The StreamSets and webMethods platforms have now been acquired by IBM 

Some like it complex

What do progressive rock and jazz have to do with data integration? A great deal says Peter Tenbusch, CEO of travelbasys, a leading IT service provider in the tourism industry that offers a range of solutions for managing data, payments, and bookkeeping. Why? Because all of those things require a good deal of curiosity and openness.
Marillion, Genesis, Pink Floyd—everyone knows these famous bands and one or two of their big hits. However, things look very different when it comes to lesser-known songs. But not for Peter Tenbusch. A diehard fan like him is also enthusiastic about their multilayered, intricate, and lengthy pieces: "Art rock, progressive rock, and jazz have never intimidated me," says the CEO of travelbasys. "I always thought: So many other people like it, there must be something to it." So he dove headlong into the music, listening very closely and intently.

Pushing the boundaries

RBS now is the most important product for travelbasys, which is based in Mühlheim an der Ruhr. RBS was developed with Software AG’s Adabas & Natural and is a market-leading back-office and management system for travel agencies in Germany and Europe. The software integrates all systems and data into one seamless, automated process—from process management to reporting, bookkeeping, and archiving. Many tour operators and travel agencies throughout Europe use it.

RBS has been steadily refined over time and expanded to a back-office software package with a variety of functions, and meanwhile has also turned its focus to additional customer groups such as credit card companies and banks. "We need to keep on evolving specifically because we have been in business for so long," explains Tenbusch. "In that process, we have often pushed beyond our boundaries—and we're still doing that to this day.

The dynamic way the travel industry has changed since the advent of the internet has made that necessary. "Essentially, not a stone was left standing. The entire market has become extremely heterogenous and modular," states Tenbusch. For instance, in the past the entire industry in Germany used a single central reservation system. That has grown to five in the meantime, and more are coming. And while 30 years ago consumers generally went to a travel agency to book a flight, these days they can do that easily on their smartphone, either directly on the airline’s website or with any of the two dozen online travel providers.

"The airlines in turn maintain direct contact with customers, travel agencies, and sales channels to get out of the standardized price ranking," says Tenbusch. As a consequence, demand for online data availability in real time has risen enormously. There is a rapidly growing volume of information and a wide variety of data sources that need to be dynamically integrated with each other.

Data integration is key

In order to keep up with the pace and level of complexity while staying ahead of evolving industry standards, travelbasys needed to revolutionize its systems. The company now relies on Software AG’s webMethods and API Gateway to do the job. They enable the integration of all data silos and are establishing a central data source for real-time data processing, which travelbasys’ customers can access. webMethods provides a standardized gateway for the travelbasys systems to communicate with other systems. "It has given us a toolbox that we currently use to connect 100 different interfaces as well as import and export all possible data formats,” explains Tenbusch. "Thanks to this flexibility we can also connect customers with older systems by integrating their existing systems. And we’re up to date and ready for new customers with their new requirements and standards."

Openness and user-friendliness—it always comes down to these two maxims at travelbasys. Tenbusch elaborates: "Over time we have built up a large treasure trove of experience with normalizing and standardizing data from the travel industry and making it easily available to customers." Aside from the IT, the team's mindset is crucial: staying agile, interested, and open to new innovations and ideas. "We regularly have major projects where we need to adapt and adjust, but those are the projects where we learned and gained a great deal," he notes, adding: "That continues to make our business so interesting for me to this day."

All that remains is a request for a music tip. Mr. Tenbusch, can you name three progressive rock albums that warrant indulging in a deep dive?… Tenbusch: "There are so many, but here are four albums from recent years:

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