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Partner focus: How Grapevine is delivering interoperability with InterSystems IRIS

Interoperability is more than just a buzzword – it’s an essential capability for any businesses looking to digitally transform.

However, getting systems to interoperate isn’t always straightforward, requiring intervention from specialists to develop custom software solutions, APIs, and interfaces to connect disparate systems. One organization leading the charge in this area is Grapevine, a company that specializes in providing IT solutions and services to customers across a wide range of industries, including healthcare, retail, public sector, finance, and communications.

As well as designing, developing, and delivering custom IT services and software solutions built on InterSystems technology, Grapevine also offers its own range of HR and retirement solutions to customers. For more than 20 years, Grapevine has helped high profile organisations across Ireland, including An Post, Dublin City Council, and St. James’s Hospital, by providing customised solutions for their administration departments.

With such critical institutions reliant on Grapevine’s integration and development services, we recently spoke to Terry Byrne, Managing Director at Grapevine to find out how the business has helped organisations achieve the levels of integration needed to get the most from their IT infrastructure and how InterSystems technology adds value to their offering. 

What does Grapevine provide customers?

We’ve been in operation for almost 25 years, providing clients with custom software solutions, integration solutions, and our own products, Defero, HAPPI, and ERA. We are an agile and reactive business, with more than 100 years of technology expertise, all of which has helped us develop great long-standing customer relationships.

We’ve worked with InterSystems technology since our very inception, so we have in-depth knowledge of its products and how to use them to derive the most value for our client. Now, using InterSystems IRIS data platform alongside Microsoft application development tools, we’re able to develop new data management applications to meet the bespoke requirements of our customers and provide them with much-needed integration capabilities.

Developing end-to-end solutions from a single source

The technology stack included in InterSystems IRIS provides us with all the tools we need to develop full end-to-end solutions for our clients. From a single piece of technology, we can provide database applications and interoperability, rather than needing to engage third parties. This significantly reduces complexity for our clients as everything they need to build their solutions is provided by one application and one vendor.

While we’ve worked with InterSystems technology for our entire history, that’s not due to complacency. Instead this is because InterSystems has continued to evolve its technology offerings to provide the latest capabilities and ensure we can continue to rely on it for all our development and integration needs. For example, the mirroring features that are included in InterSystems IRIS offers our clients highly available systems for a very competitive cost compared to other solutions on the market.

Together, the high availability, attractive cost, and development capabilities really make InterSystems IRIS stand out from other data platforms and means we can use it for the full spectrum of clients we work with.

Providing ongoing value to customers

To provide an example, one long-standing Grapevine client, Chadwicks Group, Ireland’s leading builders’ merchant, has been able to expand its use of InterSystems technology over the five years we have been in partnership. Chadwicks initially engaged us as a software development partner to assist them with development projects on their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system Accustar, a product built on InterSystems technology and implemented in over 100 stores across Ireland.

Since then, our knowledge and use of InterSystems technology means we now not only work on application development, but also on interoperability to ensure that Chadwicks can integrate all of the different systems used within the business.

As part of this we design, develop, and implement interfaces built on InterSystems technology, and provide support to maintain the systems. Over the last year, we have done a huge amount of integration work with Chadwicks to ensure that all of the new best-of-breed solutions they have been implementing as part of their digital transformation strategy can interoperate seamlessly. We have recently implemented a new accounts payable solution, a mill test reporting system, electronic proof of delivery solution, and product management systems, and created all of the interfaces to connect each of these with Chadwicks’ mission-critical central ERP application.

Previously, we’ve used InterSystems technology to also help Chadwicks to deploy a mobile application called Plumb Centre. This required us to build all the APIs needed to allow the application to pull data from a copy of Chadwicks’ retail database so users can look up parts and documentation. Further to this, we’ve built an Accustar document generator to allow the business to create PDFs, such as invoices, credit notes and documentation, to replace a legacy printing system.

By using InterSystems technology in these ways, we’ve not only enabled Chadwicks to streamline its processes internally, but also to improve its offering to customers who can now access capabilities they weren’t able to previously.

Shifting priorities

As some of our clients begin new digital strategies, we’re finding that priorities are shifting. Within healthcare, organisations are exploring new ways to engage with patients that minimise contact and increase patient self-service. For example, as social distancing remains in place, we’re seeing some healthcare organisations explore how they can extend their ‘waiting rooms’ into the car park and use automated text messages to communicate with patients.

Similarly, for clients across the board, automating the flow of data between systems is becoming even more critical. This is something InterSystems IRIS has proven to handle easily time and again, so, as we work with organisations achieve this, InterSystems technology will be essential.

Invaluable support from the WRC

With clients who run on legacy systems, it’s not uncommon for us to hit upon certain challenges when building new interoperable solutions. However, whenever this has happened, InterSystems has been on hand to provide the support and technology we need to overcome those issues.

The support we get from the InterSystems team is invaluable and we regularly call on InterSystems Worldwide Response Center for help, to the point that we’re now on first-name terms with many of the support team. On a local level, we work very closely with the regional team and have developed a strong relationship which we know we will continue to build on as InterSystems technology remains at the heart of our offering.


Terry Byrne

As the founder and principal partner of Grapevine, Terry has over 35 years of experience designing, developing and delivering IT solutions. As Grapevine’s CTO, Terry leverages a broad range of management, technology and business skills developed over many years working with blue-chip clients in Transport, Finance, Healthcare, Retail and Semi-State organisations. With a customer-centric ethos, Terry is devoted to developing new product ideas and creating innovative, custom software solutions that solve real-life problems.
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