A research group is having a closer look into an automated booking and billing system that will be part of the laboratory platform. This system should keep the user informed about booking times, logs, available experiments, records usage, generate corresponding usage based invoices and notify the users with booking and billing information of the experiments.
The objective of the group is to gather and analyze the requirements to choose a right booking and billing solution which meet the DigiLab4U needs. In Oct 2019, research started with developing user stories in order to accommodate as much as user-defined activities that can be performed on the remote laboratory website.
The innumerable literature that provides details regarding the booking and billing systems were gathered by exploring several databases with all kinds of keyword combinations as structured literature review (LR). Focusing on the specification of relevant keywords and minimum count, a total of 187 literatures are selected from all databases for further analysis. The literary review has been divided into three phases. Within the 1st phase the titles and keywords were analysed, in the second phase the abstract and in the last phase the full articles were reviewed. Requirements about booking and billing systems provided in each article could be summarized. The booking and billing system should be Open Source and support ‘Pay per Use’, booking functionality, integration support (LMS) for a Learning Managements System (LMS), authentication (e.g. Shibboleth support) and finally, notification of bookings.
The degree of fulfilment for the above requirements per software found in market analysis is measured on the scale ranging from 0 (NOT SUPPORTED) to 5 (VERY GOOD). No single system could be found, which simultaneously can provide booking and billing functionality in the way the digital laboratory platform would require.
Since combining two systems combined would meet the billing & booking requirements, a test implementation of the two systems will be done next. This practical analysis is about integrating the selected billing and booking systems to check if they provide a the feasible outcome by matching all of our requirements. We will post the result of this prototypical integration in the future.
by Ankita Shankar Ghorpade