Lambeth is one of 14 local authorities – clustered around the banks of the Thames – which make up the interior part of Greater London. It is a diverse and vibrant area of about ten square miles with a population of around 330,000, making Lambeth one of the most densely populated boroughs in London.
Lambeth council provides a wide range of council services including Children’s Services, Adults and Public Health, Neighbourhoods and Growth, and Corporate Resources.
The Council had previously invested in BizTalk 2010 to connect to external and internal Council systems, which due to management restructuring and lack of in-house technical resources, was not being used to its full potential.
Lambeth IT understood the potential of BizTalk and its ability to solve integration requirements for the business. They wanted to utilise BizTalk to more effectively enable communication between their business functions -HR, Identity Management, Social Housing, Service Desk, and chose to deploy BizTalk 2016 as an enterprise service bus (ESB).
Implementing BizTalk 2016 enabled Lambeth not only to interact with key on-premises systems but also create hybrid integrations making use of Azure Logic Apps rich system connectors. Automation and testing were also a key driver for this new ESB environment and Visual Studio Team Service release management plays a key factor in Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD) processes.
Lambeth engaged Affinus for their BizTalk consultancy to design, build and deploy an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) using BizTalk Server technology. The ESB would enable different business functions in the council to share their data across the council. The project also required Affinus to establish an automated software delivery environment to ensure new integrations were efficiently delivered and quality assured.
The project included:
Lambeth needed the ability to deliver new business integrations from different areas of the council business including for example functions such as social housing, parking, welfare, and the IT service desk.
Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery via VSTS in the Cloud
Before development could begin it was necessary to establish a software development lifecycle (SDLC). This would enable interfaces to be developed and delivered in a consistent and quality-controlled environment, with proper release management and version control.
Proof of Concept
An important aspect of the early work was demonstrating our approach and the technology. Working with HR department, we removed a number of manual tasks for on-boarding new employees and automated the tasks via an integration with Active Directory. This also enabled the possibility of simply migrating the HR system from the legacy environment into the cloud.
Established BizTalk ESB as a Trusted Integration Environment
We removed manual tasks and placed them in BizTalk, which was able to provide a trusted gateway to internal and external systems to enable file moving.
We trained internal staff on best practices including: SDLC, test driven development, and automation through CI and CD.
Affinus continue to support the live system and assist with design and development of new interfaces.
Affinus needed to determine what could be usefully migrated from the BizTalk 2010 environment to BizTalk 2016. Next came a process of capturing the requirements for a new proof concept to showcase the capabilities of the kind of interfaces BizTalk 2016 could deliver.
The software development environments were then scoped out to enable delivery of the CI and CD processes. Training and mentoring took place to enable solution architects to adopt best practices around integration patterns, testing, automation and writing BizTalk & Azure applications.
Affinus then built out multiple BizTalk environments which enabled the ‘production line’ for other interfaces with VSTS automated testing and release. The environment was now ready for the showcase interface which took new starters created by HR and created accounts in Active Directory.
If you’d like to know more about our work at Lambeth, or how we could support your BizTalk or Azure project, give us a call.
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