Posts Tagged ‘notification’

BPM Workflows, Email Alerts and Custom Email Capabilities in Aras

June 6, 2012

MarcL: Triggers must be provided to send email messages and distribute defined packets of information at appropriate, defined events within change processes.

Peter Schroer:

At every Activity in a Workflow (and State in a Lifecycle, Deliverable in a Project, Action Item, etc.) the Aras modeling engine supports defined triggers (multiple events are available, for example for a Workflow, a trigger is fired upon Activity Assignment, upon Activity time-out, upon Activity Vote registration, etc).

In Aras Innovator the drag-and-drop Solution Studio user interface allows these events to be easily linked to email notifications (SMTP compliant, which works well with Microsoft Exchange as well as Lotus Notes and other email packages).

The email notifications are constructed of Layout Templates and Recipients.

The layout of the email messages will include content from the items that are being routed by the Workflow / Lifecycle and can include File attachments as well.

The emails can be plain text or rich, formatted HTML, HTML with XML or other options.

Emails can include secure URL links back to specific steps in Workflows, Project activities and other Items in PLM where the user must authenticate to gain access.

They can also include standard template text as well as dynamically generated content.

We provide training on how to customize and manage Aras Innovator’s workflows, emails and alerts as well as other related capabilities.

For additional information see ‘Electronic Signatures, Workflows, Lifecycles and Security in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Workflow’.


Business Intelligence, Custom Reports and Secure Reporting in Aras

May 15, 2012

MarcL: PLM solutions must provide the ability to create and manage customized reports that adhere to security requirements. Please explain how this is accomplished.

Peter Schroer:

Aras recommends Microsoft Report Services which is part of SQL Server’s business intelligence capabilities for customized reporting templates.

You can also use any of the other reporting/BI packages such as SAP’s BusinessObjects, Oracle’s Hyperion, IBM’s Cognos and even solutions like Google Charts, etc.

There are also built-in tools for searching for data, ordering the layout and exporting to Excel / Word, but these reporting tools are really for ad-hoc columnar layouts.    Microsoft Reporting Services adds the power of sophisticated layout tools, built-in charts, cubes, analytics, etc.

Reports are a managed Item within Aras Innovator subject to the same access control model that determines which users are able to run which reports.

Microsoft Reporting Services supports HTML, Excel and PDF outputs with CSV and XML supported by Microsoft as available Rendering Extensions.    Aras also has internal reporting tools which are 100% XML (XSLT and HTML).

Both the Microsoft Reporting Services reports (or those from other BI packages) and Aras reports (XML + XSLT) have batch run capabilities.

It is very simple for example to configure a report to run every Sunday night at a set time, and be distributed by emailed to certain end users.   It can be in the body of the email as text, HTML, etc or as an attachment like Excel, Word, PDF, etc.

Real-time reporting for pre-defined reports is also supported with the User access controls determining which Reports a user is allowed to run. A user must have the proper permissions to even see different report options on the pull down menu.

Those reports are available in context sensitive pull down menus throughout the user interface. For example, FMEA reports are available in the FMEA area of the solution.  This reduces menu clutter for the end user.

Users can configure any report alert emails to have URL links within the body of the report or email.   When the recipients access the link however, they must provide their own credentials to view the data.  It is not possible to provide someone a backdoor to access data within the PLM, unless the administrator has provided tools for publishing data out of the repository.

Aras PLM Report SQL Server to Microsoft Excel

Screenshot example of report output from Microsoft Reporting Services into Excel

Lifecycle, Workflow and Other Types of Process Management in Aras

April 23, 2012

MarcL: PLM solution Process Management Workflow functions should work in conjunction with the data Vault and Document Management functionality to provide the ability to define and implement various processes like Enterprise Engineering Change, Part Number Request, Supplier Approval, CAPA / SCAR, etc. based on business rules. Online workflows should be automated in terms of process step advancement, tracking, information distribution, and integrated with a company’s email for alerts and notifications.

Peter Schroer:

The Aras Innovator platform includes 3 primary process automation Web services:  Lifecycle, Workflow and Project.

All three services are integrated with your company’s email systems via SMTP like Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes and can send email notifications.  All three of these services are used for the distribution of information, notifications and alerts.

The 3 services differ in how work tasks are distributed to users, and how the scheduling of work is organized.

In Aras Innovator Lifecycle service is comparable to what most commercial PLM systems call “workflow”… it’s about State management,

while our/Aras Workflow service is comparable to an enterprise BPM system (business process manager) and can even be used as a stand-alone BPM system in a corporate SOA based enterprise architecture,  and…

Aras Project service is a stage-gate project scheduling and resource planning web service comparable to Oracle’s Primavera capabilities.

The out-of-the-box Aras solutions have a wide range of predefined processes using these 3 services together for things like change management, program management, etc.

All 3 of these services work with Aras document management and file vaulting capabilities, and our OOTB solutions use them as the basis for everything involving processes.

The Aras Innovator platform includes a graphical solution studio where you can customize and extend these capabilities as well as create entirely new process-based applications that use any combination of Lifecycle, Workflow and Project for your company’s needs.

These 3 process-oriented Web services are integrated hierarchically.   The architectural reason for three services is to simplify the administration of corporate PLM processes by eliminating the compromises and programming required to make a single purpose “workflow” engine fit real-world requirements.

We provide training on how to implement, customize, and optimize the use of these Aras Innovator process capabilities.

Information Release and Data Vault Management in Aras

April 20, 2012

MarcL: When a document or any other type of data is formally released through the PLM solution, the vault must then recognize the file as released as a result of the workflow completion, and provide appropriate control of the document. This should also set the release baseline, and do notification of the change to the designated access group.

Peter Schroer:

The Aras Innovator platform’s Lifecycle and Workflow services are normally used together to coordinate the Enterprise Change and Release processes.

Lifecycle ensures that baselines of configurations are created and frozen (against future changes), and Lifecycle drives the automatic changes in access control rights that your company will need for release processes.

Notifications are handled by Lifecycle (one-way distribution list) and Workflow (certified response required) as required.

The default process templates with the downloaded version of Aras Innovator are the CMII standard processes.

These can of course be modified by your company, and we provide training so you can customize these processes yourself.

For more info on this see posts like ‘Version & Revision Release Levels in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Revision & Version’.

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