Developing real time integration between Turner Property Services’ IFS Solution and several housing association management systems.
Turner & Co (Glasgow) Ltd, is a family owned group of companies with a turnover in excess of £148m and around 1,100 employees throughout the world. The group delivers a broad range of services including: vehicle rental solutions; equipment rental, sales and service; property, windfarm and aviation services. Turner Property Services Ltd (TPS) is the group’s property management division delivering a range of services for social housing clients.
Following a tender procedure where both price and quality were evaluated, TPS was awarded a contract to deliver reactive maintenance and void refurbishment services for a number of housing associations. The mobilisation period for these contracts was 6 weeks and within this time TPS had to manage the integration of IFS with each client’s housing management system based on their individual technical and service requirements.
The solution was initially built for Hanover Housing Association who use the Capita IBS Open Housing system. The contract required integration between the Capita system and IFS that provided a real time link between the two organisations.
In total, TPS required four interfaces to be developed between the Capita system and IFS:
Creation of a work order for a repair, for example, replacing a door.
Requesting an appointment slot in IFS.
Providing status updates for a repair for example, when the repair job is
complete, or if another part needs to be ordered.
Providing a request for payment.
Cooper Software’s proprietary product, TRAX was identified as the solution which could successfully provide the data integration platform. TRAX has been developed specifically for IFS to achieve full integration with other solutions, vianative connectivity and APIs. Not only does TRAX solve the problem of manually dealing with business transactions, it also automates external messages or requests to and from IFS. For TPS, TRAX provided the required infrastructure for sharing data between Hanover Housing Association’s Capita system and IFS.
As well as installing TRAX, Cooper Software also utilised and configured IFS Connect, an integration brokerdesigned for XML and web services, which is used to facilitate integration of business logic with external processes,applications, and devices. In short, TRAX will monitor for files from the different client system(s) in their raw XML format and move the relevant files to IFS to process through the IFS Connect engine. Cooper Software also built an externally facing XML web service facade to receive data from the Capita system without the need for significant re-engineering by the client – this also resulted in XML files that TRAX would process thereby following the same IFSConnect procedure.
By utilising both TRAX and IFS Connect, when a tenant contacts Hanover Housing Association to report a repair, a job ticket can be raised in the source system. The relevant data for this is then shared electronically with TPS with an IFS work order raised automatically. When the work order is progressed through IFS, relevant updates are sent electronically to the source system allowing up to date information to be available to client staff and provided to their tenant as required.
In addition to developing the solution, Cooper Software also project managed the installation, co-ordination and development providing regular updates on progress and usage of resources.
Subsequently this solution was rolled out to provide integration with Trust Housing Association and Cunninghame Housing Association on the same Capita platform. In addition it was deployed for Bield Housing and Care who use a Civica solution. Graeme commented: “As the solution was already in place and the infrastructure created everything was there. We just needed to make it work for the new clients.” Luckily there was no need to create a new interface for each one. Graeme continued, “For two of our new customers, TRAX worked out of the box, for the other, all that was required was some re-configuration and re-mapping of fields in XML so that TRAX could receive all the data from each interface and then package it in to the correct format to be processed and managed within IFS.”
Benefits of the Solution
Saves time by reducing manual processes required to manage tenant repair requests.
Eliminates double keying of data.
Reduces the opportunity for error.
Maintenance requests are raised in real-time.
Client team kept informed and updated of repair job status.
Increases TPS’s ability to secure new business from other customers that require a similar IT interface.
Reduces cost to client of implementing an IT interface.
Quicker turnaround of IT interface solution.
About the Customer
Turner & Co (Glasgow) Ltd is a family owned group of companies with a turnover in excess of £148m and around 1,100 employees throughout the world. The group delivers a broad range of services including: vehicle rental solutions; equipment rental, sales and service: property, windfarm and aviation services. Turner Property Services Ltd (TPS) is the group’s property management division, delivering a range of services for social housing clients.