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Electronic Backflow Test Submittal

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Presentation on theme: "Electronic Backflow Test Submittal"— Presentation transcript:

1 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Has the time come? What do I need to do to make it happen? What are the challenges? By Randy Engle XC2 Software, LLC

2 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
What exactly is it? (& what it isn’t) Has the time come? What do I need to do to get it? What is it going to cost me? What are the options available? I am a backflow tester, what if I don’t want to do it that way?

3 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
What is it? The ability to successfully submit specific and accurate backflow test results data via the Internet to water purveyors, or their agents, using a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device/smartphone. This includes validation of these results prior to acceptance and confirmation of receipt of these reports.

4 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
What it is not? Sending a “scanned” image of your test report via Sending a printed PDF of your test report via Unless: You are entering test results onto a “fillable” form that is specifically configured to send the “data” to a repository, e.g. spreadsheet that can then be imported into a larger system. More on this later….

5 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Has the time come? 15+ years ago, most organizations required submittal of original test reports with a “wet ink” signature. They would then store these reports in physical files for 3-5 years or more.

6 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Has the time come? After awhile, it became OK to submit the test report via FAX for many organizations (But they still stored them in physical files)

7 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Has the time come? Then after a little while longer a lot of purveyors said it was OK to submit the test reports as a PDF file or scanned image. (This, by the way, was the “first” electronic test submittal, though someone still had to enter the data)

8 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Has the time come? Now, the world wide web has gone totally viral, and you can buy, sell, pay, submit, communicate, transfer or publish almost anything if you have a proper log-in, password and “agree” to the terms of whatever service you are using.

9 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Has the time come? A significant number of water purveyors have made the leap to the web and have decided to allow or require testing contractors to enter their own test results.

10 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Has the time come? In our business, almost every single existing customer and potential customer that contacts us wants to have this capability. Many are not “ready” for it yet, but they all say they want it. This is a significant change in mindset in the last 1-2 years

11 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Rewards Time between test completion and recording in your system is dramatically reduced. More accurate and timely determination of who is due or past due for testing. Reduces paper to handle, manage and store Reduces time to enter test results, ie. reduced cost or time to do other tasks. If outsourced, reduced hardware/software to maintain The “cool” factor: “Oh yeah, we’re bad. We have electronic test submittal”

12 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
What do I need to do to get it? Decide that this is what you truly want to do Build your own, buy a package or subscribe to a service. That’s it! Done! Go ye forth and prosper!

13 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Yeah, right…. Well, maybe there might just be 1 or 2 bumps or small challenges that you need to deal with.

14 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Steps to Take Explore the options available Talk with other organizations, find out what they had to go through to implement electronic submittal Choose 1 or 2 options that you think will work best for you.

15 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Steps to Take 4. Discuss with the “powers that be” what they are willing to back you on. These powers might include: Your IT department Upper management City council

16 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Options Build your own – Have a web entry system custom developed by you own in-house programmers or hire a developer Purchase a pre-built web submittal package (it might be an add on to your existing software) Subscribe to a service where they do all the work Subscribe to a service where they provide the web interface, but you do the work.

17 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Challenges/Advantages Enlist the testing contractors to use the new system Find one or two contractors who are ready, willing and able to help you smooth out the bumps. Have them try it out first. You may need to provide some training for contractors Decide if you are going to Require all submittals via the web Deal with the fallout from some testing contractors who give you grief because they don’t want to submit via the web.

18 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Challenges/Advantages Are you going to charge testers for submitting reports, or is the service that you subscribe to going to charge testers? Be prepared to meet a little initial resistance if this is the case What kind of time will you need to deal with questions and problems coming from testers, or you might be able to have the service that you subscribe to provide this level of support. Is the service capable to handling everything that comes up?

19 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Challenges/Advantages Are you going to have to “verify” the incoming results before final acceptance? Remember that some individuals doing the submittals are going to be more adept at this than others. What kind of validations are you going to require for testers: e.g. A. Does an individual tester need to be certified/licensed to work on a specific type/use of a backflow preventer, e.g. a Fire System, Irrig. System? B. Are these validations going to be in place at the time of submittal, or are you going to review them afterwards?

20 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Challenges/Advantages Do you think you are going to require individual testers to be the ones to actually submit their own test reports? If so, remember that this is basically unenforceable. As stated earlier, with a Log-In and Password, you can do just about anything.

21 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Challenges/Advantages Subscribing to a Service - Items to Consider If you subscribe to a service that also sends out notices for you, you will need to come up with a way to regularly provide them with changes in your customer names and addresses.

22 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Challenges/Advantages Subscribing to a Service - Items to Consider You will need to give up a significant amount of control of your data and the way that you are running your program. You need to measure this against the hours that you might save having someone else do it.

23 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Challenges/Advantages Using an in-house system, i.e. your organization “hosts” the web server You have complete control of all of your information. You can make changes in the system without having to go through a 3rd party.

24 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Challenges/Advantages Using an in-house system, i.e. your organization “hosts” the web server Someone with a thorough understanding of your program, and with a reasonable degree of computer/database savvy will need to be actively involved in the success of this implementation

25 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Challenges/Advantages Using an in-house system, i.e. your organization “hosts” the web server Your IT staff needs to be completely on board for this. Some will like it, some will not.

26 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Decisions In House (Self Hosted) vs Subscribing to a service (out-sourced) It really comes down a basic premise: Less Work for You vs. Control of your Program

27 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Tester Considerations I am a backflow tester, what if I don’t want to do submit my test results via the web? You are welcome to kick, scream, swear or throw a temper tantrum, but in the end whatever the purveyor decides is what you will need to do…. Or not.

28 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Tester Considerations There may actually be some benefit for you (Testers)! e.g. Ability to review your past test history You and your customers receive immediate confirmation that a test was submitted.

29 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Implementation & Submittal Considerations You will need to decide how you want to handle security of the information in your system. e.g. How will the tester submitting the test be able to lookup the backflow assembly they are submitting the test for?

30 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Implementation & Submittal Considerations Use a “Web Access Code: e.g. “QWER-9876” (Unique to the customer’s site. Or will you allow lookup by other, serial number, address, customer name, etc?

31 What might web entry look like to the tester?
You need to have a secure log-in for each testing contractor company.

32 Maybe Require a “Security Code” for Looking up Test Results to Input

33 Have something that looks somewhat familiar to enter results

34 “Smartphone View will need to be more creative, as the available screen real estate is dramatically reduced.

35 Send some time of confirmation to the customer and the testing contract or assure them that the test was submitted successfully (or not)

36 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Summary Decide if this is valuable for you Explore available options (Get References!) Get the backing you need, IT Dept., Upper Management, etc Notify the Testing Contractors that this is what you are going to do. Have a meeting/training with them. Document what your security considerations are. Do some testing to see what issues might arise

37 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Lastly Be cautious of anyone that tells you that implementation of a web system (or service) will go without a hitch, be completely smooth with no problems.

38 Electronic Backflow Test Submittal
Questions? This Powerpoint is available at: Randy Engle XC2 Software, LLC


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