Data Integration Solutions

  • Data integration solutions


    If it’s connecting your stock control system to your ecommerce solution, or job costing system to your accounts package, or maybe it's a new payment gateway that you are after...
    Then talk to us, we can sort it for you, this is what we do all the time.

    Transferring data is easy. There are a host of solutions that will ship your files from one place to another. Many systems now have APIs to enable data to be exported and imported. However, the difficulty is often in the details. One system may have a very different concept, even of something as simple as an address. Or the data may be structured in different ways. And there may be differences in procedure, of objects and structures that need to be set up first. We understand these issues, because we've been working with them for years.

  • Case Studies


    SMS-LMS Interoperability

    As the developers of the Learning Management System KnowledgeNET, we were chosen to pilot a Ministry of Education project to enable data to be transferred between Student and Learning Management Systems. Initially, we provided consultation on the best methods and technologies to use. We worked with the Ministry to develop the schema for message formats, and then developed a system to link up three schools to their SMS systems, providing a secure connection and validation at the transport and presentation layer.

    We had to tackle a number of problems along the way. Firstly, there were many differences in concepts that we had to address. For example:

    • The SMS vendors had interpreted data in different ways. Some had a structured address format, others had simply a set of lines. We had to decide how to import and update these
    • In an SMS, there was no concept of a login. We had to create usernames and passwords on the fly, using rules appropriate to each school environment. Often the SMS would only send teacher data if they were attached to a class, but the schools required library staff added to the LMS, and we had to cater for this.
    • In an SMS, the concept of classes was often different to what the school understood. We had to undergo a lot of negotiation in order to have the LMS classes set up as the school wanted them.

    There were a number of problems with school networks. We had to devise a transport system that could negotiate proxies, and continue retrying in the face of overloaded networks and packet loss. The system had to work from behind firewalls, and be installable with the minimum of technical knowledge.

    We still manage these systems today, and can monitor them remotely to tell if there is any problem. The system has proved robust enough to require minimal support, working quietly on some often very old servers across New Zealand.

    Spreadsheet processing

    For those schools who managed their KnowledgeNET manually, we provided a mechanism to export their logins and classes into a spreadsheet. From there they could tweak them, and upload the spreadsheet again to make changes. We used the Microsoft XLSX format and the Open Office ODS format to enable multiple sheets, formatted columns and tooltips in order to make their job easier.

    Provisioning of other systems

    Schools often use a variety of systems. We provided mechanisms to provision Moodle and Active Directory, as well as a number of others. Again, there were numerous issues of concept and protocol which we had to work through. We've also provided iDPs for single sign on, and produced working models for Google Apps provisioning.

    Ecommerce

    We have produced ecommerce websites for a variety of businesses. We developed an automated product feed from a major electronics distributor to feed and update products and categories without any human intervention. We provided an interface for another customer that would upload not just products, but images, stock information and promotions as well.

    Address indexing and geospatial processing

    Our customer wanted a system that would search for property, by entering an address, by clicking on a Google map (with a geospatial search of property boundaries), or by searching on title and legal data. Having located a property, we then used the LINZ database to find extensive information about that title, in order to present it to the user. This required some sophisticated processing in order to make the two million property titles in New Zealand available instantly through any of the searches. A parsing mechanism normalises address components from a wide range of formats, catering for different addressing conventions and making it much easier to locate a particular address. Lastly, the data is updated from LINZ automatically, and indexed overnight.

    Take a look at the PropertyPal site here. And of course, it's all fully responsive.


    Whatever your systems and requirements, we have the experience and knowledge to make it happen.