IT Partner for tacs®
05.06.2020, Michael Gerber

Rodix has developed the tacs® method, which enables the structured collection and evaluation of management-relevant key figures of the recorded efforts of a company. It is used by over 120 companies, including large Swiss hospitals. Two web applications were available for administration and reporting. The user experience of both applications was a fair bit outdated. Also the performance was no longer satisfying.

Rodix wanted to tackle the future IT challenges with a new partner it found in nxt.

Reto Odermatt
«Thanks to nxt, my team has received an additional motivational boost to work on tacs®.»
Reto Odermatt – CEO Rodix Reto Odermatt GmbH

Situation

Rodix Reto Odermatt GmbH has big expansion plans for its core product tacs®. They could not be realized due to acute problems with the system at that time. The tacs® method relies on personnel, customers and performance data. Tacs®2 certified software collects such information and submits it daily or monthly to the tacs® system. The processing of this data was very slow and sometimes it did not run through at all. This led to a lot of extra work and frustration for both Rodix and its customers.

Prototype with nxt

After a change of its IT partner in the past, Rodix wanted to play it safe this time. They needed a reliable, competent IT partner who can help move tacs® forward in close collaboration.

One of the biggest weaknesses of the old system was the slow and unreliable import of the delivered data. The monthly export of a large customer with a little more than one million entries took up to 36 hours and blocked the import of data from other customers. For this reason, Rodix wanted nxt to develop a prototype for a new importer that would be more reliable and most importantly more efficient.

Within a month, nxt was able to prove with a prototype that the data could be processed quickly and correctly: The one million entries from the previously mentioned customer could be imported within approximately eleven minutes. At Rodix it was hard to believe that it was possible to process the data almost 200 times fast.

With this result, Rodix was convinced and confident to plan the next steps with nxt.

Cloud Architecture

Since tacs® is based on Microsoft technologies, nxt had suggested that tacs® should be run in Microsoft’s Azure Cloud from now on. It was important to the client that the data processing was done in Switzerland. Thanks to Azure Switzerland, nxt was able to operate all central application components in a Swiss datacenter. To keep costs as low as possible, nxt replaced some of the components with Azure Functions. These have the advantage that only the computing time in which data is actually processed is charged. For example, the already mentioned importer is now implemented as such an Azure Function. This means that only costs are charged for the minutes of computing time that it actually needs to process the customer data.

Currently, tacs® uses almost 40 Azure resources. These include several App Services for web applications, a virtual machine for the Data Warehouse(DWH) and two databases.

New Development

Now that the migration has been successfully completed, the focus is on modernizing the existing applications. The already mentioned old administration for customers will be completely replaced by a new State of the Art web application. The new application will be developed with .NET Core in the backend and Angular in the frontend. Some functions have already been replaced, others will follow in the coming months.

Screenshot of the tacs® Dashboard showing a table with executed jobs.

The aim of the new administration is to make essential functions easier and more intuitive to use, so that training or extensive documentation is no longer necessary. So far, we have succeeded in doing this well. However, new challenges are in front of us with in the form of additional functionalities that will be more complex to implement.

Challenges

The project has brought several challenges with it. The first hurdle was the programming language C# and the .NET Core Framework, which nxt first had to get familiar with. Luckily, the great experience in implementing web applications with Java, which is conceptually very similar, helped here. And after a short time we even discovered features of the C# language that we had been missing in Java for a long time.

Conclusion

The tacs® project was a great opportunity for nxt to show what we are capable of. We took an existing application that was getting on in years and made it fit for the cloud. Some parts of it have since been redeveloped to improve the user experience. Importing customer data is now much faster. Also the costs for hosting have become less. And at the same time a new and modern web application is being created.

We would like to thank Rodix for the trust they have placed in us and look forward to an exciting future!