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20 May 2015

BPMS methods of integration and software

This post is also available in: Spanish

Company operations are defined by its activities. Processes are the sequence of activities to achieve a specific purpose. If the scope of a BPMS (a business software to design and implement the automation of processes) covers all company activities, where do the other applications used by the company fit in?

First of all, we have to understand that the method of working with a BPMS is much more effective than traditional methods.

Following the process flow, each user receives their personal task in a work table which incorporates all management, organization and control elements to be performed. Furthermore, many tasks are performed directly by the BPMS without the need for human intervention.

Whilst the tasks are performed, all the generated information is automatically recorded and stored according to a predefined structure which allows the BPM’s intelligence tools: BAM (Business Activity Monitoring), Dashboard, BI (Business Intelligence), KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators), etc. to automate the monitoring, control and analysis of the organization’s facts and data. This enables quick and well-informed decision making.

Secondly, it should be noted that operating companies are already working with many applications (ERP, Legacy Systems, Production, BI, etc.), and most of them cannot be overlooked.

So, the best solution is to integrate these applications into the BPMS in order to perform as much work as possible through the BPMS, which is what manages the tasks.

Applications are not the only things that can be integrated with BPM suites. Information (any data archive or document) can be entered manually or automatically, through the system using direct transmission of the result values, measurements and generally all types of information, using devices on artifacts (machines, sensors, etc.) used in the company or captured automatically on the Internet.

AuraPortal contains tools to facilitate the integration of applications and devices from all types of technology, including non-web technology. Furthermore, it must be noted that in the majority of cases AuraPortal enables the integration without the need for any programming.

When executing processes with AuraPortal, once the applications have been integrated, the actions are either performed manually (in Personal Tasks) or automatically (in System Tasks) including those which correspond to consultation or editing by or of other applications.

An example of a consultation in a manually executed task is: in a Task in which a person must consult financial data (contained in a financial application) the information will be readily available in the task so the user need not search for the data.

An example of a consultation and editing in an automatically executed task is: if a customer complains (from his own office) about being overcharged, the BPMS itself could check if the order is correct (using the ERP data) or send a notification to those responsible with the details of any discrepancy. It could also undertake any necessary corrective actions using the ERP system, by accounting an entry of payment or by sending a payment order to the bank, etc. In this case, the whole process would be solved in a few seconds, without human intervention by using the data from the integrated applications.

The following infographic shows the software available in AuraPortal for the integration of external applications, followed by a brief description of each one:

integracion auraportal

Data Import Service: AuraPortal includes various tools for importing data from external applications using ODBC and OLDB connections. These imports can be sporadic or regular, manual or automatic.

Web Services: AuraPortal is 100% SOA (Service Oriented Architecture), and all the data can be obtained and/or transmitted from and to external applications using Web Services. This is very important as it makes the integration with any modern application possible by using the “de facto” standard of today, the Web Services.

Regarding Web Services, it is important to note the following aspects of AuraPortal:

  • System Web Services. These are Included in the AuraPortal installation and provide access to the data for data retrieval, insertion or modification.
  • Personalized Web Services: To initiate BPM processes or input information in existing processes using Web Services, the Web Services can be created automatically without any programming. It is simply a matter of indicating two values and clicking a button.
  • INVOKER System Task (Invokes External Web Services). This System Task is designed for BPM processes to obtain or transmit data by invoking web services from external applications.
  • EXECUTOR System Task (Executes Script or Stored Procedure). This System Task allows the BPM processes to automatically execute Scripts and Programming codes of any nature.

Adapter Server. This tool is included in AuraPortal and makes it possible to consult and/or modify the data stored in external Databases (ERP, CRM, etc.) from the AuraPortal Processes, to make the data visible to the users from forms, and to automatically interact in the Gateway decisions, the execution of Business Rules, calculations, etc.

Its configuration is very simple, guided with automatic assistants it allows the integration with any database, even ones without Web Services or other standard connection methods. Adapter Server acts as an intermediary, connecting to the external database via ODBC and to AuraPortal via Web Services.

Esquema funcionamiento Adapter server

Esquema funcionamiento Adapter server