De Watergroep and Devoteam build Elastic Observability pipeline to deliver water to millions

De Watergroep is responsible for the supply of water to more than 3 million customers and hundreds of companies in Belgium. An organisation operating in the public sector, De Watergroep's main goal is to continuously ensure the availability of high-quality drinking water.

De Watergroep also is constantly engaged in technological innovation, focusing on keeping distribution costs low, and making maintenance more cost efficient.

A frontrunner in digitizing its business operations, De Watergroep is extremely dependent on its IT processes to ensure uninterrupted customer service. Some parts of this IT is outsourced to specialized companies. 

Watering down the challenge is not an option

Like any business that depends on third-party suppliers for mission-critical functions, De Watergroep’s digital transformation project left them in a challenging position. To maintain and gain more control over their ICT landscape, they needed to monitor the primary processes end-to-end across all third parties to mitigate risk, and to enhance the customer experience.

Synchronization of service orders is an example of an important process where monitoring is crucial. Every night, the assignments that are carried out during the day, such as repairs, are synchronized on field engineers’ tablets. When field engineers turn on their tablets, they get an overview of the service orders that they should execute. If this sync is unsuccessful customers may experience dissatisfaction with the customer service supplied by De Watergroep

Devoteam builds an observability pipeline with Elastic

To ensure operational success, De Watergroep called upon Devoteam Netherlands, an Elastic partner focused on digital strategy, platform technologies, cybersecurity, and business transformation. 

With the assistance of De Watergroep engineers, Devoteam implemented a centralized monitoring solution that strengthens the grip on day-to-day IT and operational activities at De Watergroep. Devoteam is responsible for 24/7 support on the integration layer and for the centralized monitoring.

The field service manager can monitor the success of the nightly synchronization to the field service portal with the help of Kibana dashboards. In addition to visualized insights, automated actions are also carried out with Elasticsearch Watchers. These Watchers act on set business rules, so that hiccups in the nightly flow can be detected and alternative flows can be initiated proactively. This ensures that field engineers on site can give the best customer experience.

“Together with experts from Devoteam, we have ensured that, by means of central Elastic Observability monitoring, De Watergroep has insight and control over crucial IT processes.”
- Frank Coucke, Team Manager Integration, Monitoring & BI at De Watergroep

Incidents are now detected faster than before with proactive alerts and within a multitude of Kibana dashboards. Bottlenecks and other problems are found more quickly and resolved before there are business consequences. 

By monitoring the order synchronization with the tablets of field engineers and setting alerts, De Watergroep can ensure that all field engineers receive their service orders on time and in full.

An added bonus is that data captured in near real time from monitored processes is easily culled into important reports. These reports provide insight into, among other things, the average responses from services and error rates. This information gives De Watergroep critical information for improving business processes, both internally and externally, as well as critical insights to set KPIs.

Why Devoteam relies on Elastic

Elastic is flexible and provides the tools, like Beats, to collect data from almost anywhere for a complete overview of the integration layer. The data is then processed by Elastic’s ingestion tool, Logstash, and stored in Elasticsearch

The Elasticsearch datastore is flexible and is used as a data source for Kibana dashboards. In addition to insights gleaned from Kibana, Elasticsearch is also suitable as a data source for many business intelligence tools.

Devoteam started small with the De Watergroep project by supporting and monitoring the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) to ensure that field engineers’ tablets are syncing flawlessly. Over time, the project expanded from ESB flows to complete transaction monitoring of business flows.

“Our partnership with Elastic is helping us scale our business and enables us to offer business solutions like observability, analytics, security and cloud. With Elastic, we can collect, combine, store and use data from virtually any source within an organization.”
- Maarten Corver, Devoteam Business Intelligence Consultant