The Challenge

When Viessmann, a family-led German company founded in 1917, successfully transformed their business to evolve from a mechanical heating equipment manufacturer to a customer-centric climate solution provider, their IT Services division faced costly challenges using a legacy toolchain integration between Polarion and Jira that resulted in unpredictable service outages and ongoing sync errors. Because the unreliable integration only supported the synchronization of one work item type, the solution was not scalable, and developers wasted valuable time manually syncing information across projects and performing rework.

The Solution

Viessmann selected Planview Hub as the toolchain integration solution for a reliable, seamless, and scalable integration between Polarion and Jira that would eliminate costly waste and inefficiency across their IT Services development teams. Hub’s ease of implementation was streamlined further by the ability to reuse and rewrite Hub scripts that were in use in another line of business at Viessmann. When Hub went live, developers experienced two major benefits: there were zero integration outages, unlocking massive resource capacity, and allowing them to focus on work that delivered value to customers. Additionally, internal customer satisfaction improved drastically with almost zero IT service request tickets submitted related to complaints about integration outages and sync errors.

“My customers are not calling me anymore about complaints. They like the new synchronization and how it works easily for them. We still have requests, but they are requests for synchronizations, not to get the system running again like before.”

– Benjamin Horst, IT Service Owner Toolchain

About Viessmann

Viessmann was founded in 1917 as a local, family-led German company that specialized in manufacturing mechanical heating equipment, such as boilers. Today, Viessmann has evolved into a global climate and energy solution provider that offers a range of seamlessly integrated solutions to customers, including digital products and services that integrate with household heating and climate systems.

Challenge: Unpredictable Integration Outages and Sync Errors Result in Inefficiency and Wasted Time

Viessmann’s digital transformation expanded their service offerings to provide integrated climate solutions to customers, including a full suite of smart home apps. Benjamin Horst, IT Service Owner Toolchain who joined Viessmann in 2011 as a Software Architect, was tasked with modernizing the IT toolchain capabilities to support product development and remove silos across software and hardware development teams.

With mostly hardware developers using Polarion – a tool suited for mechanical production requirements – and software engineers using Jira, the legacy toolchain integration solution relied on a limited start-up Polarion connector, and resulted in a time-consuming integration that was error-prone, often unpredictable, or unavailable, with support for the sync of only one work item type. Because the tool was free, technical support was limited.

“It was pretty complicated to set the Polarion synchronization up. It took hours if you wanted to integrate a new project from one side to the other, and some things just didn’t work. You were not able to add any work items from the Polarion side, except for defects. In addition, small changes to one work item could stop the complete synchronization.” said Horst.

“It was error prone. People were not sure if their synchronization actually happened. They had to look in both tools and had to sync it manually. We needed to find a new solution,” he said.

One specific incident resulted in a prolonged period of downtime for developers and manual rework, which cost Viessmann tens of thousands of euros.

“It was a lot of manual work. There were two or three people not doing much else besides making sure the right information was available. It was around €60,000- €70,000 that we lost,” Horst recalled.

After the prolonged outage and complaints of stakeholders, IT-Management tasked Horst to modernize the synchronization of the toolchain. This effort involved replacing the outdated integration system with a reliable, efficient, and scalable solution that would enable developers to focus on high-value work aligned with strategic objectives, rather than wasting time manually checking sync errors and copying and pasting data across projects.

Solution: Implementation of Planview Hub Decreases Risk and Increases Software Delivery Reliability

After the legacy implementation between Polarion and Jira reached a tipping point in unpredictable outages and productivity loss, the team initially explored building an integration solution in-house. But with only a small team dedicated to internal development and the extensive effort required, pursuing this approach was not practical when compared to acquiring a turnkey commercial solution.

“We discussed building our own solution but when taking a closer look at what was needed, nobody was fond of it. We determined we’d need a year and at least two dedicated developers to actually develop what we needed. It would divert our focus too much on what we actually wanted to accomplish as a company,” said Horst.

Reliability was the primary requirement of the toolchain integration, leading Horst to seek out larger vendors for procurement. “We’d rather spend more money to have a good, working solution that is widely used, and not some limited start-up tool. If you’re a company with more than 14,000 employees, you can’t rely on that,” he said.

Fortunately, Viessmann had already successfully implemented Planview Hub in another line of business to integrate Planview Portfolios with Jira, so Horst was already familiar with Hub's scalability and ease of implementation. The tool also met his capability requirement that it supports atomic commits, which allows developers to sync work items one at a time, ensuring that if just one work item fails, the entire sync process does not fail, as it did with the legacy Polarion integration.

“We were pretty quick on choosing Planview Hub for the integration because we knew it worked well for the integration between Planview Portfolios and Jira,” Horst said. He also noted that Planview Hub was the only solution to meet the integration capability requirements, therefore there was no other competition.

After Planview Hub was selected, the implementation was a smooth experience because they were able to reuse scripts from the Portfolios Jira sync and Planview provided strong technical support.

"It took us approximately 1 to 2 months to modify the workflows and custom fields for the new synchronization. We required a couple of weeks to make the necessary adjustments, but once people noticed that the synchronization was occurring automatically, they were able to ease their concerns," he explained.

“What we saw was a much faster way to set integrations up because we could reuse everything. The user interface doesn't require development expertise to operate. What's needed is a solid understanding of the business to specify what should be synchronized. I can document these requirements and delegate the task to my service desk. It’s not complicated,” said Horst.

Results: Seamless Integration of Planview Hub Unlocks Resource Capacity and Increases Customer Satisfaction by more than 80%

Planview Hub enabled Viessmann to significantly modernize their toolchain capabilities, resulting in the elimination of manual work, improved team morale, and an increase in productivity. After implementing Planview Hub, “we didn’t have any outages. Planview Hub ran smoothly after I set it up and doesn’t require much maintenance,” Horst said.

Additionally, the number of complaint tickets from his internal customers was a key metric of success; Horst has not received a single complaint ticket related to outages since Planview Hub went live. And even when new synchronization requests are submitted, they require much less effort to handle.

“With the previous integration, if something changed in how the Polarion project was set up, we'd have to touch 20 synchronization tasks. In this case, we just touch one,” said Horst.

Future: Scaling and Evaluating Planview Hub for Planview Enterprise Architecture

After a successful implementation of Planview Hub, Horst plans to leverage the tool’s data modeling and out-of-box capabilities to integrate more projects, many of which had previously been put on hold, “because it was very tedious work to set them up and maintain those syncs,” he said.

Planview Hub is also undergoing an evaluation at Viessmann for integration with Enterprise Architecture, with requirements gathering and sandbox testing already underway.

After his experience modernizing IT toolchain capabilities to support Viessmann’s evolving business, Horst offers advice to those in IT navigating the landscape of digital transformation: “Buy the stuff that you need to do your work. Invest your creativity and development power in the areas your customers need.”

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