M3 Without Modifications: Purchase Authorisation using ION Workflow
Feb 17 2016
Avoiding modifications to the core ERP remains a primary goal for Infor M3 sites looking to lessen the cost of upgrades and streamline support. This article talks about using Infor ION Workflow as another option for customising the M3 experience without having to modify core code.
Purchase Authorisation using ION Workflow
Part of Infor’s latest technology suite, Infor ION is designed to enable quick integration of systems across an enterprise, providing a framework for managing business process flows, workflows and alerts.
The good news for anyone considering an upgrade is that ION Workflow now comes standard with Infor Smart Office and H5, so it’s the perfect time to look at replacing workflow modifications. Purchase Authorisation is one of the most commonly requested workflows as the one-step approvals through M3 application messages are insufficient for sites that require a multi-level approval process.
In this article, we use as an example, a recent Purchase Authorisation development that implemented an ION Workflow to enable multi-level processing.
The new workflow (see video) utilised the standard M3 Business Object Document (BOD) for Purchase Orders. An ION workflow is triggered based on the Purchase Order status and a web service call to PPS235 is used to send the task to the first approver. Based on the PPS235 manager and approval limits, the workflow is sent up the chain of management until it reaches an approver who can sign the Purchase Order. The approver uses the task drillback to access the signature on PPS200/F.
Fig 1. New Workflow Process
Outlined below are some of the features that we feel make ION Workflow a compelling option for M3 user processes.
Easy to Develop
The standard Purchase Order BOD cut down development time by providing the important transactional data directly to ION. The M3 BODs can also be customised in Infor Enterprise Collaborator is additional information is needed.
ION Workflows are developed in the ION Desk client, where a graphical user interface makes workflow creation quick and easy.
Fig 3. Quick and easy workflow creation from the ION Desk
Integration with M3
Along with standard BOD integration, ION Workflow tasks can include drillbacks to the standard M3 functions using bookmarks. For the Purchase Authorisation workflow, a drillback to PPS200 F panel was included to allow the top-level approver to enter his signature. A web service call could have automated this step, but the drillback saved on additional development time.
Integration with Collaboration Tools
One of the major benefits of ION Workflows is the integration with Ming.le. Once users have access to the Ming.le framework, all collaboration and workflow tasks will ideally be centralised to one platform, rather than having users switch between multiple applications.
ION is also integrated with the email server. Important tasks and alerts can also be directed to the assigned users’ inboxes, so that they will be actioned immediately.
Built-in Escalation and Delegation Controls
ION Workflow allows you to define escalation rules for each task. When a task has not been actioned after a defined period, it will automatically be assigned to the user’s manager with an escalation flag.
In Ming.le, Out-Of-Office settings allow users to delegate tasks and alerts based on a defined period.
Easy to Manage
Administration is pretty straight forward using the ION Desk client. Administrators can see the connections between BODs and related workflows and alerts, find running flows and see details of task contents and user distribution. From the client, an administrator can easily reassign a task to different users or cancel a running flow.
Fig 3. Using the ION Desk to reassign a task or cancel a running flow
On balance, ION brings a lot of benefits for structuring business processes. While not without its limitations, for example, processing external code from within the ION Workflows requires a Java server to run, we believe that ION Workflows are a good choice for developing quick workflow solutions and avoiding modifications to M3.
Contact us to find out more about customising your M3 experience using ION Workflows.