Advanced ImageNow to Lawson Integration with Yoga Connect™

Join RPI while we discuss advanced ImageNow Lawson integration. Learn about taking your ImageNow Lawson integration to the next level. In Advanced ImageNow, Richard Stout, a Senior Systems Integrations expert, will talk through the benefits of an advanced ImageNow Lawson integration while discussing:

  • Using AGS calls to import data directly into Lawson vs. batch programs
  • Adding URL attachments to Lawson records
  • Live GL coding validation in the eForm with link to GL Master
Transcript

Britney:
I’m Mrs Britney Zegler, I work for RPI. For any of you that might not be familiar with us, we are a Perceptive Software business partner that has been working within this now for over 10 years. I want to thank you again for taking the time to attend this seminar today.

With us this afternoon we have Richard Stout, a senior systems integration expert at RPI, he does a fantastic job covering this topic, and with that I’ll hand it over to Richard.

Richard:
I’m Richard Stout from RPI Consultants. Today we’re gonna be talking about advanced integration techniques between Lawson, ImageNow. For now, I’m gonna start with a bit of background information about our company. We are an Infor Lawson partner, we’re also a Perceptive Software partner, and as a company we have over 10 years’ experience integrating Lawson and ImageNow.

We have 32 at least, certified Lawson resources on our team. We have our headquarters in beautiful Baltimore Maryland, but we operate in Nashville. Our ImageNow services cover the full gamut, everything from implementation to day-to-day system maintenance, bringing on new lines of business, supporting upgrades, reporting and advanced workload metrics, and obviously the company’s web development and WebNow development which mostly I will talk about that.

So let’s get into our first topic here, and this is an inbound interface to Lawson, we invoice data from ImageNow, and talk about how to bring that in to each one. Well the traditional model, the way they’re most commonly used to bring invoice data into Lawson is to use the AP520 or the MA540 but that’s broken. These run in batch, meaning you’ve got a collection invoices, you schedule this program to run, pick up the invoices and bring it into the system. And they usually operate with exports.

So there’s a number of steps in the traditional invoice interface. And this is perhaps one of the drawbacks, is there’s just so many steps, there’s multiple places where things could go wrong, and multiple places where you need to resolve it. We start with an iScript that is exporting out data from eform, and building a CSV file. The CSV file that needs to be moved from the ImageNow server to the Lawson server. At that point we run the MA540 job which will reboot the CSV file, and that loads records into the conversion table, that is the invoice table, where they automatically sort things. And then invoices are actually created from that.

So, some of the pain points with that model is first off, it’s not real time. You’re not getting it immediate & fast, you have to wait before your invoices get uploaded to Lawson. Exception processing is the thing that’s really difficult, because there’s just so many opportunities for something to break in that <inaudible>. And we’re not able to offer any feedback or to say as to whether or not the script was successful.

Let me focus on the exception handling for a second. There’s a couple of stages that can go wrong here, that you might need to address when interfacing or uploading to Lawson. If you have some data in a field that just doesn’t even have space on it. For example, if you know anything about a company, number, or you’ve got an error sent in a column or you’ve got a character, a field that’s too wide, too many characters in the field. Some of that can cause the MA540 not to be able to load the record, even for the conversion field. The only way to know about that is to review the MA540 report, and then at that point you’ll have to try and correct the record, find the record in ImageNow, correct it, try to re-interface it.

The other possibility is everything came in to the conversion field okay, but for one reason or another it won’t be able to create that much. For example, maybe the vendor’s inaccurate, at that point you have another place to go look, and try to resolve the error and this can be frustrating, or it can be frustrating with the AP520, and you’ll need to resolve the error there again, possibly try to find the image in ImageNow, and then rerun your batch job again. This time running the batch job through the different set of parameters, to try and pick up your error records, and now do a fresh new batch conversion.

So, I have an alternative possibility to try and address the issues, and that’s to do the live AGS call to AP20. The AGS call, that’s the Application Gateway Service, is a proprietary web-based interface that’s built into Lawson. And, it’s actually the interface that’s used by the Excel Upload Wizard, it’s used by ProcessFlow, every transaction note, and it’s really what drives Portal. Portal itself is making these AGS call to the screen, whenever you key something into, for example, AP20 it adds, behind the scenes, Portal, during that AP20 call.

Benefits of AGS call is it’s a real-time transaction. You can really get instant gratification whether or not the transaction is successful. And you’re able to see your record and log the transaction. Also immediate, we get feedback with the transaction. We know whether or not it’s successful, and we can go ahead and update the record in ImageNow.

So the benefits of AGS call, the record is either in Lawson or it isn’t, there’s no conversion table to worry about, there’s no CSV file on the LSF server, that may or may not have corrupted CVS, so there’s just a lot less working parts that can fail during that transaction. And also we’re able to actually route based on success and failure. So, if the record is not in Lawson, at that point they reach out to the leaders with the record, we can maintain that record in ImageNow.

Specifically, talking about the AP20 here, some additional benefits we have are we get a voucher number back. If you’re using voucher numbers you get that number back when you add it on the AP20. So that’s it, so you get them available to add to a custom property on your interface. Also, one possibility you can do is online match of PO invoices. It’s when you’re prepping the match files on the AP20, there’s a variety of matches that can come back that you might want to make the routing choices from.

We can take the message that comes back from Lawson and record that into ImageNow, so you have that there as a reference if you’re working exceptions in ImageNow, you know exactly why the invoice did not load. You get the same messages that the AP Processor would have gotten. Here’s an example of putting the methods into the eForm, also we can use notes on a document.

Okay, let’s talk about how this AGS call might be implemented in your system. eForm data is stored in XML. In fact, the form that’s attached to a document actually is a separate page within that document. An XML document is stored in the same way a .tif file would be stored in ImageNow. The Lawson application gateway service also works with XML. You can pull an XML document to that interface, it will act on that [inaudible 00:08:07] and then will turn back and resolve it. Because we’re doing an XML to XML interface, I won’t use XSLT for that, XSLT is a technology that you can use that easily transforms XML forms to another.

So let’s talk about how our iScript might look.

The next step we’re gonna do an XSL transformation, so we’ll convert that document that’s in key form format, and convert it into the format that Lawson uses. We’re gonna need to log in to Lawson in order to do this transaction. So once you start you’re gonna need to configure with the Lawson application. Finally we will post that to the AGS servlet. You’re actually gonna copy the several transactions in a row to get a full set. There’s one transaction, again it’s the AP20, to add a header. Next you need to add your lines you’ve got. And you’re gonna do one transaction for each line. Maybe that’s the AP20, if we’re talking about the invoice for this region, maybe that’s the purchase order. And then we’ll get back our result, we’ll see what were the results into the transaction, if you like that result, if it’s a success, we’ll write a document that’s complete to you, if you’re not able to add the header, maybe we need to route the document back, okay we have more work to do on the damage before we can bring it into Lawson.

I’m gonna talk about a lot of the accounts payable scenarios today, of course there are a lot of other scenarios where these techniques are useful. In these invoices, you might think about a vendor request form and try and hit that AP10 so you know how to vendor, you might want to think about working with the employee to change position or change of status for them, and having them come in as a personal action so they can see it. And the finance module, we can work with journal entries maybe understanding and making backup documentation for a journal entry, entering the details on an eForm or even in subsequent properties and use that one for every transaction to GL40. Really, anytime a live update is desired is a good time to look at possibly using AGS calls as opposed to your batch interface program. And of course there’s not a batch interface program for every possible Lawson transaction, so at some point, depending on the transaction, AGS call might be the only way to get your transaction logged.

Next example I’d like to talk about is GL coding validation and how we might do live coding validation in Lawson. So here’s an example of an AP eForm and we’ve got our accounting unit account, and we want to give live feedback to the invoice approver, and let them know whether the accounting is valid or not.

There’s a couple ways that