InfoEd’s ENABLE Exposes eRA Flexibility

InfoEd Global has been at the forefront of research administration software for over twenty years. Our software and services have evolved and grown many times and it serves as the largest and most widely implemented eRA solution in the world.

Our user community’s consensus is that the previously deployed iteration captures the data elements and provides the functions required to support nearly any proposed business process, and displays a wealth of knowledge regarding industry standards, regulations, and requirements. That consensus also includes the agreement that customizability and interoperability are areas that are an opportunity for improvement.

Our ENABLE architecture alters the mechanism by which the user interface and external systems interact with the underlying business rules, client configurations, and data while retaining the very same off-the-shelf capabilities that allow the system to be deployed with limited required effort.

Limited resources dictate that a system can be installed with limited staff required for initial deployment and maintenance. Commonly, there exists a desire to be able to add or alter elements in order to support niche needs. Many vendors have provided this flexibility in the form of solutions that require a cadre of technical and business analysts be employed by implementing institutions. This dramatically increases the total cost of ownership and time required for production deployment.

Our ENABLE architecture is intended to deliver the customization and interoperability capabilities of other open systems while further reducing the ownership costs. This is accomplished by delivering a highly functional off-the-shelf solution that is carefully crafted through an iterative development cycle that includes the participation of internal business experts and user community involvement. When the business case requires manipulation of our standard screens and data transactions, customization can be accomplished by either altering the existing screens, or by interfacing an external system with ENABLE web services. This path provides a more easily maintained system, in some cases representing a TCO that is 10% – 30% lower than direct competitors. Perhaps more importantly, this leads to reduced time demands on a client’s subject matter experts.

In a large part, this is accomplished by our utilization REST based web services that provide an XML output and employing XSLT style sheets. However, that merely represents our standard delivered system, which can be enhanced or altered by utilizing the integrated style sheet editing and selection configurations. This allows an institution to modify our delivered screens, always with the capability to revert back to the system’s standard logic, and requires no construction of external systems.

However, because of our employment of widely accepted and already deployed technologies, the system can be accessed by nearly any other technology platform. Both our development team and deploying institutions can build mobile phone applications, embed their InfoEd-based data in other web-based mash-ups, or utilize basic HTML pages and JavaScript to construct fully customized approaches. Additionally, ENABLE includes an additional layer of abstraction to allow more user-friendly interaction with the REST endpoints. Standard web service URIs can be utilized, or ENABLE’s dot notation based queries can be used to take advantage of integrated business logic to reduce the potential complexity of implementations.

This approach provides a great deal of benefit to many types of users at many types of institutions. ENABLE is architected to deliver value to institutions of all shapes and sizes. An upgrade to this platform for our existing clients will allow continued utilization of previous configurations while exposing new capabilities for system interaction. ENABLE is intended to allow degrees of flexibility that directly correlate with the resources and skill sets that the implementing institution is willing and able to commit.

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