Lauri Toivanen, HiQ's Integration Architect, is responsible for designing demanding integrations at Aalto University. Currently, Aalto University has already 200 integrations in production which are implemented to HiQs FRENDS-environment. Aalto's integration architecture is based on APIs, or open interfaces.
“Continuous work on the FRENDS integration platform makes sense - it's exciting when Aalto University as a customer wants to try new products and technologies. It's a challenge for the day”, Lauri describes.
HiQ was selected as Aalto's Integration Partner through the 2018 public procurement process. FRENDS replaced an earlier integration platform solution that did not meet Aalto University's requirements for easy usability and agile development.
"FRENDS was the right solution for us and just the right choice to support Aalto's digital transformation strategy, design and transformation process," says Patrik Maltusch, Head of IT Services Architecture at Aalto University.
What makes FRENDS such a powerful integration platform? “It's easy to get started with, it has a lot of features and it is constantly evolving. It is also supported by the FRENDS Community Forum, so best practices are easily available”, Lauri sums up. “In addition, we receive regular training from HiQ's FRENDS R&D team, and we can also ask more during the monthly Question Time. This ensures that we keep up with the new features of the product”.
The customer is also satisfied with their choice of platform and partner. “We have been able to implement a large number of integrations in a short time. From an operational point of view, tasks that took months to complete can now be completed in weeks”, says Patrik Maltusch of Aalto University.
In Aalto University team there are a total of seven HiQ consultants implementing integrations. Accompanying Lauri, Aalto has a service manager and five developers from HiQ. From Aalto, the owner of the integration service, three integration experts, system administrators and business representatives all participate in the development of integrations. Developing integrations is therefore cooperation at its finest.
Technical challenges are an important motivator for Lauri's work. “Because I like to develop myself also, sometimes I just want to test-drive a new thing before I give it to the developers. This gives me a concrete sense of how the solution works, even before moving on to implementation”, Lauri explains.
Aalto University integration projects last from weeks to months. In Lauri's opinion, HiQ's low organization enables fluent working. “We have a team meeting once a week, led by the service manager. There we look through the customer's needs, the status of the projects, and all the upcoming tasks. We also review the situation with the customer on a weekly basis. I also have meetings with the customers to discuss solutions with them. I work by myself when I do design work. After that, the solution goes to the developers, and I support them.”
Lauri praises the customer for the good way of doing things. “It is great to work with Aalto University. You have the opportunity to think about larger entities and you are constantly positively challenged. Also, great thing about working with customers is you get to see people and chat with them.”
Aalto University is a multiscientific community where science and art meet technology and economics. It is committed to identifying and addressing major societal challenges and building an innovative future.
Aalto University has six colleges and over 23 000 students are enrolled, equivalent to about 12,000 full-time students. There are 4,000 staff, 400 of whom are professors. Bachelor's and Master's degrees are available at Aalto University, and each field of study has its own doctoral program.
Aalto University was founded in 2010 in association with the Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki School of Economics and the Helsinki University of Art and Design. The University's main campus is located in Otaniemi, Espoo.
Photos: Sam Jamsen