Inserting data into a ‘hostile’ vendor application
There are many times the business requirement arises where you want to insert data into a third party application database directly without the co-operation of the vendor.
Typical scenarios this may occur are:
- You are a vendor selling a replacement system, your customer still have this system from a competitor which they are forced to use for a time.
- It might be an end of lifed system which is no longer supported – perhaps the vendor is no longer in business.
For these types of scenarios it’s not a bad strategy to consider actually mapping data directly into the database of such a system. The database schema is static and so it often easier to feed data directly into the database rather than attempting to use a poorly documented ‘official’ HL7 or other type of interface.
It’s going to depend on the application in question. So the million dollar question – how difficult is this and what’s a good strategy to do it?
What we recommend is:
- Get the application in a virtualized image like a VMware image.
- Use tricks the one for quickly surveying a database.
- This means you can use a process of trial and error with inserting data into the system in the convenience of your work environment and easily roll back any mistakes.
- When it comes to production deployment it makes sense to set up a test system and clearly the define the user acceptance criteria for the integration.
The amount of effort required will be directly proportional to:
- How much data you attempt to push into the system.
- The quality of the data model – if it’s a poorly organized datamodel with a lot of complexity and duplication of data then it will make the integration work harder.
- How skilled the person programming is at navigating and comprehending the database of the app.
Using the Iguana Translator makes this work a lot more rapid since you can iteratively and quickly verify the integration but unavoidably there will be a considerable amount of analysis required of the application you are feeding into.