In this Episode @josecgomez and @bderuvo discuss the new Epicor acquisition of Data Interchange and have a conversation with @timshuwy, Senior Principal Product manager at Epicor, about what it takes to take a product like Automation Studio to market and how this whole concept came about.
Tim gives us a demo of the product while covering some of the technical aspects of how it works and we delve a little bit into the Epicor development life cycle and how ideas are processed through as summited by users.
We had a lot of fun talking to Tim and having him be the first guest, so thank you so much Tim for agreeing to participate. We had a few technical issues while recording the Episode so the audio quality isn’t great (we are clearly still very new at this). We also had a few technical issues with the demo portion of the Episode, not on Epicor’s side but on our side. Turns out that recording 3 feeds of full HD video and audio takes a toll on your bandwidth. #TheMoreYouKnow
Regardless we think the information in the episode will be valuable to our community and we had a ton of fun doing it. We have, since recording the episode, gotten access to our own copy of Automation Studio and we will be covering a review of it from the user stand point in a later Episode, though I can say it was indeed as easy as Tim made it sound and we are very happy with it thus far.
This episode also features a brand new outro song custom made by our own @Chris_Conn! so hang around till the end to listen to those fresh beats.
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Thanks to everyone who made this episode possible:
Hosts: @josecgomez , @bderuvo
Video Editor: @josecgomez / @jgiese.wci
Music by: @Chris_Conn
Graphic Design / Concept by: @hasokeric
We hope you all enjoy the episode and let us know below your thoughts. If you have any questions you’d like answered by either us, or someone at Epicor in a future episode please send us a PM or an email directly to email@example.com and we will do everything we can to get you an answer.
We are looking for suggestions on additional guests we can have on the podcast so please send suggestions for that too.
The only guest I want to see is @Bart_Elia !!!
Oh, I see. I go on vacation and you buy and get to play with the fun products. #LeftOut
I would have one question which is similar to the EDA vs PowerBI. What would you respond with to someone who says Making a Connector isnt that hard and we can do the same thing with PowerAutomate. Given that some have built their tech stack on Microsoft.
What would you say are the Pro’s and Con’s of using Workato vs the countless of other tools similar to it out there.
I’ve done alot of this since E9 and using the SysRevID as my start-point etc.
As soon as we ask for a license our IT Department will ask us that question “We already have PowerAutomate”
This is probably a question for @timshuwy more than anyone else right now. But since we are working with it now, I’ll answer that to what I know.
The connectors that workato has is basically just a facade for UpdateExt using Rest, It give you the structure to fill in any of the the fields that you want on that BO, however, UpdateExt requires some fields, but it’s not always easy to know which fields. If the tool gains critical mass, and people can make the recipes and pass them around, then you get past the initial guesswork that takes a lot of experience (years) to get. Plus the recipes that are available for other systems that may not be familiar to someone like myself who knows Epicor, but not, say SalesForce.
Can all of this be done with Rest, and a hook from Power Automate? Of course. It’s not anything secret, but the fact that a lot of the ground work is already done for many common situations can help you move faster than you would if you were starting from base level.
Also, is it perfect? No. There are still some bugs and shortcomings in Epicors Rest API which flow through to Automation Studio. However, there are workarounds (like using a BAQ to get what you need instead of the stock Get), and so far, it seems flexible enough to most anything you need without C# code. But you can call you’re own functions if you want to go to that level. There’s definitely a learning curve with the new tool, but it’s shorter than learning C# on top of Epicors system.
Anyways, that’s my 2 cents.
Good Answer. I think it’ll be a while before anyone shares recipes. I mean No one built a Functions Sharing marketplace yet or BPM sharing marketplace because they build it on company time and can’t just give it out always.
I personally wouldn’t trust many Recipes. I’ve hired Epicor Certified Platinum Gold Master Consulting Companies and I have fired them many times due to lack of understanding the Epicor Framework or even Data Schema (cant get a BAQ right).
But I agree with you; The community aspect if we get that to work will be awesome. If Workato maintains some of the Connectors like SalesForce, SAP, Epicor, etc… and Epicor builds QUALITY Recipes.
The nice thing about “sharing” recipes is that when you get the recipe, you can import it into your TEST environment, and see all the stuff it does… because it is using a standard connector, there is very little (if anything) that is hidden. You would need to examine what it does, and make sure that it meets your needs, adding any UD Fields, etc.
I personally did download several of the general (non-epicor) community recipes to LOOK at, then built my own using Epicor as the center piece. IT is a great way to get ideas.
Re the Community itself, We (Epicor) are soon releasing an update to Automation Studio which will have an “Epicor Community” where Epicor will load recipes to share. Until then, I have several recipe packs that are in Zip files that I am sending to new Automation Studio customers for them to customize and use.
This is correct, with a couple of qualifications:
- we have exposed all the UpdateExt objects so that they are easy to access for the primary **create, read, update, and delete (or CRUD) operations (aka Postman’s POST, GET, PUT, PATCH, and DELETE).
- we also have SEARCH option which returns multiple records with one call within each of these objects
- Other features:
- We can call a BAQ, passing additional filters. The BAQ Results are returned as a list of data which can then be processed.
- In the near future, we will have the ability directly address an Epicor Function. When you specify this, the connector will lookup the function and will gain access to all the functions input/output parameters so that it is easier to address (Yes, you can do this with code, but this will make it a first class experience).
- BPMs can directly call an Automation Studio Recipe.
- Automation Studio Recipes can be triggered by data triggers as well, not only inside Kinetic, but from other sources (Salesforce, MSOutlook, etc). Some of these data triggers are “Live” (immediate processing) and some are deferred to be processed “every 5 minutes”.
ALSO… when the UPDATE.EXT process is not enough… for example, you want to call an API that Closes a Job… you can call the “custom” feature which gives you access to all the other API features.
Now this I Like! I thought it would be hidden/closed like a Connector or Readonly!
Plus your list above is awesome - its more integrated with BPMs what not. Awesome!
I would say much the same. I currently use Integromat(now Make) to push and pull data to external web systems (i.e. Saleforce, Knack, Aftership), but utilize Service Connect for the push into Epicor. Automation Studio looks like it could successfully do both.
Advantages for Automation Studio could be…
-Organic Interface into Epicor - much easier version of service connect
-Everything in one spot / better view picture of integrations
-Support (having one tool vs several)
-Time to moving existing routines and learning new software
-Some flexibility and perhaps speed / ease of creation - Epicor Centric can be good or bad depending on your viewpoint.
Power Automate I haven’t used but I assume it would bring a lot to the table from a Back Office standpoint. I don’t see it as necessarily an “either / or” proposition.
The solution isn’t really epicor centric. It’s white labeled workato. And very lightly white labeled at that. There are lots of people using workato who have no idea what Epicor is. The only thing Epicor-centric is the Epicor connector. Any other Connectors are centric to the product that they are connecting to.
Depends on your viewpoint I suppose. I understand it’s workato with Epicor friendly plugins and embedded in the Epicor User interface
There really isn’t any gray area here, Workato is a 3rd party product that has nothing to do with Epicor all you are buying is an Epicor connector for workato.
Epicor (to be cute / make it easier) added an IFrame to Kinetic where Workato is embeded but you can just go to the main workato site too
And ALL the workato plugins are available there not just “Epicor friendly” it is just a connector for workato and an IFrame if you are fancy, but we’ve been using Automation Studio since it came out and we never used the IFrame.
We’ll have to agree to disagree. I’m willing to share what I’ve done with integration tools like Workato (and could be done with it) and look forward to evaluating and possible moving to it based on some of the reasons I gave above.
I’m still not really sure what is being agreed or disagreed on lol!
I think there is some angst with my use of the term “Epicor Centric”
Oh, well sure that would make sense because it’s not. And that certainly should not be the impression given. Even if Workato and Epicor parted ways someday all your stuff would continue to work and you could log in from Workato’s site to continue using it. That’s about as non-centric as you can get. It’s 100% independent of Epicor like Zapier or MS BI Automate.