Part 3: The Integration Engineer
An old friend and customer of mine once told me that the two most important tools in his job as an integration engineer were Iguana and his phone but not in that order.
The majority of his time was spent talking to his customers to determine the requirements needed to integrate his system at their site.
Off the shelf applications that instantly meet the unique needs of a given healthcare institution’s workflow are scarce at best. Interfacing can be accurately viewed as ramming a square peg into a round hole, complete with all the sweat and frustration.
My friend, as I’m sure many other integration engineers do, found himself at odds with the development and quality assurance teams in his company. They are often more formally process driven and simply don’t have the same customer facing perspective that is required of him.
Integration engineers have to be very focused on understanding the needs of their customers and be able to deal with problems as soon as they are discovered. As a result, their primary focus is the customer, not the integration tools.
Integration engineers don’t require tools that promise cookie-cutter solutions, but rather they need (and should demand) tools that give them complete visibility into the logic of the code. They need to be able to handle conditional business logic that frequently occurs in real-world integration scenarios.
Integration tools need to make it easy for engineers to:
- Change context often from site to site, client to client
- Find a place for unforeseen information, e.g. taking discrete microbiology results and formatting them into a textual report for a system that doesn’t have precise places to put that data
- Maintain data flow, get pager alerts, eliminate false alarms
- Resend messages when systems go down
- Pre-populate demographic data
- Filter unwanted messages using non-trivial business logic
Just like the integration engineer, my primary focus is the customer. This is the key to re-thinking integration. It begins with understanding the needs of the customer.
I’ve studied the integration projects of my customers. I understand that integration is full of challenges and what those challenges are. The upcoming release of Iguana 5.0 presents an innovative approach to managing the complex problems of real-world implementations.
I personally invite you to see it for yourself in action at HIMSS, where we will showcase this latest version at booth #3621.
Remember to subscribe to our blog as my next post will dive into the thought process behind the innovative changes of Iguana 5.0.
As always you can follow us on twitter (twitter.com/interfaceware) for updates.
President and CEO, iNTERFACEWARE™