“If you are looking to eliminate inefficiencies with your current processes and want to take advantage of local automation that you thought may not be possible from the cloud, you will be pleasantly surprised at what can be achieved.”
Local Process Automation With DeltekFirst – If you already have or are planning to move to the DeltekFirst cloud platform, or even if you are hosting Vision in your own public cloud (Azure, AWS, Google, etc.), then you need to be aware of the implications this will have on local process automation.
Most users of Vision will have workflows that do simple things like send out an e-mail or dashboard alert or make a change to some other area of the system. This is process automation at its most basic level. Many more users will also use conditions from within Vision to perform more complex actions such as running complex SQL Stored Procedures, triggering actions in other information systems within your organization or even something like creating File Folders on your network (something I have written a short series about here).
The idea for this post came from a recent client who was on DeltekFirst and was inquiring about our AutoFolder module which is a configurable Vision add-on that automates the process of setting up local File Folders whenever a project is created in Vision.
Automating Local Process from the Cloud:
If you are on the DeltekFirst platform, there is currently no direct access to your database. If you have Vision hosted on the public cloud, you may have access to your database but most likely you do not have a direct network or VPN link between Vision and your local internal systems. In either case this presents a challenge for automating local processes based on conditions or events that happen within Vision.
So how can we get around this limitation to automate local processes? The answer is surprisingly simple – E-mail.
E-mail parsing software has been around for years and is often overlooked these days as a valuable automation tool. The high level concept is simple:
- Information is sent out of one system (Vision in this case) using e-mail sent to a dedicated mailbox
- E-mail parsing software installed locally on your network monitors this mailbox and is given instructions on what information to extract from each e-mail
- The e-mail parsing software then passes this information on to a local process automation. This could be in the form of calling a SQL Stored procedure on a local SQL Server, calling PowerShell scripts, sending additional e-mails or responses, or any number of possible actions
Most e-mail parsing software today will will run unattended as a background service and will perform complex filtering of e-mails, can mine the e-mail for information using simple text capture, regular expressions and even mining information from attachments. Further, most of them can perform complex actions with the information they are fed such as:
- Connect to MS SQL and other ODBC compliant databases to call SQL commands and procedures (as well as return results sets for additional actions)
- Run windows commands including PowerShell and other scripting tools
- Append information to Excel and other files
- Send e-mails
If you are looking to eliminate inefficiencies with your current processes and want to take advantage of local automation that you thought may not be possible from the cloud, you will be pleasantly surprised at what can be achieved. If you would like to learn more or have us take a look at your system and help you get the most out of it, leave a comment or send us an e-mail: [email protected]