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ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL By Randy Engle XC2 Software, LLC Has the time come? What do I need to do to make it happen?

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Presentation on theme: "ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL By Randy Engle XC2 Software, LLC Has the time come? What do I need to do to make it happen?"— Presentation transcript:

1 ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL By Randy Engle XC2 Software, LLC Has the time come? What do I need to do to make it happen? What are the challenges?

2 ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL What exactly is it? (& what it isnt) 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 dont 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, were bad. We have electronic test submittal

12 ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL What do I need to do to get it? 1.Decide that this is what you truly want to do 2.Build your own, buy a package or subscribe to a service. 3.Thats 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 1.Explore the options available 2.Talk with other organizations, find out what they had to go through to implement electronic submittal 3.Choose 1 or 2 options that you think will work best for you. Steps to Take

15 ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL 4.Discuss with the powers that be what they are willing to back you on. These powers might include: a. Your IT department b. Upper management c. City council Steps to Take

16 ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL 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. Options

17 ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL 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 dont want to submit via the web. Challenges/Advantages

18 ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL 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? Challenges/Advantages

19 ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL 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? Challenges/Advantages

20 ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL 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. Challenges/Advantages

21 ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL 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. Challenges/Advantages Subscribing to a Service - Items to Consider

22 ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL 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. Challenges/Advantages Subscribing to a Service - Items to Consider

23 ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL You have complete control of all of your information. You can make changes in the system without having to go through a 3 rd party. Challenges/Advantages Using an in-house system, i.e. your organization hosts the web server

24 ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL 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 Challenges/Advantages Using an in-house system, i.e. your organization hosts the web server

25 ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL Your IT staff needs to be completely on board for this. Some will like it, some will not. Challenges/Advantages Using an in-house system, i.e. your organization hosts the web server

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

27 ELECTRONIC BACKFLOW TEST SUBMITTAL Tester Considerations I am a backflow tester, what if I dont 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 customers 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 Randy Engle XC2 Software, LLC Questions? This Powerpoint is available at:


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