Telepass: Serving customers better with mobility as a service on Google Cloud

About Telepass

With on-board devices and a comprehensive electronic payments platform, Telepass simplifies payments for public and private transport. It is the most widely used electronic tolling system in Europe.

Industries: Financial Services & Insurance
Location: Italy

About NTT Data

With business operations in more than 50 countries and regions, NTT Data provides premier professional services from consulting to system development to business IT outsourcing.

Telepass uses Compute Engine and SAP on Google Cloud to build a customized infrastructure, gaining scalability and efficiency that enables it to deliver greater value to its customers.

Google Cloud results

  • Creates a seamless hybrid infrastructure solution with minimal disruption, using Google Cloud professional services
  • Scales up and down on demand without depleting resources on installing and configuring new hardware
  • Refocuses IT staff to concentrate on developing value-add products and features for customers

Ingests and analyzes 2 to 3 TB of data every day

With an on-board device that lets customers automatically pay for tolls and parking, Telepass allows drivers to simply enjoy the pleasures of driving. Founded in 2008, Telepass initially focused on electronic payment for motorway tolls in its native Italy. Today, it’s the most widely used electronic tolling system across Europe, operating in 11 countries with more than six million customers. The company offers its customers a single, unified way of paying not only for motorway tolls but also for services such as parking, taxes, and insurance.

“We were moving to a model of mobility as a service. We needed to reshape the way we use technology and data to better serve our partners and customers. We feel that Google Cloud has the most powerful toolset and vision to meet the needs of our strategy.”

Guido Governini, CIO, Telepass

In 2017, Telepass formed the Telepass Group to better cope with its expanded customer base and range of services provided. As well as maintaining its premium levels of service, the company wanted to explore the latest generation of data analytics and AI solutions, to target new customers and deliver a more complete service to its existing ones. The company called its new way of working “mobility as a service.” Telepass’ existing on-premises infrastructure, however, was already reaching its limits. In order to fulfil its ambitious plans, Telepass turned to Google Cloud.

“We were moving to a model of mobility as a service. We needed to reshape the way we use technology and data to better serve our partners and customers,” says Guido Governini, CIO at Telepass. “We feel that Google Cloud has the most powerful toolset and vision to meet the needs of our strategy.”

Scaling for success with Compute Engine

Handling motorway toll transactions is one thing, but dealing with millions of payments from all over Europe for multiple services requires huge resources. Telepass has continually built up its infrastructure to keep up with the demands of its customers, but with an on-premises infrastructure,, adding new hardware and keeping it maintained was costing time and money. The company eventually reached the limit in terms of what was cost-effective.

At the same time, the company was keen to completely overhaul its marketing with the latest data analytics. Rather than divide its customers into broad segments and deal with them en masse, Telepass wanted to personalize the offerings it made on a one-to-one basis. The company also wanted to be able to make these offers in real time depending on the customer’s circumstances. For example, if they were pulling into an airport car park, they might receive a notification for discounted travel insurance. Only a cloud-based infrastructure would have the ability to scale quickly enough to make such a goal possible, so the company began exploring its options in the cloud.

After evaluating the largest cloud suppliers, Telepass chose Google Cloud for its powerful data analytics offering and ability to integrate easily with other products. “I like the approach Google Cloud has taken with regard to open source and third-party technology,” says Guido.

In early 2018, Telepass began planning the migration, teaming up with Google Cloud Partner NTT Data to help integrate its existing systems into the new platform. The company also engaged the Google Cloud Professional Services Organization (PSO), investing in Technical Account Management to help find the optimal configuration for its specific needs. The goal for Telepass was to ultimately build a container-based infrastructure that could automate much of the maintenance overheads, but this would require an extensive redesign of its core architecture. The migration also had a tight timeline, and the company was wary of disrupting its service. With the help of the Google Cloud PSO team, Telepass embarked on a two-part migration.

“The Google Cloud Professional Services Organization gave us tremendous insight into all the different products within the Google Cloud environment and how they could be used. It helped us leverage the best tools and technology, giving us a hybrid solution that delivers continuity and availability.”

Guido Governini, CIO, Telepass

The first phase of the migration would be a “lift and shift” of some of the core elements of the infrastructure to Google Compute Engine virtual machines for a hybrid infrastructure. This way, Telepass can continue using third-party software such as its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and still have the flexibility to scale up or down on demand. The company manages the new instances with Google Stackdriver Monitoring.

For its operations management, Telepass runs SAP Hybris Billing on Google Cloud. Telepass can easily integrate the BRIM solution in the cloud with the SAP elements it still maintains on its on-premises infrastructure. With the help of Google Cloud PSO, Telepass found a solution that provides continuity and minimal disruption as well as the advantages of the cloud.

“The Google Cloud Professional Services Organization gave us tremendous insight into all the different products within the Google Cloud environment and how they could be used,” says Guido. “It helped us leverage the best tools and technology, giving us a hybrid solution that delivers continuity and availability.”

“With Google Cloud, we can now handle around two to three terabytes of data every day. Even at this scale, our cloud-based components interact with our legacy components in real time. We can work at the scale and speed of our ambitions, which was not possible before.”

Guido Governini, CIO, Telepass

Greater stability for smoother service and accelerated innovation

Telepass is already seeing the benefits of its migration to Google Cloud. Now that it can scale on demand, the company can handle much greater loads on its infrastructure.

“With Google Cloud, we can now handle around two to three terabytes of data every day. Even at this scale, our cloud-based components interact with our legacy components in real time,” says Guido. “We can work at the scale and speed of our ambitions, which was not possible before.”

Telepass has handled the increased load with ease. Without any hardware to install or configure, resources can be added, taken away, or customized in minutes on the Compute Engine console. This has resulted in a much smoother service for customers with near zero unplanned downtime, as Guido explains: “If something goes wrong or there’s a bug, we no longer have to interrupt the service to add more resources,” he says. “We simply add what we need to keep the service running and work on the solution in the meantime. Then when it’s ready and fully tested, we switch to the new version. It’s closer to a continuous integration / continuous development way of working, where we’re consistently and effectively pushing out updates and new features.”

Google Cloud has also empowered Telepass’ IT team to move away from just maintaining infrastructure to creating new solutions that help the core business. With the ability to create new environments in just a few clicks, developers can work at a much faster pace, testing new features and product ideas without much overheard. One recent example is a feature that monitors the environmental conditions in the car around the on-board unit, providing a much more accurate reading of the battery life. This means that on a hot day which can drain the battery faster, for example, the “low battery” notification can be sent to customers earlier, giving them more time to deal with it.

With the first half of the migration complete, Telepass is currently planning the final phase. Perhaps the biggest task is a redesign of its core infrastructure to a microservices-based architecture, run with Google Kubernetes Engine. A serverless infrastructure will help the company automate even more of its services, creating more efficiencies. Telepass is also working to completely replace its on-premises components of SAP with SAP on Google Cloud, unifying its billing and enterprise resource management platforms and streamlining the company’s operations.

Meanwhile, the company is also keen to start working with data analytics products such as BigQuery. Telepass sees analytics as crucial to its continued success and growth.

“The traditional model is to divide customers into broad segments and market to them in large groups. It’s very flat,” says Guido. “With the AI and data analytics components of Google Cloud, we will be able to make recommendations personalized to each customer in real time. For us, this is the future of our company.”

About Telepass

With on-board devices and a comprehensive electronic payments platform, Telepass simplifies payments for public and private transport. It is the most widely used electronic tolling system in Europe.

Industries: Financial Services & Insurance
Location: Italy

About NTT Data

With business operations in more than 50 countries and regions, NTT Data provides premier professional services from consulting to system development to business IT outsourcing.