In 2020, the facilities group at the University of New Hampshire faced a common question that is presented when implementing new facilities management software. How do we square our system integration strategies needs with our available resources? Many times, an organization will have to either delay integrations till resources are available or make a pitch for additional development resources. AssetWorks presents a third option with Standard Data Connectors (SDC’s) that provides additional value in 5 key ways.
1. Accelerate Time to Value
Everyone knows the time honored expression that “Time is money”, and let us not forget the savings from eliminating duplicative and manual data entry processes. Utilizing an off-the-shelf solution like SDC’s, allows you to implement a solution that is 70% complete on day one. This lets you focus the resources you do have against any transformational logic that is needed.
2. Demand Flexibility
Custom coded interfaces are rigid. They take a certain set of data and put it a certain place. Not very flexible. Just like your organization, enterprise software grows and changes over time. Maybe a field is added that you’d like to include in the interface. If you want to leverage the new field in a custom interface you need to allocate resources to change the code. With SDC’s the object’s entire data hierarchy is available to you, as well as any fields that are added with product updates. AssetWorks provides the documentation to add data points along the way if you choose to do so.
Another benefit is that SDC’s aren’t locked into one system or another. Ever had to change ERP software and re-write everything as a result of it? Not with SDC’s. The same SDC works regardless of what system is providing the information. Just set up the process of getting the file to or from the new system and you are good to go.
3. Eliminate Weak Points
If you’ve been around enterprise software for any length of time, you’ve likely heard the stories about how this or that gets done. So-and-so runs a query, cleans up any errors they see, then they email to it to someone else. That person copy and pastes that information into their notepad and runs a script to make the updates. The number of ways this can go sideways is enough to keep any system owner awake at night.
SDC’s look for a standard JSON input format, which AssetWorks provides full documentation for. They pick up the file from a designated directory and process it from there. Any errors are flagged for review within AiM, while valid records are processed accordingly. No more having a whole file fail because one data point was off. All transactions utilize API’s to ensure compliance with business rules.
4. Ensure Visibility and Control
Ever had someone be out for a few days and have no visibility to what was going on? What if you want to make a simple change of schedule, but you can’t because the IT resource that knows where this is hard-coded is out? These are all too common occurrences.
When we designed SDC’s, a goal was to ensure the right visibility and the ability to make updates if needed. Once deployed SDC’s are managed from the AiM UI. Rather than sending an email of what happened (or didn’t happen) SDC’s keep logs that are accessible by anyone with privileges. Also any resources with privileges to the Business Automation screen can adjust SDC parameters like the schedule or notifications.
5. Maintain Velocity
At the risk of stating the obvious, the more systems you integrate the higher your ROI becomes. Picking up efficiency by eliminating time consuming manual processes, and reducing errors are a couple of ways that this can manifest. Our customers tell us that they desire to integrate multiple systems with AiM. Your organizations ERP, HR, Purchasing, Property, Contract, & Customer Request systems are all prime targets. Therefore, AssetWorks has created more than 40 (and counting) SDC’s to meet, all your common system integration needs. These are packaged conveniently in bundles focused around the business area of system integration.
The University of New Hampshire ultimately decided to implement SDC’s as their primary mechanism for integrating AiM with other campus systems. AssetWorks is excited to partner with them to deploy this exciting new tool for their system integration strategies!