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FAQs About the Architecture & Technology Behind DataPipe

This is a list of common questions we receive on a daily bases from prospective customers as well as formal requests for proposal.  If you don't see your question answered in this section, please call our office or ask a question directly online.


Click to expand each question.

What do I need to run DataPipe in-house?
Please see our technical specs.
Can DataPipe be run at an Application Service Provider (ASP)?
Yes it can.  If you do not have an IT department or if you do not have resources to run on your internal network, a low cost solution would be to host the application at a secure application service provider.  This is common and safe.  Here is more information on cost and implementation of an Application Service Provider.
How are issues and schedule changes tracked, communicated, and resolved?
Generally by e-mail or telephone.
How is knowledge transfer from DataPipe USA Inc to the client managed and implemented?
Training and documentation, including on-line help files. On site consulting/mentoring, to the degree you want it.
Describe the tools and expertise available for integrating your system with existing HRMS and financial systems
We have the ability to directly access, in both a read and write mode, other databases. Having said this, it has also been our experience in the many years we have been doing this the “owners” of these other systems are often very reluctant to permit this type of access. They invariably want to provide periodic “extracts” of their information in some file format so that DataPipe can process this information using one of its tools. Likewise, if information from DataPipe is to go into these other systems, they often want to have the data supplied in some standardized file format so that they can import the data. We work with the customer to resolve these technical and managerial problems in a manner that suits everybody. In the end, DataPipe has the ability to run processes, typically on some sort of schedule, to facilitate the exchange of information between systems. Whether this is done every ten seconds or every thirty days is a matter of how the process is set up.
Is information regarding outstanding problems, fixes, modifications, and improvements available to customers and publicized on a regular basis?
All problem resolutions, fixes, updates, etc. are provided to all customers of a particular module as long as they are under a current support contract.
Describe your product’s major release and revision schedule. Describe how releases and revisions are distributed. In addition, what are the tools and services provided with releases and revisions (e.g., functional descriptions, installations instructions, and the form of assistance provided, if any)
There is no fixed “major release and revision schedule.” DataPipe updates typically come out once or twice a year. If a problem develops and a patch is needed, that is typically sent out at the time to everyone needing it, not held until and update comes out. Of course, instructions regarding how to install the patch, updates, etc. are provided; sometimes installation scripts are included, as appropriate.
Describe your procedure for identifying and fixing bugs
When a “bug” is pointed out or a question asked about a problem, we test it to determine if there is a problem and, if there is, what can be done to fix it. We develop a patch, test it, then install the patch on each customer’s system for which the patch is relevant; in this case on copies of the customers’ systems that we maintain on our site. Only when a patch or update has been successfully installed on the copy of the customer’s system that we maintain is it sent out to the actual customer.
Describe the extent to which your system’s user interface and features can be customized/configured while allowing for software upgrades under your normal upgrade process.
The Form Designer Tool we provide allows significant modifications to forms without modification of source code. Therefore, all of these changes should survive the updates we release. If the customer adds a new database tables to the DataPipe database, these should remain unaffected. DataPipe is not sold with the source code.
Describe your development methodology.
See our reprint article regarding our development methodology from .NET Magazine. This will be provided upon request.
What are the minimum system requirements needed to run DataPipe
DataPipe is designed as a multi-tier application. While each tier can be run on a separate computer, you can in fact run DataPipe on one computer. We install all of DataPipe on our company laptops for demo purposes for example In a nutshell, DataPipe requires Windows 98 or later on the client. The middle tier needs to be running Internet Information Server (IIS) 5.0 or later. The data tier supports Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle or IBM DB2. For more detailed information, refer to the following: The backend tier, often referred to as the data tier, requires a database server. Following is a list of currently support databases: • SQL Server (certified for SQL Server 2000 on Windows 2000 Server), or • Oracle (certified for Oracle on Windows 2000 Server), or • IBM DB2 (certified for DB2/NT 7.2.4 on Windows 2000 Server) The middle tier, sometimes called the application tier, is a web server that needs the following at a minimum: • Windows (one of the following): o Windows 2000 Professional with Service Pack 2.0 o Windows 2000 Server with Service Pack 2.0 o Windows 2000 Advanced Server with Service Pack 2.0 o Windows XP Professional o Windows Server 2003 • .NET Framework • Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 2.7 • Vendor specific OleDB drivers, depending on the DBMS (if needed) • Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) 5.0 or later on Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003 • Access to DBMS through OleDB or Managed Provider • The DataPipe User Manager (a Windows Service) will need to be installed on this or another server. TCP/IP will be needed to communicate between the web server(s) and the User Manager. • HTTP-DAV if using the Auto-Updater deployment model The client tier, referred to as the front end, requires the following: • Windows (one of the following): o Windows 98 o Windows 98 SE o Windows ME o Windows NT Workstation or Server (SP6a or later) o Windows 2000 (Professional, Server, Advanced Server) o Windows XP (Home, Professional) o Windows Server 2003 • .NET Framework • IE 5.01 (or IE 5.5, depending on the deployment model) • Windows Installer 2.0 or later
Describe your system architecture. Include a diagram indicating each component’s location with respect to a corporate firewall.
See our reprint article regarding our system architecture from .NET Magazine. This will be provided upon request.
Describe the manner in which external systems are integrated with your application (i.e., are there pre-defined interfaces or do third-party systems write directly to tables)?
As previously described, while we have the technical capability to read from and write to other application tables if the database administrator allows this, they typically do not. As a practical matter, the other applications usually send DataPipe files in some agreed-upon format, and DataPipe sends those application files, again in an agreed-upon format as necessary. How often this is to happen, what data elements are exchanged, etc. is something that varies by customer.
How can data objects (e.g., Microsoft products, user profiles, competencies) be imported into your application?
Depending upon the database you choose, all have the ability to import (and export) data. We can also programmatically exchange information with e-mail systems, Microsoft Office applications (OLE) and other APIs. The DataPipe database architecture is open; as long as another application has the necessary security permissions you are free to read from and write directly into the DataPipe database.
Does your product support centralized database architecture?
Yes. The three major databases we support are Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and IBM’s DB2.
What support does your system provide for the management and submission of OSHA logs (electronic)?
Injury & Illness Module tracks records, whether or not they are “reportable.” A series of OSHA reports, including the 300 log, are included. • 300 – On going log • 300a – Supplemental EOY log • 301 – Individual injury event
What support does your system provide for the management and submission of related state forms, e.g., employers first report of injury and doctor’s first report?
Of course, other forms need to be defined; these are typically done using Word or Excel forms for output to provide the “fancy” appearance on these forms. This is something that the customer can do, a third-party can do or we can do. It is often a case of taking an existing form and configuring it for a particular fields the customer wants to include on the form, how fields in the database are to be calculated and combined, etc. and have them put on the form..
What support does your system provide in support of workers compensation requirements?
DataPipe has an available Workers Compensation Module. • 101 report – match report for medical.
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