Our Approach to Software Interfaces
12 April, 2021
Head of product
‘With which systems do you interface?’ might be one of the most asked questions whenever IT executives enter software evaluation discussions. When IT executives ask the question ‘with which systems do you interface’, what they’re really asking is: ‘how will you make sure the interface is set up in a couple of days instead of a couple of months?’
To already answer the main question, BINOCS seamlessly interfaces with these software, including in-house tools:
Where is this fear of interfaces coming from?
Interfacing requires two systems to understand each other. The typical interface approach uses code & programming to transform data from the sending system, so the receiving system understands.
This is a rigid approach as it requires a clear contract and requirements upfront, making it challenging to make changes after the fact. The coding requires quite some time of scarce internal IT resources. Not only to write the initial interface but also to cope with the inevitable changes afterwards.
So ‘with which systems do you interface’ is a very relevant question.
So, in theory, a standard interface would solve this
In a lab context, there are dozens of different LIMS, ELN, LES, … systems, each unique in how and what kind of data they capture. Offering a standard interface with each and every (lab management) system out there would, in theory, solve the issue of long and painful interface setups.
However, labs differ in their ways of working. Even if they are using the same lab management systems, the setup is customized to reflect that reality. Consequently, even if two interfaces with the same LIMS system need to be setup, the ‘standard’ interface needs to be adapted to how each LIMS system X is set up/configured.
Standard is not really standard if you need to tweak it to make sure it works with a specific configuration/setup. To summarize: in theory, a standard interface sounds great, but in a context where custom configurations are common, standard interfaces are not at all a guarantee you can set up the interface in a couple of days instead of a couple of months.
BINOCS approaches it differently
BINOCS is integrated with a couple of dozen different systems as we speak, and of every system, at least as many customized versions. To name a few: BINOCS seamlessly interfaces with Labware, AS400, Polar, Excel, Liquent Insight, Veeva Vault, MS project, Labvantage, StarLims, Tableau, PowerBI, SAP QM, SAP PP, ProTime, QLims, Assist, in-house tools, …
We’ve managed to set up these interfaces in a matter of days, instead of weeks or months. Not because we’ve built standard interfaces with all these systems, but because we’ve taken a radically different route called zero-code interfacing.
Zero-code interfacing means that data doesn’t have to be ‘ready’ before sending it to BINOCS. Interfaces upload data in whatever format it’s available to BINOCS. No coded transformation and logic are needed. Instead, the transformation logic is configured directly in BINOCS, using business rules (= rules that are understandable & configurable by business users). That’s why BINOCS can connect to ‘any’ system with relevant data and why we can set up an interface in days instead of months.
Moreover, as the transformation logic is configured for and by the business users, it’s easy to adapt, fine-tune and scale.
Stay tuned for our next blog on zero-code interfacing, where we deep-dive in how it works, or get in touch if you can’t wait to see more!
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