Multiple systems – What’s the solution?

Technical Specialist Chris Powell goes in search for solutions to the challenge of using a multitude of systems to case manage Anti-social Behaviour.

I last wrote about some of the daily struggles I and many of ReACT’s customers have when using multiple systems to carry out their job.

It’s not so much a problem when you can remember 9 systems, 9 usernames, 9 passwords and 9 ways to enter information. It’s also ideal if you can remember which of the systems to use when you’re after specific information.

In an ideal scenario, one system would do everything, so you can carry out multiple role functions with one software solution, but you may get a watered down experience, or not quite grasp the full benefits of a dedicated solution.

I’ve found that quite a few people like using one piece of software, but then “have to” use another piece of software for a major function of their job. Wouldn’t it be great if we could help to merge the divide between software solutions?

Web services

Something that has been around for a while now are “Web services”. A Web service is a method of communication between two systems over a network. It’s a software level function that can allow Software A to interact with Software B and vice versa. They are becoming ever more popular in recent years within the software domain.

A Web service is used primarily to integrate two or more web-based applications. I won’t go into the details of how they work, but see them as a bit of a middle-man for passing and handling the data communications in to, and out of, your software. Where maybe Software A is not allowed access to Software B, we can use a Web service to stand between the two and pass the information between them. This doesn’t stop at just the ability to show information, but it also allows for information to be added, edited and potentially removed from the “other” system.

So, how does this help you? Well imagine you have your main system that you have to use daily, and then your ancillary systems. A Web service solution could allow for minor development changes in your software so that data can be passed to and from other systems. A great example could be an external Agency you work with using a system being able to push information into the system you use on a daily basis. You don’t need to go searching in their system, as it’s handled by a Web service to be populated in yours. Straight away you can cut down on double entry of data and the number of places you have to visit to find specific information.

So, a shorter piece from me today, but something you may want to ask your IT team or software provider is “are we able to use Web services”?