When a major paper products firm wanted to simplify the process of creating and managing documents while facilitating data exchange between the Azzier CMMS and its accounting and finance platform, the firm turned to Tero for assistance. The company had adopted Azzier for its industry-leading, feature-rich CMMS functionality. The specialized enhancements sought by the new effort would extend the value of the platform even further.
A core requirement of the effort was to develop a method for maintenance personnel to create purchase orders (POs) and manage receipts in Azzier rather than in the firm’s accounting and finance platform. Another requirement was to simplify the data export process from the platform to Azzier. This requirement was somewhat complex because the export needed to include pertinent criteria such as export frequency and triggers, e.g. status changes, as well as export tracking and error handling.
In addition, the company wanted to develop an interface solution to import vendor information and other ongoing updates from the accounting and finance platform into Azzier. This requirement was a primary driver for the interface portion of the project.
A Complex Solution, Simplified
Tero experts developed an interface that would allow PO records to be exported whenever new records were created or existing ones were edited or changed. The resulting solution exports data strings in XML (extensible markup language, which defines rules in a format both human- and machine-readable) using web services. (A web service enables data exchange between two unrelated entities over the Internet.)
To achieve this goal, the Tero team completed several specialized software tasks:
- They modified the export service, which writes the XML data strings to a self-contained XML text file on a customer-managed FTP site.
- They also configured the interface solution to export a PO in Azzier, as well as all associated PO lines and receipt information, each time either a PO or an individual line changed or was updated.
- The solution further refines data exchange criteria by restricting the sending of records to specific, preselected Status codes. The Tero experts recommended that POs be sent when they are first approved and again if any changes occur afterward. The interface can be modified by the customer at any time through the Azzier Interface module.
Tero also configured a specialized Vendor Import Interface template in Azzier. The interface was created as a web service. On behalf of the client, Tero experts worked closely with the client’s vendor, providing all the specifics of Tero’s web service so the vendor could develop its own web service to extract financial data from the accounting and finance platform and send it to Azzier.
Project Results Exceed Expectations
Management at the paper products manufacturer was extremely pleased with the outcome. It achieved all of its goals efficiently and completely.
- The solution simplified the process considerably, eliminating the need to use an external finance system to generate and manage POs and PO receipts for maintenance activities.
- It improved workflow by automatically applying specific criteria, generating triggers and producing reports based upon when data is inserted and/or updated.
- Security was enhanced by the use of “record-locking,” which controls who can add, edit and/or delete Azzier records.
- To facilitate error-handling, Azzier imports all transactions into a log file that can be viewed through the Azzier Report Builder module. This enables teams to view and address errors more quickly.
- Software connectivity between Azzier and the accounting and finance platform ensures updated vendor information can be imported into Azzier, promoting further accuracy.
As a final benefit, the Tero team also configured the web service to send a message back to the vendor after digesting incoming data. The message indicates whether the data was successfully submitted or there was an error and corresponding error message. Since web services can “listen” at all times for incoming data, the flow of information is never impeded.