BY: LENNY MURNEY
Infor Process Automation (IPA)
Infor Process Automation is an enhanced tool for automating business processes built on Landmark technology and works with Infor S3, Infor M3, ION and 3rd party applications. Conceptually, it is similar to Process Flow Integrator for S3 and M3 applications, but runs on Landmark technology and includes new features and functionality over and above PFI.
With the release of IPA 10.1.1, the Infor Process Automation tool continues to grow and give us tools to create and manage our business processes. The focus is to take manual people based tasks and move them into the application system for consistency, accuracy and efficiency.
If you are coming to Infor Process Automation from the LSF base Process Flow Integrator you will find that PFI and IPA can be used separately, or, the work that PFI traditionally performed can be transferred to the IPA system. This gives an upgrade path where IPA can be brought online quickly and later the existing flows can be updated to IPA.
Inbacket approval are also extended into Ming.le bringing a consistent level of access for Portal, Rich Client and Ming.le users.
Components of IPA
Infor Process Automation consists of two software components, Infor Process Designer and Infor Process Server. Infor Process Designer is a drag and drop graphical based designer tool enhanced for flexibility and ease of flow design.
The Designer Tool Activity node's color and style have been updated for improved use of color to identify like Nodes. The node colors allow the developer to quickly identify node actions and organize flow activity.
Orange nodes identify data transfer or manipulation. Green nodes require a user action. Blue nodes identify Infor Lawson processes.
New features have been added to Infor Process Automation to provide more control over flow execution. The ‘Wait’ and ‘For Each’ control nodes provide more detailed control of each flow. The flow can now be suspended for a defined period of time with the ‘Wait’ node. This means that a different flow can be processed during the wait period allowing more flow to be executed for high performance.
Flow management administration is built into the Infor Process Automation tool’s Rich Client, including configuration, administration, scheduling and reporting. With all the key components available in one tool, flow management is quick and centralized. Application security keeps it all under control allowing more people access to the features they are responsible for without the risk of inadvertent errors.
Flows and Logs continue to be stored in the database and are controlled through the standard Rich Client. Centralized management really does work here as no special tool is required to check for file system access or to check flow status or validate errors.
Error handling continues to feature strong methods of dealing with the unknown. The error connections can simplify a flow while giving the details of what went wrong and even provide a method to automatically correct the problem.
During flow development the Infor Process Automation tool can assign breakpoints for trace and debug purposes. This provides new methods of verifying that a flow is working as it is designed to. And when a problem does occur, flow development can be used to locate the error and design the best way to handle it.
Node and data security have been added to ensure file level security in all interface files. This begins with separate nodes to encrypting a file. Encrypted FTP is available to transfer files to and from vendors.
Several nodes have been updated allowing for more connection options as technology advances. The SQL, Web Service and FTP nodes all provide new connection options for the protocols and encryptions features.
Three new Nodes have been added to IPA; file encryption, wait and a foreach loop. These provide more control over how the flow runs and better handles any delays.
Infor Process Automation is an enhanced tool for automating business processes built on Landmark technology. Its exciting new features and functionality introduce ease and flexibility for the developer as well as an entire organization.