November 25, 2014 by John Howard
There has been fantastic interest in the new features available as part of ITAS NG with the most popular proving to be:
Alerting – a powerful notification system enabling users to subscribe to alerts.
Trader Desktop – the new User Interface providing a modern look and feel as well as additional ways to quickly access commonly used menu items.
Enterprise Reporting Database – capturing changes to your data over time in a format that has been optimised for fast report delivery utilising the reporting tool of your choice.
Web Services – exposing read and write access to your data outside the boundaries of ITAS.
After ITAS NG was deployed, and our clients were able to get their hands on it, a new barrage of requests came through. Some, like User Filtered Alerts, User Groupings and Report Triggers were already on, or quickly added to, our to-do list. Others had been considered but were a lower priority due to their complexity.
A good example of a complex new feature would be User Specific Interfaces – an ITAS form showing only the fields relevant to a specific user or their role. While these are certainly feasible, and definitely on our list, any change would affect fundamental aspects of ITAS and would therefore be delivered at a later stage.
But then we began to imagine other ways in which User Specific Screens could be achieved.
One of the fundamental principles of the migration to Trader Desktop is the adoption of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) – modularising and separating the application’s logic into smaller, business-focussed sections. In other words, keeping things simple.
While this is necessary in order to deliver User Specific Interfaces, there may be another way to get to the value of User Specific Interfaces sooner rather than later.
First let’s consider the problem that User Specific Interfaces are proposing to resolve. Users of ITAS will know that while the application is highly powerful, it can be a little daunting at times due to the number of fields available. Users can be wary of making changes because they are not confident of effect those changes will make in other parts of the system.
The solution, of course, is to reduce the number of fields available to the user. Hence, User Specific Interfaces. Exposing just the necessary fields in new screen and publish it to just the intended audience. Simple. Or at least it is once the SOA ground work described above is complete.
Or so we thought because there may be yet another way.
We have already started to expose ITAS functionality via web services. Current components that are available are User Authorisation and Creation of F&O contracts. We are working on a look-up of Contract Values and Pnl, and have made good progress with Invoicing.
If additional Web Services which exposed the creation of contracts were to be created, it would be a simple step for a Client’s development team, or indeed Hivedome, to create a web site which could restrict fields to only those which were necessary for the team to fulfil their task, e.g. create a contract or authorise an invoice. There would be no need to worry about adding or changing data in the wrong location (those fields are just not visible), no need to worry about label names being misunderstood in translation (you can add whichever labels you wish), no need, in fact, to even be in the office (web forms can be made available on the internet). There is not even any need to open ITAS – with just the web address it is accessible from anywhere in the world via your laptop, tablet or even mobile phone. Imagine adding a new contract, via your ipad from a sugar cane plantation in Brazil, or confirming a coffee invoice via your phone in an airport lounge.
The real beauty of this approach is that this is not the future. This is now. We have the skills and technology to deliver this today.
But before we commit to further development, we would like to ensure that functionality such as this delivers value to our clients. So if you feel having the ability to enter contracts via a web form, out in the field is a feature that you would like to see, please either comment at the bottom of this news article or head over to the ITAS New Feature forum and cast your vote (registration not required) http://ow.ly/EoS14.You can also make requests for other features on the same forum.