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Exact Product Blog: Exact Event Manager

Exact Event Manager release 1.9 Now available

Written by Toine Hurkmans on . Posted in Exact Event Manager

Exact Event Manager release 1.9 is now available and can be downloaded by customers and partners. As mentioned in the previous blog release 1.9 supports the latest Microsoft operating systems.  Meaning this release will support Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft SQL Server 2012. Further this release will support Microsoft Windows 8.

This release contains no functional enhancements, like support of new types of actions.

.. However we are working on release 1.9.1 and at least one new feature will be added to Exact Event Manager: running a program as an action. Keep following this blog, because next post will show a sneak preview of this feature. I cannot tell at this moment what the release date will be of the next release, but I’ll try to keep you informed the best I can.

 

 

Rafiki’s Corner – Exact Event Manager 1.8R2 – A Maintenance Release

Written by Sander van Triet on . Posted in Exact Event Manager

Good day to you all! Many of you will have heard of the imminent release of Exact Event Manager 1.8. Well, that day has come. On Thursday, June 7, Exact Event Manager 1.8 R2 will be Generally Available around the world.

This release of Exact Event Manager is purely a maintenance release. We have fixed a little over 35 issues, ranging from User Interface / Experience issues, down to low level behavioural issues that have been reported to us. This release has undergone extensive testing prior to being tested under what we call Region Testing. This phase in the release cylce is where we put Exact Event Manager 1.8R2 through its’ paces for three weeks by colleagues from the various regions within Exact. This builds on an already stable set of product in the orginal Exact Event Manager 1.8. In fact, we had only one bug reported during the Region Testing! Now that is not bad at all.

As stated, this is a maintenance release only. However, there is one additional “feature” that may be of interest to everyone. In fact, it is more of a utility than a feature. To be more precise, this is a Stored Procedure that we set against the required table. This little nugget is a Purge Utility that will assist in cleaning up the EEMResultDetails table, selected by date range. This will assist in ensuring that this table does not get too bloated with often redundant data. Remember, if you turn on logging for an event that runs every minute, we are recording and storing all the results of those events, and this table will morph into a little monster in no time at all. Now why do we store all this data you may ask? Well, right from the onset of the design phase, we were asked to provide information that allows users to analyze the results to determine if anything went wrong. So, the need to report and filter on results means we need to store it somewhere. This is the old “Which came first, the chicken or the egg” situation. Anyway, be that as it may, we have now provided a user driven Stored Procedure that will aid you in managing the size of this important table.

So, for those of you who have Exact Event Manager 1.8, I urge you to update to Exact Event Manager 1.8R2 and experience the benefits of a protracted and thorough testing / quality control cycle. For those of you who do not have Exact Event Manager 1.8, well, what are you waiting for! Exact Event Manager 1.8R2 is solid, robust, feature rich solution that is of extreme business value in any business, no matter the industry.

Should you have any questions on how to obtain this update, please contact your account manager or Exact support. Of course, I am always available.

Cheers for now!

Rafiki’s Corner – Have you heard the one about?

Written by Sander van Triet on . Posted in Exact Event Manager

With the ever expanding footprint of Exact Event Manager around the world, we are fast gaining insight into some of the effective and meaningful uses of the high-value  business solution. I have recently started contacting customers that I know and asking them for some examples of how they have deployed Exact Event Manager. This is a fascinating exercise and I thought it is relevant to share some of these experiences with the larger community through this Product Blog. I will regularly post blogs on some of the real-life uses of Exact Event Manager, in the hope that ideas being to flow.

So, yesterday, Wednesday March 28, I went to spend some time with a customer not too far from my office. This is a customer that I have known for a long time but have never visited their new Head office digs here in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Company ABC is a Canadian company with many divisions and locations across the country, classified in the food processing industry. They use a number of Exact’s solutions to assist in driving their business forward and have done so since 1998. Exact Event Manager, along with Exact Synergy Enterprise, are their newest additions to their solution set from Exact.

Their plan was to implement Exact Synergy Enterprise to solve some challenges they faced with Quality Assurance and related documentation (Certificates of Analysis etc). This would have been accomplished with Exact Synergy Enterprsie and Exact Event Manager. The plans and ideas were well mapped out and timelines defined. Then reality poked its ugly head up like a gopher on a newly dressed golf green, right when the final goal was in line. In this case, the gopher was a well publicized strike by Canada Post employees. Hmm, you might say. How is it possible that in todays’ technology driven world would a postal strike affect business? Especially in a country such as Canada eh!! Well, it does have a huge impact, both for folk at home and for businesses.

On the 3rd June, 2011, a rolling strike was initiated across the country by the members of the Canada Post delivery services. From that point on, you had more chance of seeing the Toronto Maple Leafs making the play off’s than receiving a bill in the mail!! And therein lies the rub, as well as the opportunity! As we all know, these days in business (and at home as well!) Cash is King! However, without customers receiving invoices for products and services, no one is going to get paid. The old adage of “Your cheque is in the mail”, was not one that was going to work this time!!

So, Company ABC responded to this challenge laid down by reality and looked into their box of tricks and solutions provided by Exact, seeking ways to mitigate this potentially crippling business interruption. Low and behold, they came across Exact Event Manager!! They henceforth, postponed their other projects and focused on looking for a solution that lay within Exact Event Manager. “What if we could email all our invoices to customers?” This was the high level solution that presented itself. However, remembering to select the correct email address at the time an invoice was processed, save the invoice to disk in a .pdf format, and then attach it to the email was open to mistakes. Sending an invoice to the wrong person or customer is not necessarily a business practice supported by any college business program. Well, “what if we could have this done automatically after we have posted a whole bunch of invoices and spooled the documents to disk?” This line of questioning prompted some thought of previsously hearing in the corridors somewhere at an Exact Engage Conference that Exact Event Manager is the “Automatically” part of the solution.

So, the team at ABC Company, set about creating a single event within Exact Event Manager that would automatically send out customer invoices, a couple of times a day, taking all the batch created invoices and emailing them as attachments to the correct contacts at the correct customer. Simple, efficient and problem solved! Move forward almost a year since the strike, and all their customers still get their invoices eletronically via email, their postage costs have gone down significantly, cash flow from sales operations remains positive and the Toronto Maple Leafs still have not made the play off’s!!!!!

The deployment of Exact Event Manager within Company ABC to solve this business challenge of sending invoices automatically may seem simple and innocuous. Yes, Exact Event Manager was designed with way more horse power than simply automating a manual operation of sending invoices via email. However, the issue at hand here is that a simple, but vital business challenge was solved very quickly with some imagination and Exact Event Manager. At the same time, there are real cost savings with the reduction in postage costs, which is not trivial when you send out thousands of invoices a month! What does a single Event cost with Exact Event Manager? It is somewhere around $300 per event when you break it down. Add some time to create the event and test it out, and you are at around say $600 per event. (For complete and formal pricing, please contact your representative. These values are merely illustrative in nature) Well, it looks like this specific business challenge saved a whole lot more, not only preserved cash flow, than $600 (the price of a ticket to watch the Maple Leafs by the way!). I call that a good return on investment and an even better time to value.

There are many, many such cases where Exact Event Manager will drive significant value within your business. Some cases you haven’t even thought of yet. However, I am sure the time will come when the need arises to solve a last minute, reality based business issue and you may well find Exact Event Manager sitting in the corner waiting to help you to a long lasting resolution. More ideas and uses to come….have a great weekend!

Rafiki’s Corner – Feel like doing some “renovations” to Exact Event Manager?

Written by Sander van Triet on . Posted in Exact Event Manager

Greetings from the frozen North! It has been a while since I put “finger to keys”, but I have not forgotten about the ever growing Exact Event Manager community!! I have spent the past few weekends renovating some of my rooms in my house, which got me thinking about the topic of this blog.

As you know, Exact Event Manager 1.8 has been out in the field since December 15, 2011, being implemented in all corners of the globe. I have heard of some interesting applications that Exact Event Manager is being used for, about which I will write in a subsequent blog. In the meantime, I wanted to provide some insight into one of the less than known capabilities of Exact Event Manager. I stress capabilities here, and not features for a good reason.

I have often had questions posed to me such as “When will Exact Event Manager support the creation of Opportunities in Synergy Enterprise?”. In response to the question, what if I were to say that it will support this functionality when YOU want it to!? Hmm, what does that mean you are probably thinking to yourself right now!?

Okay, here is it…. Exact Event Manager 1.8 has a “built-in” Software Developers’ Kit (SDK), or more accurately, an Application Programming Interface (API). This was added to Exact Event Manager to “untether” some of the development requirements from your specific internal needs and requirements. We understood early on that we would never cover 100% of all that may be requested of us and are mindful of the fact that a Third Party ecosystem is a powerful validation of the commercial value of a solution. The intent of the API to to allow you to create your own actions that create / modify data in Synergy Enterprise. (If, and only if, there is no User Interface Change needed). Furthermore, the way this API was built means that all “interaction” with Synergy Enterprise is channelled through the entities of Synergy Enterprise which means all data is validated and flows through the correct business logic.

So, what does this mean for your solution? Well, plain and simple, it frees you up from a pre-defined development schedule, allowing you to create your own action(s) for Synergy Enterprise. For example, you may want to have Exact Event Manager create an Item in Synergy Enterprise, based on the creation of an item in some external QA database. In this case, you would use the API to interact with the Items entity in Synergy Enterprise, and that is pretty much it! I know I am simplifying this, but it is not all that tough to do. You could also create an Opportunity in Synergy Enterprise, based on a quotation stored, say, in an external CRM solution.

What skills do I need to accomplish this? This is a good question…. Aside from a good imagination and patience, you need to have C#.net skills as well as an understanding of how the entities (web services) of Synergy Enterprise work and how to consume them. Basically, you will code the action, compile a .dll file, drop the .dll into the <bin> directory of Exact Event Manager, register the .dll and off you go. You do not need to perform a complete installation again. The code you would have written is independent of the core code base, further de-coupling your efforts from core development.

When we developed the API, we needed to find a test bed for the solution, so that we could prove it out prior to releasing it. We thought using the API to develop some of the existing Synergy Enterprise actions would be the perfect enviroment. So, we put one of the development team members, who had no experience with the core code development, into action(he was responsible for the installation side of the solution), and tasked him with building the Resource Action and the Accounts Action. When they were done, we simply added them to the install process. So, if you are using the Resource or Accounts actions, those are actually API developed actions. I have not seen any bugs come through on these two items, so I presume they are working well!?

How do I get hold of the API? You already have it! It is simply deployed along with the installation of Exact Event Manager. Now, there is no public documentation for this yet, but I have a set of electronic documents (help files) and some samples that provide an idea of what to do and how to go about it. If you would like to take a peek at these, please let me know and I will make sure you get the relevant files. One point to be aware of: The actions that you build for Synergy Enterprise will function correctly, assuming your code is good, but also if there are no User Interface changes required. There should be none, but just in case. Any UI changes require that core code be worked on, which of course you cannot do!

I am going to take an active interest in the activity that will evolve from the use of the API. I know that there are many ideas that I have never even come close to thinking about and I look forward to hearing some of your uses. Please keep me posted. Have a wonderful weekend and week ahead!

 

eem191

Exact Event Manager 1.9.1 Now Available

Written by Toine Hurkmans on . Posted in Exact Event Manager

Exact Event Manager 1.9.1 is released 25 January 2014 offering some great new features to further expand the capabilities of business process automation. A lot of focus is given to managing and controlling processes related to incoming and outgoing documents/files.

For this reason this release supports FTP & file folder watcher and capabilities to write documents to FTP sites or file folders. Printing documents to network printers or sending document via Fax is also supported. On top of this it will be possible to use Exact Synergy Enterprise document attachments in e-mail, printing and faxing, similar to SSRS and Crystal reports.

Another new feature, requested for years, is  the abiltity to execute a program using a command line. This increases the options to automate processes.EEM pic for blog

In addition this release includes fixes on issues/bugs reported.

For more information see the Release notes product update 1.9.1 or contact your Exact support desk.

 

Exact Event Manager 1.9 Coming Soon

Written by Toine Hurkmans on . Posted in Exact Event Manager

It’s been a while since the last product blog on Exact Event Manager which announced the release of 1.8R2 in June 2012. Well release 1.9 is coming to you soon.

The new 1.9 release of Exact Event Manager  is created to support the latest Microsoft operating systems.  Meaning this release will support Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft SQL Server 2012. Further this release will support Microsoft Windows 8. So the main reason for this release is to ensure our customers can use the latest operations system to succesful run and automate their business processes.

Important for existing customers to know is version 1.9 is compatible with release 1.8R2 and supports the same system requirements as for 1.8R2.

Of course we use this product update also to resolve some issues raised after the release of 1.8R2. We were very pleased that not many issues did occur after the launch of this release. We realize that consultants and customers have requested more features to be supported by Exact Event Manager. It was not feasible to address these requests for release 1.9. But Exact Event Manager release 1.9 will not be the only release we hope to deliver to you this year. So keep following us!

Rafiki’s Corner – Quality Systems and Exact Event Manager

Written by Sander van Triet on . Posted in Exact Event Manager

Every organization has a defined set of Quality & Compliance systems in place. These may be official and governed by principles found in ISO9000 guidelines, or FDA regulations and even SOX Compliance levels. They may even be unofficial, guided by the owners need and desire to ensure the final delivery of quality products and services to customers. From interviewing customers on their deployment of Exact Event Manager and the challenges they face with maintaining these quality systems, it is quite clear that Exact Event Manager has a “golden key” when it comes to enforcing and automating many of these procedures. Lets’ take a look at some ISO9000 procedures deployed within a real-life distributor of high tech flow control equipment.

Firstly, it is important to understand that software is NOT ISO compliant. No software is. The compliance with ISO is centered on the organization and its’ defined policies and procedures. In short

      • Document what you do
      • Do what you document
      • Is it effective?

I know this may seem simplistic, but it really does help understand the definitions of ISO9000 (and other certifications within ISO such as ISO 14001).

So, the point in case under discussion today also makes use of this “definition” of ISO. Here we go….

Davis Controls (www.daviscontrols.com) is a distributor of high tech flow control measuring equipment, among other things. They are ISO9001:2008 Certified throughout their organization. They use Exacts’ products and solutions to assist them in maintaining their high level of commitment to quality and adherence to their QSM (Quality Systems Manual). They have many procedures that define pretty much all of what they do, that assist in bringing products and services of the highest quality to their customers, all the while seeking ways to continuously improve those very processes and quality. In the loose definition above, “Document what you do”, Davis Controls has a defined and documented policy which states that any Sales Order over $10,000 in value requires authorization from a manager before it can be confirmed and delivered. This helps them mitigate any financial risk on higher value orders, which is an imprtant part of their procedures in today’s economically challenged era.

So, the policy simply defines what they need to adhere to. Every order that meets this criteria is then sent over to the manager for sign off and approval. This can be an arduous and time consuming task, open to potential slips and delays if attention is not paid carefully. Davis Controls’ challenge was to find a way to remove any risk in the procedure and automate it where possible, so that the element of human effort is removed from the equation. Having had signifcant experience with Exact Event Manager, they immediately turned to the solutions offered within the solution. A simple query was built, looking for any Sales Orders over $10,000 in total. This would run periodically on a defined schedule. The moment Exact Event Manager finds such a Sales Order, it will proceed to create a Workflow Request within Exact Synergy Enterprise with all the necessary information tied to the request, that would be routed to the Sales Manager. The sales manager would perform the evaluation of the sales order, and then either approve or reject the request. Upon approval, the Sales Order is then updated to an Approved status and life can continue normally.

Once again, this may seem like a fairly innocuous and simple use for Exact Event Manager. However, this use of the toolset allows for the automation of a highly repetitive activity that is fundamental to their financial controls and mitigates any risk associated with potential slips from a manual process. This policy, and subsequent procedure is then documented in their QSM and they can unequivocally trust that this is one policy that they no longer need to worry about. The ultimately make Exact Event Manager take care of the “Do what you document” part of ISO.

One of the key success factors here is keeping it simple. Davis Controls has identified a highly repetitive, yet important procedure that can, and should be, automated. Exact Event Manage provides them the tools to get the job done in a “fire-and-forget” mode. Oh yes, the Sales Manager obtains a summary, via email, weekly of all those Sales Orders over $10,000, driven automatically by Exact Event Manager!

As the world of Exact Event Manager grows, I am constantly looking for cool uses of the solution within real-life situations. If you have any, please feel free to contact me and let me know.

Rafiki’s Corner – Calling All Exact Event Manager Evangelists!!

Written by Sander van Triet on . Posted in Exact Event Manager

Are you a user of Exact Event Manager? (if not why not ?!) The solution has now been out in the market, globally, for almost a year now and the growing number of users point to a measured level of success. All is good! We are hard at work on the next release of Exact Event Manager, that promises to be an awesome release and at the same time, we are working on a Maintenance Release that will include various software corrections.

Now, the time has come to take the solution to all corners of the earth, ensuring all Exact customers benefit from the huge business potential built into the DNA of Exact Event Manager. However, to do so, we need your help. Here is how you can help….

As everyone in business knows, the most effective form of marketing is not campaigns or branding, but word of mouth referrals and references. It is here that we need your help. We are looking to recruit customers who are willing to act as a reference for Exact and Exact Event Manager. These references may be called upon to talk to prospective users of the technology and answer some of their questions, based on your own experiences. This is an extremely important cog in the gears of a product life cycle. We have a large pool of customers already embracing the technology and we would like to hear about you. We would like you to tell your story, and provide other users and prospects with insight into the rewards and benefits that Exact Event Manager brings to the Exact solution stack and potentially to your business. When I say “Story”, I mean exactly that, in your own words. You have bragging rights over your successes and we would like very much to hear those stories and share them with a broader, global community.

If this is something that interests you, please contact me and we can get together and chat about what the program involves and what the benefits on your side are for joining such an important program.

Cheers!

copyWBS

A medley of useful enhancements for deliverables and WBS in Exact PSA

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Event Manager, Exact Synergy

Now that we have covered deliverables and work breakdown structures as the means to manage scope and define the work in Exact PSA, there are a few additional small features that a project manager will benefit from.

 

First, all project managers need to see the progress of deliverables and specific activities from work breakdown structure as the project is getting done.

To address this need, Exact PSA retains a link from a WBS line to an hour planning or material allocation request. This allows it to display f all estimated, planned and approved (actual) hours or each activity line so that the project manager can see what the current status is.

Moreover, such linking opens the road to creating of all of new reports (for example project schedules via Gantt charts).

 

Second, our interviews with the customers confirmed that project managers often run projects very similar to the those that have been completed already in their organization. In such cases, recreating a full set of same deliverables and defining almost the same activities is a tedious job.

To save the project manager’s time, Exact PSA allows him to copy deliverables and WBS from an existing project to a new one.

 

Third, on fixed price projects managers often want to invoice per deliverable, and filling out all details of a new invoicing term request each time can quickly become unhandy.

To save the project manager’s time, Exact PSA allows him to create an invoice for a deliverable directly from the list of all deliverables on the project.

 

All these small enhancements are a part of the release 249/404 that will become generally available in the 2nd quarter of 2012.