Software Integration

Until recently, electric power cooperatives and the vendors that supplied them faced a headache every time a new piece of software emerged. The utilities could choose from a variety of applications, such as global information system (GIS), engineering analysis, and customer information system packages, that were sold by a range of companies. Integrating these systems, however, required building new interfaces that cost time and money to develop and deploy.

To address this problem the Cooperative Research Network of the National Rural Electric Cooperative collaborated with 40 software vendors to create the Multispeak Initiative, an XML-based specification for developing interfaces within the industry. As part of that effort, the developers of the initiative hired Merrill-Hall. Our experts in XML outlined the benefits as well as the pitfalls of moving from DTD to XML Schema, explaining how the specification could be more flexible and offer better reuse to the cooperatives as well as their vendors. With these details in place, the initiative promises to lower costs and decrease the complexity of creating and integrating software applications throughout the industry.

With Merrill-Hall's help, PDA was the first software vendor to become fully Multispeak compliant.