The AERA Management Committee would like to provide an update on the development project that is currently underway to deliver an inhouse system to support ride nominations. AERA, via its AERA Database Sub-committee (SC) commenced investigating the possibility of building the AERASpace Online Nomination System (ONS) some time ago. The SC investigated a number of commercial online nomination systems from the perspective of integrating to an already built system. After sitting through a number of demonstrations of these products and talking with representatives of the software development companies the SC weighed up a number of factors including:
- Amount of work required to develop the appropriate AERASpace infrastructure to support the two way flow of information via integration
- Risk associated with working with and being reliant on a third party development house
- Reduced level of control over what was happening with the external development
- Reduction in income opportunities
The SC also produced a cost analysis tool identifying the costs of development, likely financial returns to AERA and a number of pricing scenarios for transactions associated with the ONS. This was presented to the AERA Management Committee for a final decision on whether to build in house or to integrate with external products. The final decision was to go with a bespoke development built by our existing developer in conjunction with the SC.
The reasons for this decision include:
- Short time frame for return on investment
- Control over transactional costs with the full revenue coming back to AERA
- Building of a payment gateway offers a number of additional revenue generating opportunities that would not be possible if we followed the integration pathway
- Maintaining expertise in house through our own developer/support team
- Reduction in cost of development due to the SC being able to undertake all testing, documentation and training activities at no cost to AERA
- Retention of control over the product development of our database
Currently development is continuing on the database tables and structure that will support all the transactions and web based front end of the ONS. Refinement of the business rules continues in an agile environment allowing our developer to be constantly updating the coding. Regular meetings are held with the SC to discuss progress, provide guidance on any questions that arise and identification of business rules to be incorporated into the development. Initial design prototypes of the website for entry of nominations has been completed and will be updated as the project progresses.
The SC provides a regular update to the AERA Management Committee to provide clear communication on progress and whether there are any timeline constraints, which, to date, there has not been any.
Once the beta version of the ONS has been prepared and tested by the SC a focus group will be formed with representatives from each state being involved in further testing and user acceptance. A full documentation set is planned as is training to ensure Ride Organisers are fully supported when using the ONS once it has gone live.
For any further information on the ONS please contact Linda Tanian, Chair of the AERA Database SC.