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Track and Trace, the importance of design.

It's time to go digital

The Government recently announced some embarrassing technical issues with their new track and trace system. In this post, A2Z Cloud’s Head of Services takes a look at the issue and  discusses where it went wrong and what could have been done to avoid the issue.

Where did it go wrong?

The technical problem itself has highlighted the root cause of the error. The issue stems from the design phase of the development. The track and trace application outputs the cases into Microsoft Excel, which can be very limited when it comes to data processing of large data sets. Especially in more traditional configurations or older versions.

Excel has a column limit of 16,384 and a row limit of 1,048,576 and when the file limits were reached, this is when the errors in reporting started to occur and when cases started getting missed.

Designing a robust solution

The first key step to delivering a successful software project is to gather the requirements for the application through a process of elicitation. In development terms, elicitation is the process of drawing out the requirements through different methods such as discussions, interviews, use cases and workshops.

This stage of the development process often includes getting an understanding of the capacity requirements. For example, if COVID-19 cases increase by 1-12,000 a day and we are unaware of the length of time this will last, then the application would need to be highly scalable to cope.

This information would inform the design of the solution and it would be clear that flexible and scalable technology was required to deliver a suitable software solution. The track and trace application is an expensive and critical piece of software that has a key role in keeping covid infection rates down.

If these fundamental design steps were executed correctly in the development of the track and trace application then an error like this would never have occurred.

At A2Z we have our own development process that we call “Cloudology”. This process focuses on process mapping and requirements gathering to ensure that critical functionality isn’t missed which could lead to the loss of data, impact business operations – or worse, damage business reputation and credibility.


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A2Z Cloud is the UK’s Leading Premium Partner. We specialised in the Zoho Platform in 2012 and have worked with a range of different clients including ITV and Aerials Direct. We bring experienced understanding of the products, a room full of talented developers, consultants and project managers. Let us take the stress out of your digital transformation.

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