INFORMATIKA has come a long way from the IT department in the distribution of state-owned electricity to a full-fledged company that supports energy distribution all across Slovenia. The company for technological solutions supports the billing processes of all Slovenian energy distributors, takes care of the life cycle and management needs of companies, and enables customers to monitor their energy consumption in real-time. From their base in Maribor, they also manage the Slovenian platform for the exchange of electricity data between suppliers and distributors.
After more than 50 years of working exclusively with energy distributors, INFORMATIKA has recently expanded its services to more customers, especially wholesale electricity suppliers. They are expanding their solutions to Big Data analytics and artificial intelligence. “This helps us to offer electricity companies and their customers something more,” says Bojan Trafela, the head of the department for support of the IT system at INFORMATIKA.
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Providing better value
To expand its market and services, INFORMATIKA has increased its computing capacity to develop new applications. Many of these applications enhance the energy billing experience with personalization, which means that INFORMATIKA can offer better support to energy companies and their customers.
“Greater computing capacity has allowed us to focus more on developing new applications to meet the needs of our customers and on improving the services they use. All with the purpose of a better user experience, ”says Trafela.
With the help of INFORMATIKA applications, energy consumers all across Slovenia can monitor their electricity consumption in real-time, which can help them better manage their consumption and find ways to save energy. INFORMATIKA ensures that digital platforms of electricity companies operate with as few outages as possible and that employees have uninterrupted access to billing and data management systems in all customer service operations.
Providing new services and applications
Although the existing hardware infrastructure in INFORMATIKA was still usable, it no longer met the company’s business requirements and diverse workloads, which include a range of databases and applications.
“Because we have new applications that require more computing power and more memory, we needed new solutions to support larger virtualization ratios,” explains Boban Veljanoski, systems engineer at INFORMATIKA. “Instead of more servers, we wanted more powerful ones to save on the cost of virtualization licenses, backups, and so on.”
Many INFORMATIKA customers depend on their applications, in particular enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms for energy management, billing, and general customer relations. “If our systems don’t work, these employees can’t do their job at our customers,” explains Trafela.
And with increased capacity requirements, managing the company’s infrastructure has become increasingly time-consuming. Just providing a new network would take half a day. “We are a small team and we have to cover many areas and tasks that can be burdensome,” says Veljanoski. His team consists of 12 members, including four systems engineers who take care of the company’s IT infrastructure.
INFORMATIKA upgraded its infrastructure with the support of HPE Pointnext Services and partner company HC Center. This gave them the necessary acceleration in the field of hardware virtualization and helped reduce outages on digital platforms of power companies. INFORMATIKA expects to achieve 100% infrastructure virtualization from the current 80% in the next few months.
“All of our teams have recognized the benefits of the reduced complexity of our hardware infrastructure,” says Trafela. “If we had looked at our data center three years ago, we would have seen a lot of servers and mainframe computers. Today it is almost empty, with only one or two rack servers. So now we have less hardware and more computing power. “
As a result, managing the data center has become much easier. “Now we only need about 50% of our team to do the same data center maintenance work,” Trafela says.
Increase efficiency and productivity
INFORMATIKA’s new infrastructure consists of eight HPE Synergy 480 Gen10 computer modules and two HPE Synergy 12000 server blade frames. The solution enables the rapid development of new applications to help improve service delivery among energy companies.
“We are no longer worried about the number of resources, as we can provide our developers with as much capacity as they need to run the tests,” says Veljanoski. Previously, his team had to carefully balance the computing power it allocated to developers of programs with other requirements to provide the performance they needed.
“We have top performance and much higher network throughput,” adds Veljanoski. “Also, our new processors have more cores than the traditional ones we know. In other words, we have a reliable system that helps us do our job well. “
In addition to requiring less maintenance, the new platform has also reduced the time the Veljanoski and Trafela team spends managing it.
“In the past, it took us half a day to secure a new network, but now we can do it in just a few minutes,” says Veljanoski. “We can also use HPE OneView and HPE Synergy Composer to quickly and easily identify and troubleshoot our servers. Server fixes and upgrades used to take us a few days, but now they can be done in minutes.
HPE OneView is the management software built into HPE Synergy, while HPE Synergy Composer serves as the central unit for managing and maintaining HPE Synergy systems.
“These things are important to us because we are a small team,” says Veljanoski.
Focus on high-impact tasks
“We are very happy about that,” Veljanoski added. “We can now focus on the more critical parts of our work commitments because we don’t have to worry about whether or not our systems will work and we don’t have to waste our time troubleshooting.”
With more than enough computing resources, INFORMATIKA can now provide more flexible service delivery. “I think our additional capabilities can help us provide IT resources to customers in an even more advanced form of service.”