Theta’s Microsoft BizTalk Server expertise made for a seamless integration between our new mobile workforce management system and our existing suite of business systems. Theta’s grasp of Visionstream’s business processes and requirements enabled them to provide us with sound technical advice and guidance throughout the project; ultimately delivering a robust and scalable Enterprise Service Bus solution.
The BizTalk solution now serves Visionstream as the standard ESB platform for further systems integration and automation going forward.
Johann Lazarus, IT Systems Manager, VisionStream
Matching technicians to jobs – made easier
Visionstream is contracted to build and maintain copper and fibre networks in Auckland and Northland. Incoming jobs include repairing faults and provisioning new connections, and these need to be allocated to Visionstream’s mobile workforce. Previously this process had been labour-intensive, involved several manual steps and used up valuable technician time in administrative processes.
As part of its programme of business innovation, Visionstream had selected a new cloud-based mobile workforce management system, ETAdirect, to streamline job allocation. This system provides rules-based, automatic assignment of appointments to technicians based on skills, location, availability, time commitments and other weighted factors. ETAdirect also allows technicians to receive and report on jobs via a mobile interface, replacing a time-consuming remote access process.
But to realise the benefits of ETAdirect, this new system needed to be able to talk to Visionstream’s existing job management system.
Visionstream called on Theta’s expert BizTalk team to create an integration platform that would enable this communication - without requiring a complete rebuild of the core work management system.
The solution: Microsoft BizTalk Server stitches new and existing systems together
Jobs – such as fault repairs and new connections – arrive from Visionstream’s customers into VisCore, Visionstream’s own job management system.
The new BizTalk application picks up data from VisCore, transforms it into the format required by ETAdirect, and sends it there over HTTP.
BizTalk works in both directions. It also listens for messages back from ETAdirect - status updates like when a technician starts a job, completes a job, or marks a job as ‘not able to be done’ – and saves them into VisCore.
Some jobs – for example the installation of a new phone line – need to be signed off with customers on completion using their interactive voice response (IVR) system. Previously, technicians had to make a phone call and go through the prompt system to do this. Now, they just have to push a ‘complete’ button on their ETAdirect app. BizTalk transmits that information to the customer, who then sends the relevant message to their IVR system. Similarly, BizTalk allows ETAdirect to send SMS messages to technicians, again using Visionstream’s telephone integration customers for ‘real world’ telephone network integration.
BizTalk also picks up information about technicians (for example their skills or location) from another Visionstream system, VisRes, and sends this to ETAdirect –ensuring that the best technician for a job is sent.
With BizTalk Visionstream can continue to use, and get more out of, software they have already invested in. It provides the connections and translations that make all the components of different systems work seamlessly together.
Rapid deployment, rapid return on investment
BizTalk integration has made it possible for Visionstream to realise the benefits of a new mobile workforce management system – quickly. Instead of embarking on the time consuming and costly process of building a new system from scratch, they were able to connect new and existing elements using the stable, scalable BizTalk platform. Even better, the use of three components from Theta’s BizTalk library – ready-made modules that cover common scenarios and extend BizTalk Server – delivered further cost and time savings.
The whole project was delivered in fifteen months, and is already enabling improved levels of service and an increased ability to respond to fluctuating workload.
- Seamless integration between new and existing systems
- Integration enabled fast and cost-effective deployment of new mobile workforce management system
- Maximised value of existing software investments through integration
- New system delivers improved responsiveness and levels of service
- A future-proof platform for further integration and automation projects
- Microsoft BizTalk Server
- Microsoft SQL Server