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Network Computing Product Review

The Monitor Transaction Management System from Monitor IT

Proliferation of specialist IT solutions continues unabated with data, transaction monitoring and recording at its heart. Often, isolated solutions with remarkably similar capability are deployed in the name of specialisation, duplicating data, increasing management overhead and stretching IT resources.

Supporting this flawed logic for standalone solutions is a mixture of stakeholder requirements. A good example exists in Higher Education. For example in Colleges students need to pay, ideally without cash, for a range of services including printing, library services, food, accommodation and laundry. This service can be complicated and unusable if a joined-up intelligent approach to access and payment is not established. Uniting operational silos helps students, College staff and visitors (customers) including booking resources such as meeting rooms.

Monitor IT has thought hard about this not uncommon challenge and created a system with enough flexibility to address most transaction centred requirements. Monitor IT centres on a transactional accounting database, the SQL based Supervisor Net database.

Reviewing this solution revealed immediately that a lot of thought had gone into design, embracing a modern approach to transactions too often taken for granted. Application access is structured to the needs of diverse users: for example, a well presented Windows interface and a super simple user web portal, called My Monitor. Here users can examine their account balance and transaction history: ideal for students managing a budget, or employees accessing a range of resources. It’s not one-size fits all. A kiosk-based access system called Express can be used for Guest access.

A user account can contain multiple balances and if permitted, the user can transfer funds to manage credit. The flexibility is awesome but simplified at configuration with defaults ensuring that this flexibility doesn’t create configuration burden.

Transactional data is at the heart of this system and this core strength is augmented by an impressive range of user access points. For example, the same user with a single card could purchase lunch by swiping their card, coffee with contactless payment and online pre-payment for printing services. Biometric (fingerprint) authorisation is also possible and a Mobile App offers QR code support. It’s flexible and extensible. Even the traditional retail environment is accommodated with an iPOS Point of Sale Windows based touchscreen terminal, complemented by the Monitor Online ordering module.

For this review we are sticking with the College deployment model because it’s a familiar, easy to understand environment. But we noticed how easy it would be to adapt this deployment model, in part or entirely, to a wide range of applications using either full or progressive deployment of the Monitor Software Suite.

If integrating operational activity is beneficial, then the ability to work with pre-existing and external data is vital; Monitor IT has this covered. It can integrate with Active Directory LDAP, LMS SIP 2 and any other system using a SOAP interface. Monitor Insight Reporting does what it says delivering a range of defined reports but any data can be easily extracted.

IT administration is well provisioned with an administration and management portal into the Supervisor Net database. Here, routine tasks including the reverse of transactions, PIN re-set, account lock or unlock, and user creation take place.

The highly modular Monitor Transaction Management System has a broad and impressive reach. Its scope is only limited by imagination and this, combined with the alternative of isolated point solutions offers a new and exciting platform for organisations of all types to improve the way they deliver, measure and manage, internal and external services. The intelligent way in which Monitor IT handles data means that the old silos can be dismantled, but that their reasons for their existence (control and accountability) can be professionally and accountably accommodated.

Article courtesy of Network Computing Magazine Jan/Feb 2015

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