Interfacing & Integration
Our core philosophy at Epix Systems is to eliminate waste and duplication. For typical repairs we see organisations handling the same item of information many times when processes could be implemented to reduce this. We start eliminating the waste from the very moment the job is first reported – with either our own call centre taking the diagnostic call, or your clients generating a file of jobs for you – through issuing to engineers who are using PDAs, and finishing with an electronic request for payment that can be exchanged or emailed to your customer.
Below is a schematic of how we can streamline a typical repairs request process:
Throughout our products we have integrated as much information as possible to directly achieve the goal of information sharing and process improvement. For example, our call centre directly integrates with the repairs history from job control, whilst also seeing real-time activity from the mobile working solution to directly affect allocation.
All of our products have been made to work with systems from other suppliers using a variety of interface methods – from simple text files, through XML and SOAP interfaces, to direct API calling from within their application.
Examples of Past Interfaces
To view each past example, please click on the appropriate tab.
- Civica's Universal Housing
- IBS Open Housing
- Orchard Housing
- Northgate Housing System
- Vixensoft/Causeway Contractor
- Stores Mainframe System
Fault diagnostics for Civica's Universal Housing
We provided a fault reporting and allocation front end to integrate directly within Contact Manager which created jobs for Universal Housing to pass to contractors. This utilised a number of different elements including an API call into our application to launch the fault reporting process, a regular return of recorded jobs and appointments, and a nightly batch of contact and property details from Universal Housing to us.
Direct allocation to engineer for IBS Open Housing
We have provided a solution which allows a client's housing staff to enter jobs directly into a contractors system for immediate appointment booking and allocation to specific engineers. Jobs can be instantly begun by the contractor without having to wait for the subsequent interfaced details from IBS to confirm the job.
We have completed a number of other interface projects to IBS including gas service jobs, responsive work, void keys processing, key stages and status updates, first time fix, variation requests, and completion details.
Emergency repairs interface
We delivered an interfacing portal to receive jobs from the clients system, pre-process them to remove errors and then release the jobs on to the contractor's legacy system in controlled batches. The whole interface normally took less than 5 minutes to process jobs from end to end.
Once the jobs are completed the interface produces status update files to send back to Orchard to remove double entry of information.
Contractor interfaces to Northgate Housing System
We have provided SOAP interfaces to receive jobs from Northgate and process updates. The interface returns status updates, variation requests and completion details.
After successfully completing this interface with an existing customer we were able to expand to 3 additional contractors working in different areas for the same client based only on the recommendations of the initial contractor.
A whole suite of client interfaces
We worked with a contractor over the period of about a year to enable interfacing into an ageing Vixensoft server. The contractor was having problems sanitising the interface files from a number of clients, and also in producing the range of output formats and information required. MARKUS® was used as an interface portal to pre-process the incoming jobs and to control the release of jobs into Vixen.
We were able to take a standard feed of status updates and completion details to produce specific files to transfer information back to the client systems.
MARKUS® was also able to provide additional user processes that Vixen lacked to help managing the jobs. This included pre-allocating and scheduling gas servicing appointments, and approving survey data generated by engineers on PDAs.
Sales and purchase information to Xero Accounts and Sage Line 50
We have a standard interface that sends both sales and purchase invoice details to Xero accounts and Sage Line 50 accounts.
Other accounts packages can be supported with existing interfaces to Quickbooks, Evolution Accounts, The Access Group Dimension Accounts, and AXiM Accoutns
Email to stores mainframe system
In the past we have maintained an email interface which generates reports of stock used by engineers for sending directly to stores for re–stocking.
We have been interfacing to any and all client systems since the early–90s using virtually any mechanism you can imagine. We are still maintaining an interface for a customer using a fixed–field–length format that was first introduced in 1993!
In our experience the remote end of the interface will declare a specific format that it can generate and receive – and we have always been able to fit our end of the interface to these predefined requirements.
The Benefits of Interfacing and Integration
Successful interfacing projects have the potential to deliver large and immediate financial benefits. For an organisation with 20 engineers these can be at the core of potential savings in the region £350K per year.
The benefits of interfacing include:
- Reduced cost for double entry of information
- Improved accuracy by removing human error when re-entering information
- Reduced query rates as all systems show the same information
- Increased speed to transfer data and allow for more immediate charging
- The amount of data you can capture can increase - for example on site times gathered on PDAs
- Enforcing of process by requiring that only specific information can be transferred between system