On the right track with Java
Statens Järnvägar keeps its IT projects on track with Java and Open Source software provided by Redpill Linpro. The secret lies in close cooperation and smart technology choices.
Statens Järnvägar, Sweden’s national railway company, operates around 250 stations, transports 115,000 passengers every day and has 4,000 employees spread throughout Sweden.
In 2006, SJ AB decided that it was time to upgrade its internal infrastructure in order to offer a common platform for all IT systems. The integration of the company’s IT systems was identified as a key factor in reducing the complexity and costs within the overall application portfolio, whilst also making it possible to implement new integration solutions, processes, complex services and business concepts quickly. A new department called the Integration Competence Centre (ICC) was set up in partnership with us in order to carry out this work.
“SJ’s IT department faces tough demands from both the market and operations in terms of delivering new services and concepts quickly,” says the CIO at SJ AB. “The secret lies not in the technology, but in the way in which we organise the work through our integration centre.”
In August 2007, we – in competition with major global players – won a strategic agreement with Statens Järnvägar AB to deliver services for SJ’s SOA and integration platform. The JBoss SOA platform and we were chosen because they were able to offer quick access to local support, specialist consultants and other forms of expertise.
“Redpill Linpro was the chosen application administration provider,” continues SJ. “As well as being one of the biggest suppliers in Europe for the technology in question, they are also highly skilled when it comes to using this technology effectively.”
Quickly on track with new solutions
With its new integration platform based on Open Source code, SJ AB has been able to develop new services and applications more easily in recent years. This has brought benefits for employees and customers alike. Using the new platform as a basis, SJ was able to set up more than 20 new services in less than 18 months, such as SMS tickets and ticket auctions on Tradera, the Swedish equivalent of eBay. New services and integration solutions can be up and running quickly, since large parts of these services can be re-used.
“This is a typical example of how our new strategy will work,” explains an IT architect with SJ AB. “We’ll be able to develop new services quickly that fully support the business, while also being able to re-use them in subsequent projects and integration solutions.”
One of the advantages of Open Source software over proprietary solutions is that customers can gradually install and implement new systems without compromising on quality. In this way, they avoid having to invest in expensive product portfolios where certain components may not be installed for many years, and risk becoming redundant over time. With the solution chosen by SJ, they only pay for what they actually implement and use in their products.
“With the SOA platform and Redpill Linpro’s ICC concept, we can reduce the implementation time for new integration solutions and services, as well as cutting our development costs,” says SJ. “As a result, we will be able to develop more advanced booking systems for our customers more quickly and make faster internal decisions.”
The solution from Red Hat and JBoss has proved profitable for SJ. Through ticket auctions on Tradera alone, they sell thousands more tickets each week. The integration/SOA platform provides cost-effective, integrated IT projects to the entire business on an ongoing basis, and the rate of innovation is considerably faster.