We don’t currently require approvals ( all buyers have a limit of 0.00), but want to start using them.
The problem is, the Project Managers (PM’s) that authorize the purchase aren’t E10 users.
Is it possible for a Buyer to be his own Approval Person too? Then during the PO Approving process they’d just note that the PM approved it (possibly copy and past text from an email from the PM).
It would be great if a system existed that would generate an email to the Approval person, and all they had to do was click a link to approve it. Not click a link to a Web Access version of the PO approval, just have the web server receive the “link” and somehow pass that onto E10 as a PO approval.
Full disclosure: we have 3-5 Service Connect workflows built, and if we had to do it all over again with hindsight being 20-20, I would have gone the route of writing custom apps/code rather than spending the cash and time on training and implementing service connect workflows. They easily sell you (or your management team) on Service Connect because it is not, strictly speaking, writing code and thus non-developers can use it, right? I would argue no.
This far into it, I would argue that Service Connect is extremely difficult to pick up and really understand even for a developer, and a non-developer, or at the very least a non-IT person, is never going to be able to grok it. You’re making .NET Assembly calls and visually creating XSLT transforms and (most likely) writing some SQL queries. If you think your computer-savvy accountant or scheduler is going to be able to pick it up and run with it after a few training session, think again.
Furthermore, the developers you hire or have on staff who actually learn how to use Service Connect will, eventually, see the light and realize “wow, what just took me 5 days to create and debug, drawing hundreds of little lines all over this complicated GUI would have been 5 hours of writing C# code and debugging it - and I already know how to do the latter. In fact, lots of people do!” Believe me, I was the last one to come to that conclusion at our company because I really wanted to cling to the notion that writing custom code is not always the answer. In the case of writing logic to make service calls to Epicor Business Objects to push stuff into or manipulate stuff in Epicor, it may be the simplest answer if you already have .NET developers on staff (or are looking to hire consultants).
Sorry, end rant - I just felt a little guilty convincing you to use Service Connect when we half-way regret going down that path at our company - but then every company has a different situation (we have 2 .NET developers on staff, I’m sure not the norm for manufacturing SMBs).
Based on your use case of not wanting to get your PMs into Epicor, I would recommend just having the buyers attach a PDF of the PM approval email. If you wanted, you could stick a BPM on the change approved method of the PO to ensure an attachment was made or else raise exception.
You have to ask yourself, what traceability do you want in the long run? If you just want a spot check in the event of an audit that you’ve covered your bases, then the attachment should do the trick.
If you want more reporting functionality that can be traced back to one user, then you might want to consider dynamically populating the authorized users of a PM buyer, perhaps recording the username from the apvmsg table if there are multi-tiered approvals. Then, if you still really don’t want your PMs to log in, perhaps go the route of service connect as Noffie suggested. The Epicor-provided service connect demo/sales pitch usually involves someone replying to an email with “approve” then service connect parsing the message and executing the approval business logic for that PO. There is a bit of a learning curve to get this thing up and working in your environment, then to actually develop the workflow, and then to put proper error handling and maintenance in place to make sure you don’t have to babysit it.
“wow, what just took me 5 days to create and debug, drawing hundreds of little lines all over this complicated GUI would have been 5 hours of writing C# code and debugging it - and I already know how to do the latter. In fact, lots of people do!”
This is absolutely the case. In my opinion, service connect is an ETL tool that was built for technically-minded IT generalists that don’t really know how to build blocks of custom code.
Must say I agree with Adam. Luckily we never bought Service Connect, but we did have training on it before to see if it was something that we wanted to get into, but after going through it, it seemed unnecessarily complex. And after looking at the cost for the module, it was an easy no, especially since we do have programmers experienced with .net.
Thanks so much for that insight on Service Connect.
I guess it’s kind of like the Product Configurator. While you’re not “programming” per say, it does take programming skills to implement and maintain. At least once a year a user asks me to train them on the configurator, But its a waste of time. The few that do understand it, don’t use it often (or at all), and forget it by the time they need it.
If you’re looking to have people who aren’t within E10 do approvals and also have multiple layers of approvals, have you thought at all about the Advanced Requisitions Management module? We’ve had it for about 5 years now and while it was a bit buggy in the beginning, the newest releases are very stable and user friendly.