthcare and welfare, forest and energy, government, manufacturing, and retail — they all share a common need: 24/7 access to Tieto BIX services to ensure the continuity of their business activities. To guarantee this level of service, Tieto knew it had to step up its game. A closer look at their vast operations shows exactly what’s at stake.
Enabling Thousands of Different Enterprises to Communicate
Generating maximum value from Axway 5 Suite
Business Information eXchange services are the source of an enormous flow of mission-critical data. In Sweden, for example, 80% of all power-network balance measurements in electricity trade and 80% of consumer-invoice presentments are handled by Tieto’s services. Tieto BIX services also include interchange connections with over 50 other value-added network service providers, creating a total network of 200,000 trading partners and 8,500 financial service providers in 200 countries.
The Axway platform securely manages all incoming and outgoing traffic, and converts the various data flows into the formats required by receivers’ systems. “With Axway’s solution, we enable different enterprises that don’t speak the same language to communicate with each other,” said Dennis Hansson, Manager of Integration Services at Tieto Value Networks. “That’s just one example of how we provide value to our customers.”
Tieto also has a rapidly growing white-label service for e-invoicing: a scalable, multi-operator solution built on the Axway-based service-provisioning platform. “Banks buy the e-invoicing service from us,” said Hansson. “To their customers, it looks like the bank’s own service: it has the bank’s look and feel and is embedded in its Internet banking services. But it is provided by our systems, with the Axway solution at the back end.”
With Tieto’s ingenious — and highly cost-efficient — approach, the bank can act as service provider for its own business customers. “A bank may have tens of thousands of small business customers,” said Hansson. “We did not want to handle that many. We prefer to deal with the bank!”
Inventing New Uses for a Powerful Application
A vastly expanded role for Axway Sentinel
Designed to monitor data flows and known for its easily customizable dashboards, Axway Sentinel has a vastly expanded role in the Tieto environment, with innovative uses that include:
- Gathering charging and billing information
“We use Sentinel to gather detailed information about each transaction,” said Hansson. “With this, we generate charging details for our customers, who are billed by volume of data.” Tieto’s white-label customers benefit, too. “We flag transactions for each white-label bank,” said Hansson. “At the end of the month, we summarize the data and send it to the appropriate banks so they can charge their customers.” Even the banks’ business customers are getting into the act: they use their streams of Sentinel data to invoice their own customers.
- Creating a safety net
Axway puts a “safety net” in place to ensure that data would not be lost if Sentinel ever went down. All transaction data is stored in a secure Sentinel buffer, dimensioned for the volume of data involved. If Sentinel went down, when it came back up, e-invoicing would resume where it left off, with no loss of data.
- Offloading support tasks to utility customers
“Sentinel allows us to create a ‘window’ onto our platform where individual customers can see their own transactions,” said Hansson. “So we give our utility customers a web portal where they can verify their transactions.” It’s a win-win situation: The customer has instant access to its information, while Tieto saves money by offloading certain support tasks to the customer.
Similarly, Tieto’s customers — and their customers’ customers — can check their transactions on Sentinel dashboards to see how much traffic they generated. In a word, Tieto is using Sentinel for its own needs, while selling the service to others. It’s a strategic capability for them and a competitive advantage as well.
Operating a Shared Platform, with No Downtime Allowed
The challenge for Tieto Value Networks
In practical terms, Tieto hosts a shared platform used by over 10,000 business organizations. “Our customers have different product and service portfolios, with different uses for them, and very different requirements,” said Hansson. “But they all need our services to be operational 24/7.”
To maximize BIX service availability, Tieto schedules very few planned service breaks. These are set to occur in the middle of the night just 4 to 6 times per year, and are announced every September. Any unplanned service breaks are regulated by strict service level agreements (SLAs) between Tieto and its customers. “We commit to 99.6% availability,” said Hansson. “Internally, we’re trying to get very close to 100%.”
“With MCS, we have a really clear interface to the Axway support organization. MCS plays a key role in enabling us to provide operations 24/7.”
Preventing Problems Before They Can Occur
Axway and Tieto, working together
As a leading IT service provider, Tieto is constantly developing and improving services for its customers, and those changes necessarily impact the Axway-based platform that hosts and delivers services and handles key processing. “The problem was that Axway didn’t have visibility into the technical changes we were making,” said Hansson. This ‘blind spot’ generated a risk of production failures and financial penalties for Tieto.
Another issue, according to Hansson, was that “we needed to right-size our system, to avoid bottlenecks.” This goal required close coordination and planning with Axway over the long term. “Basically,” said Hansson, “we have to prevent problems before they occur.”
To address both of these issues, Tieto Value Networks decided to invest in Axway Mission-Critical Support (MCS). “With MCS, we have a really clear interface to the Axway support organization,” said Hansson. “MCS plays a key role in enabling us to provide operations 24/7.”
Hansson gave the example of a service break to upgrade a component, scheduled, as usual, in the middle of the night. “In the midst of the upgrade, we realized we were missing a license key,” said Hansson. “So we called MCS, and had the license key in 30 minutes.”
“With Axway MCS, we meet our SLAs,” said Hansson. “We provide our customers with 99.6% availability, at the very least.” This impressive result is achieved in an environment in which Tieto handles over 100,000 B2B transactions during peak hours and processes 3 terabytes of data per year – a volume of data flow that is rising swiftly.
“One of the most important things,” said Hansson, “is that Axway is more informed about what we are doing. MCS has not only improved our stability, but also our way of working with Axway. With two years since any critical issues involving the Axway platform,” Hansson continued, “MCS has proven to be good for us.”
Looking ahead, Tieto plans to continue to enhance its solution based on Axway 5 Suite. As the next steps, the company is looking at implementation of Axway B2Bi and Axway API Gateway. Whatever comes next, one thing is clear: Governing the flow of data will be key to Tieto’s success.
“With Axway MCS, we meet our SLAs. We provide our customers with 99.6% availability, at the very least.”