OCPPP (the Organisation of Chartered Physiotherapists in
Private Practice) provide a range of benefits for their members
who are all Chartered Physiotherapists. They had an existing
membership system based on Access which had severe limitations,
partly due to its design and partly due to the evolution of the
business. Also, because the underlying database had been
accessible to members of staff who had been able to create their
own tables, queries and reports, its stability was a becoming a
SUMMIT had already developed their new web site which
provides some on-line member benefits and which had a rudimentary
level of integration with the membership system. However, updates
to member details to and from the web site involved a significant
level of manual interaction.
OCPPP wanted a new membership system which would be built to
'industry standards', would provide a much higher level of
automation for routine administration tasks and would implement a
seamless but manageable integration with the web site.
The project was planned out in two major phases.
In the first phase, the business needs were analysed and
documented. This involved meetings and discussions with the
management team at the OCPPP offices followed by a Business
Requirements document which described WHAT the business needed the
new system to do. This document was then reviewed by the OCPPP
managers and their feedback incorporated. This document then
formed the basis for the development of the new system.
Development occurred in the second phase where the business
needs were translated into software which incorporated the
business rules and provided control and automation for the
The new membership system was installed after a 2 month
development period. The existing member data was converted and
transferred into the new system and the OCPPP office staff were
trained and started using the system within a day.
The new system and its database are built using up to date
Microsoft products so are highly reliable and operate seamlessly
across several workstations in the OCPPP offices. They are also
fully secured to prevent modifications which might affect their
Updates to the system, and there have been several new features
added since its original installation, are achieved with a minimum
of fuss by simply copying a new version of the main system file
onto the OCPPP office network server. The system itself handles
all the updating of the database and workstations as necessary.
This ensures that everyone in the office is working on the same
data and is using the same version of the software.
The additional levels of automation provided have cut the time
needed to perform routine tasks and, in one case (the production
of a members' directory) the time saving was in the order of days!
In the words of Kim Harvey, OCPPP's Operations Consultant:
"'A number of the programme enhancements have saved the
organisation more than the original cost within weeks."
The seamless web site integration now means that, when members
make changes to their details on the web site, those changes can
be reflected back into the main membership system with the minimum
of manual intervention - given that a requirement was that every
change needed to be validated before being applied.
OCPPP's new membership system was built upon an application
framework developed by SUMMIT over the last 5 years and which has
formed the basis of several database systems that SUMMIT has
provided for a variety of customers.
This framework, utilising Microsoft technologies, has proved to
be very flexible, highly reliable and an enormous benefit when
considering how easy it is to apply upgrades and enhancements.
Regardless of the number of workstations and their location, the
framework detects that a new version of the system is available
and proceeds to upgrade itself with no user involvement
The beauty of the approach is that the customer needs no
technical knowledge whatsoever to run and implement upgrades to