The Engineering Council wanted to improve the way its staff, members and others could access key information such as industry news, membership criteria, examination types, members code of conduct and employment advice; plus perform actions such as registering to attend an event, registering CPD activity, updating personal information and paying membership fees. To improve efficiency, the Council also wanted to automate replicable activities.
The Council hosted in-house a number of strategically important business systems, delivering the means by which it engaged with its end users and kept all vital business information updated. These systems, written in Microsoft .Net talked to a Microsoft SQL database, also hosted in-house.
The Council felt that it needed to reduce the risks absorbed by hosting 'mission critical' systems in-house; plus it wanted to improve the flexibility of its IT structure in order to deliver added functionality as and when required by stakeholders in the future. It realised that it needed to be a customer-driven organisation.
The first task completed by the ap16 project team was to relocate the 'mission critical' systems (identified by the Engineering Council) onto secure servers managed by ap16. We then managed and supported the systems under a new Service Level Agreement (SLA).
Following the systems relocation phase, workshops were then held to establish how the Council could achieve more from their existing systems; information and ideas for each system were documented and improvement project plans agreed and put into action.
Full 'functional specifications' were then created and agreed for the development of new systems and project plans and timelines put in place.
Using the existing technologies of .NET and SQL as the base for the new system development project, the ap16 project team set to work on producing a scalable future proof system.
We did this by designing and developing a new highly-organised data layer which was further enhanced by utilising a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) approach to the development – this widely preferred approach is independent of any vendor, product or technology, so can be utilised and refined across different types of projects.
This has enabled the ap16 team to flex the shape and direction of the systems to meet the challenges and changing requirements that inevitably come from a business critical system.
All the systems have been developed with an intuitive User Interface (UI) and the ability to create reports; 'slicing and dicing' data to produce meaningful management information.
The Engineering Council now has a robust, flexible, future proof IT system and directional road map for all its business critical systems, allowing for the organisation to meet the requirements of its stakeholders at a much greater speed, enhancing working relationships and building brand loyalty.
Not only has this benefited the management team by automating menial tasks, as well as producing meaningful, decision-worthy information, but it has also improved the relationship members (its primary customers) have with the organisation, particularly using the website as a portal for the two way flow of information.
How could we further improve the system? We could improve the delivery of information for Stakeholders across mobile devices – this is where we believe demand will increase. We look forward to the challenge.
Tools & Technology Used