Customer: Essent - a subsidiary of the NRE Group
Industry: Energy Utility
Deployment Country: The Netherlands
Solution: Essent empowered developers and customers by deploying a Public API portal managed by the Vordel API Server. The integrated Vordel security solution reduces the cost and complexity of exposing internal services for consumption via public APIs, enabling partners to develop Web 2.0 and mobile solutions for the benefit of Essent’s millions of end-user customers.
Vordel enabled us achieve our key goals of securely delivering a personalized view of services to all our end-users. When Essent chose to provide a public-facing API, api.essent.nl, to our customers and partners, we knew management, availability, and security for our APIs would be critical to the success of our API program. With the Vordel API Server, Essent has built an API operating platform that is agile, secured, and highly available.
Essent is the largest energy company and the leading producer of sustainable energy in the Netherlands. The company supplies electricity, gas, and heat to 2.7 million private and business customers. Essent reported revenue in excess of 6 Billion Euro in 2010 and is part of the RWE Group, one of Europes five leading electricity and gas companies with operations across much of Central, Northern and Southern Europe including Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK.
Senior management at Essent set out two key objectives for the business. They wanted to improve the firmâ€™s competitive positioning in the market as the most progressive and customer-focused service provider. They also wanted to introduce greater agility into its operations by reducing the time to market for new services and time to onboard new customers. To achieve this Essent sought to implement a single infrastructure with the agility to engage customers and partners across multiple channels and technology platforms, including mobile and social media. The companyâ€™s strategy was to empower its customers by offering them a greater degree of control and flexibility over their consumption and management of services from Essent and also introduce new ways of exposing existing and new services. This would enable Essent to introduce a range of servicesâ€™ related efficiencies, such as the cost and speed of registering new customers at call centers and the availability of customer self-service features to access personal account information via smartphones.
To achieve the stated business objectives, the IT team at Essent embarked on a project to expose legacy back end systems as services for consumption by internal and external end user customers. Essent adopted a Service Oriented Architecture approach and implemented an internal service bus to create a services layer to expose these internal legacy technologies for access by more modern rich user interface technologies such as AJAX, JSON and REST.
Essent chose to deploy a public-facing API portal, api.essent.nl, to provide partners and customers with access to services. This API empowers developers to create a wide range of dedicated and mashup applications that include mobile, Cloud, and social media applications. Because of the sensitive nature of data and the need to mediate the application integrations between the internal back-end systems and the web and mobile applications of the end-users, Essent decided to implement Vordel API Server as the "front door" to manage and secure these APIs.
The Vordel solution enables Essent to quickly scale and throttle its offerings to accommodate the explosion in usage of mobile devices, while simultaneously applying quotas and ensuring compliance with various contractual service levels. Vordel was deployed in various clustered configurations to provide quota management, load balancing, peak load bursting, failover, disaster recovery, and monitoring.
Essent has benefited in a variety of ways from the deployment of the Vordel API Server:
- 1. Improved ability to scale for expanded customer engagement while leveraging a highly available and stable core services-based delivery infrastructure.
- 2. Improved cost/revenue income ratio through greater services delivery efficiencies and reduced IT integration and support costs.
- 3. The Vordel API Server strengthens access control to customer sensitive data, while simplifying the access to services from a growing ecosystem of PC, tablet and smartphone clients.
- 4. Improved agility to offer partner and consumer based services without changes to core service infrastructure.
- 5. As a result of the new public API portal, Essent was able to role out the first of its smartphone (iPhone and Android compatible) apps in under a week.
- 6. Enhanced Governance over SOA architecture. The API Server is an integrated policy enforcement point (PEP) for authentication, authorization, and audit. It also provides highly configurable logging, extensive analytics for service usage and quality, and real-timing traffic monitoring.