Feature Article
Integration Services at ASA

A common problem that faces interconnected businesses and organizations is the lack of integration. What that means is, though Agency A has the data that Agency B needs, it is in a form that the system at Agency B cannot understand. Neither Agency A, nor Agency B has the spare technical resources to transform the data. This often leads to labor-intensive data entry work or trial and error data submissions at each data submittal period. That is where Integration Services come in. An integrator can design and put in place the processes needed to transform the data into something usable by both agencies.

Integration Services typically involve working with several parts. One part is a database, which is typically housed on a database server. The database for an integration service may store the data (before and/or after it is transformed), or it may simply store the transformations to be performed on the data. The database provides a way of storing data so that it can be accessed and updated easily and securely. A database also provides a pre-canned solution for all the nitty-gritty details of storing data (sorting efficiency, memory conservation, etc.).

Application Development (or programming) is a standard component of Integration Services as well. The application piece is a computer-language representation of the customer's requirements for transforming the data. The application piece is typically housed on an application server as a web service or other network service. Since this application is typically custom-written, nearly any requirement that can be defined logically can also be represented programmatically in an application.

Another important piece of the puzzle is ongoing support and maintenance. All complex systems require maintenance, and an Integration Service is no different. Whether it is server upgrades, security patches, application updates to support new and unexpected needs, or measuring application performance, maintenance is a part of the services offering.

ASA is proud to offer Integration Services to its clients in Alabama. This is one of the many services that ASA provides and one of the many ways in which we strive to meet the State of Alabama's need for technical resources.