The Ultimate Guide to Identifying Interfaces for Public Safety Software
DELTAWRX clients often ask us how we identify interfaces for a public safety technology procurement project. This question is important because interfaces:
Reduce duplicate data entry;
Increase the scope of available information; and
Streamline data searches
When we start a project, we gather information on the existing technology environment, interview end-users and technology support personnel, observe operations and assess business needs. During these tasks, we document existing interfaces, internal and external stand-alone databases and third-party applications and identify:
Must-have interfaces. Must-have interfaces are existing interfaces to third-party applications and databases that the client has and must have in the new environment. Examples include CAD to RMS and RMS to NCIC interfaces.
May not need interfaces. May not need interfaces are existing interfaces to third-party applications, third-party databases or internal stand-alone databases that the client may not need with the new application. The new application may provide functionality that is missing from the legacy application and instead is being provided by a third-party application. Examples are third-party mapping applications and third-party evidence management applications.
Potential interfaces. Potential interfaces do not exist in the current environment, but an interface to stand-alone applications and databases could reduce duplicate data entry or streamline searching for data. Examples include a separate portal for accessing NCIC from CAD and a third-party electronic citation application not currently interfaced to the RMS.
DELTAWRX uses discovery to specify interfaces for the new system. We specify existing interfaces that must be included in the new environment and any stand-alone applications for which an interface would potentially reduce data entry or streamline searching for data.
DELTAWRX also makes recommendations regarding existing interfaces that may or may not be needed in the new system. We are familiar with vendor products and can inform our clients whether functionality in third-party applications or databases are available in a software application. Some clients want to verify whether a vendor’s software application is as comprehensive as the third-party application. In those cases, we recommend specifying the interface and reviewing vendor solutions.
Our interface descriptions in RFPs focus on desired functionality and provide technical information to help the vendor propose a solution. We do not recommend specifying the technical solution. Different vendors have different approaches to exchanging data and it is in our clients’ best interests to allow the vendors to propose the optimal approach given their data structures, experience and programming platform.
DELTAWRX has broad and deep experience assisting local government and public safety agencies with planning for and replacing their core systems. To discuss how DELTAWRX can assist your agency with interface identification strategies or any other related public safety technology-related issues, please contact us at email@example.com.