As businesses continue to embark on their digital transformation journey, to ensure data can be accurately and efficiently transferred between old and new systems, agile integration is crucial. However, this can be a complex process. It often requires specialist help from companies able to recommend the right technology that will remove siloes and replace legacy systems to bring data to the forefront of business-critical decisions. HulaTech is one such company – providing expert knowledge in integration and application development to organisations in the healthcare, retail, distribution, and credit and finance sectors.
We recently spoke to Paul Hula, Senior Integration Architect at HulaTech to find out how the business has helped organisations meet the challenges of digital transformation and the benefits of adding InterSystems technology to their IT ecosystem.
What does HulaTech provide customers?
We offer our customers integration services to ensure all their systems can talk seamlessly with each other without issues.
We are at the forefront of cutting-edge software development and have the business analysis and project management abilities to deliver very complex projects. Our default choice for this integration and development is InterSystems technology, based on almost 30 years of intimate experience with its platforms. The latest evolution of its products is the InterSystems IRIS data platform®, which we believe is one of the most advanced platforms available. InterSystems IRIS is engineered to provide the fastest way to build data-intensive, mission-critical applications.
Using InterSystems technology ensures our systems are quick to market. We can quickly deliver a proof-of-concept to prove to our customers the feasibility of the proposed solution, then rapidly reiterate through the design and test phases in an agile manner. In fact, we can sometimes deliver the fully-fledged system while others are still building their proof-of-concept.
Interesting developments with InterSystems technology
With InterSystems technology, we don’t have the overheads of having to add a separate database to the application as it has a highly integrated language with multi-model persistence. We match the persistence model to the application need, but can still use SQL for high-performance reporting. IRIS also provides a choice of popular industry-standard development languages and multi-cloud deployment options so we can fit to our customer’s chosen DevOps processes. We can choose to develop in a strongly typed manner or not, to balance the robustness of the application’s data model with its reiterative evolution if the customer redefines the project scope. This freedom enables us to do some really interesting developments while meeting our customers’ precise specifications.
Customer specifications can be vastly different, but all of them can be achieved using InterSystems IRIS. For example, finance organisations usually want consistent high-performance owing to the huge volumes of transactions they deal with on a daily basis. Whereas healthcare organisations may only deal with a few thousand transactions a day, but need bullet-proof, robust industry-standard interoperability. In short, InterSystems IRIS enables us to build intuitive, reliable, interoperable, and scalable applications. So, it’s straight-forward for us to integrate the modern applications we provide to their other systems.
The challenges of digital transformation
One of the most common challenges that arises during our clients’ digital transformation journeys is getting their disparate, often legacy systems to communicate with one another. Typically, our customers can have around 20 different systems, all of which may run different software, use different APIs, and are of different ages. This can make getting them to interoperate complex. Fortunately, InterSystems IRIS can facilitate this, acting as the hub through which we connect all of these systems. Its inbuilt process management with traceable messaging helps businesses track any issues that may arise when integrating.
Time and again, we’ve seen the vital role InterSystems technology can play in our customers’ digital transformation journeys. Most recently, one of our clients needed to extract 30 years’ worth of data, in varying formats, from a legacy system. Using the InterSystems platform we were able to quickly and easily develop an integration process that retrieved all the data from the old system. We were then able to transfer this data to wherever the client wanted it to reside, including to an API which made it a versatile and reusable solution. I’m confident that no other technology would have enabled us to do that to the level of complexity and within the timescales to which we adhered.
Changing requirements in light of the pandemic
With COVID-19 we saw a change in demand and requirements from our customers, especially in the healthcare sector, where real-time access to accurate data became even more crucial. For these organisations it became essential to see at a glance the result of their COVID-19 tests, and how many patients needed face-to-face consultations, hospital admission, or other care.
As a result, we developed a dashboard for users to easily and quickly access this information in real-time and act on it. Part of this involved plugging in InterSystems IRIS to Google Bootstrap (a feature-rich mobile-first user interface toolkit) to create visual representations of the data, as a graphical view is much easier to digest when time is of the essence.
Delivering value going forward with InterSystems IRIS
InterSystems is constantly developing IRIS, and we are eager to fully exploit its latest features. I think SQL slicing will be an extremely beneficial feature, as many of our clients need to run interactive queries on billions of rows of data. I also think there is a current lack of awareness in the market about how features like InterSystems IntegratedML could help increase AI adoption. At HulaTech, we will use it to extend the applications we develop to be smarter, using AI and ML for augmented transactions and insights.
We also personally benefit from working with such a supportive and technically competent team at InterSystems. These people won’t give up – if you have a problem or challenge, they’ll go out of their way to help you solve it. I’ve spoken with a lot of support people from various technology companies over the years and none of them match the level of support we get from InterSystems.