Service Connect - Opinions

Hi All,


We currently use a 3rd party application to capture employees time called Dovico Planning & Timesheet. As part of our project to better utilize Epicor, the original idea was to move off of Dovico and have employees enter their time directly into Epicor. There are a few challenges with this, namely: user resistance to the change, needing to purchase more (possibly lots more) Epicor licenses, and losing the benefits of a web interface. Probably the biggest challenge will be that Dovico has functionality that Epicor does not. For example, planning tools for project managers and intuitive user interface that provides weekly view of time entered by project.

I could invest time and money to customize Epicor’s time entry screen to make it a better experience but I’m questioning if that is the best use of resources.

We really need the time entries in Epicor so I’m exploring the possibility of staying with Dovico and integrating it with Epicor.
My initial thought is that Service Connect would play a key role in this integration. Bare minimum, there would be a data dump from Dovico and SC would process it.

So my ask is, given the scenario above, what are people opinions on using SC for this and what are the opinions of SC overall?
I vaguely remember hearing mixed reviews of SC but I also see people in this group using it and recommending it.

Epicor Applications Manager
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All hail Service Connect, buy it, embrace it.

Hey Joe,

We ditched SC because of the cost. Right after we did the same thing and started using TSheets to capture time/expense. Since SC was off the table I decided to use a data dump to SSIS to reorganize and format, then that dumps to DMT batch files that SSIS triggers. Same affect but cheaper, at least for time/expense. We do weekly data dumps, if we had to do daily I would have re-purchased SC. If you’re willing I would try this method before pulling the trigger on SC.

As for using SC I liked it, learned how to use it fairly quickly. I saw a lot of potential but never truly implemented much for it besides little projects here and there. It seemed reliable for our volume, which wasn’t much.

I found SC to have a steep learning curve but it seems to be quite powerful. To me it looks more suited to handling multiple integrations so if you expect other integrations in the future it would be worth checking it out.


Service Connect…I used it briefly back in the day with E4SE, when it was version 8. It was certainly a learning curve and there where a few bugs. It had a lot of potential and dare I say not really marketed that well. Even then it was really fast. The examples of consuming an spreadsheet for expenses for Epicor Enterprise were really innovative in the day. Particularly to use the Service Connect Task Manager to control the workflow and have defined approval points with alerts during it, not to mention I don’t recall there being any simple alerting functionality in Enterprise at the time.

I would say Service Connect is useful for a person with no exposure to SSIS, or DTS, or access to their companies databases. The concept of the workflow is a great idea, but as mentioned earlier, can be a difficult concept to grasp.

It also allows you to ensure that business logic is used as well.

Ten years on and I have been using it again, Now with the latest release. Certainly there are a vast number of improvements since version 8!

I have mainly only used it for consuming .csv or excel spreadsheets, once again mentioned before using SSIS and manipulating the data with an end result of an xls or csv file and importing with DMT would work well. DMT is a lot slower. One other thing to note, and I cannot confirm in later versions (E9/E10), but if you have large values of estimated time against phase operations, entering time will be slow, regardless.

Service Connect as an integration tool: If you are using Epicor products then yes it works well. If you are using the .Net references it works well. If you are using anything outside that, then be prepared, for a bit of trial and error. Testing workflows can be a very iterative process, but the document tracking is a really useful tool to help nut out why a workflow is not working correctly.

We are just about to go live next week integrating Epicor ITSM with Epicor 9, for basic Case logging. ITSM uses Microsoft Message Queuing to send out event driven data, Service Connect consumes the data nicely once you work out you need to use UTF16 in the Code Page setup for the input channel. It took a bit of time and assistance to from Epicor support on that one. A shout out to Dr Tobi Vaudrey from Epicor Support there.

My next task is to use Service Connect to integrate with Jira. Specifically to collect worklog data and convert that to timesheets, along with bidirectional project information. This has presented a bit of a challenge. Service Connect does allow consumption of Restful Apis, but under strict circumstances, for example at this stage you can only import Restful references via http and not https. Service Connects encoding is base64, and for Jira cloud it is UTF8, So you can create a reference manually and it will work, but the response data is garbled. So with this version I am stuck at creating my own .Net assembly and consume the Restfrul api myself. I was a bit dissapointed with that, if anyone has any other suggestions I’d appreciate any feedback.

One of the interesting features with Service Connect is that it comes as two versions. A run-time and the full blown version with the design tools. I am not actually sure of the cost difference between the two, and of course you would have to consider the T&M for consulting/development to build the workflows. I am in Australia, so I am not sure what the depth of expertise in other parts of the world are from an Epicor consulting perspective are, here, is it a bit light on (at least from Epicor direct).

I do believe that Service Connect originally was developed from the Scala side of the business hence why the windows services start with SCA.

I am happy to discuss and share if you have any further questions.

Apologies for the long post.


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We use service connect quite heavily for approving POs and processing other data into Epicor. We don’t specifically use it for time entry, but we do use it for expense entry. There was definitely trial and error to ensure I was setting all the right data in the right fields, but now importing expenses for over 100 people takes only a few minutes.

We have it setup so that SC watches a specific shared folder. The payroll person drops a copy of the CSV file containing all the data for expenses. SC consumes the file and loads all the expenses. I added some error reporting, so any expenses that fail to be added, are emailed to the payroll employee loading the file and they have to be manually reviewed and entered.

It’s definitely a powerful tool that opens a lot of windows to help make various Epicor processes easier.


Thank you Simon for your feedback. This was helpful.

Epicor Applications Manager
DIRECT: 508.597.1392 x1625 | MOBILE: 774.826.9245

Thanks Bobby.
While you are not doing Time but are doing Expense, I feel confident that I would not run into any issues because it’s the same DLLs.

Epicor Applications Manager
DIRECT: 508.597.1392 x1625 | MOBILE: 774.826.9245

Hahaha, I knew Rob would be on the SC bandwagon… Or should I say, “Pulling the bandwagon!” Hahaha.

Service Connect is the nectar of the fruit Epicor. Basically it can be the answer to most of your needs to any application outside of Epicor, and much, much more.

Go to Epicor University and take a course in Service Connect. Then if you need help we’re all here to help.

np, thinking through this a little more for you, I would almost definitely opt to use service connect or some other program you can control and do calculations in and not the DMT. As i said in this post,I can almost guarantee there will be situations where you need to do some type of calculation on a labor entry, and if you have to rely on a user to do it in excel before putting in through the DMT, it will probably get missed or be done inconsistently at some point. Thereby diminishing your data integrity. [quote=“balmon, post:6, topic:35826”]
For example, when you have salaried employees, their hours get put into time entry, if they work more than 40 hours, it continues to use the same labor rate, which will artificially inflate the labor costs against your project. So we have calculations to adjust the labor rate based on how many hours the employee worked that week,

Don’t forget audit trail. I assume something will break at some point. Having that log in SC might allow you to have a weekend

I’ve used ESC for some time now, though mainly for pulling data out of Epicor through SQL and pushing it back in, based on a schedule. I have to say it’s a tool with a lot of potential with integrating with a lot of different systems. You can use the most current version (and I’d advise doing so) even if your Epicor isn’t the most version. I’m using ESC 10.1.400 for Epicor ERP 9.05.702A, and there are many bugs that have been fixed in the ESC upgrades since we implemented Epicor ERP.

For licenses, you shouldn’t need full licenses for time entry; just use the MES licenses which cost about 1/10 of a full license. If you go with ESC, get a Service license, so that ESC can use it instead of a regular license. If I recall correctly, it’s cheaper, and if you run out of full licenses you’ll still be able to use the service license, and if a workflow is already using the service license, the workflow will wait to use the license to become available again instead of erring out due to lack of licenses.

As great as ESC might be, Epicor support for it is really inadequate. Normally they can’t even determine what is a bug or not, and always say that testing is designing a workflow, which they can not support. Also, I’ve expanded my expertise with it much further than their support staff long ago. Any more, I just use support for verifying and reporting bugs that I’ve noticed, and have seen fruit in upgrading to the newer versions, resulting in the version used as stated above. Going this route, I’d advise getting in touch with a good contractor to learn if not develop workflows in ESC.

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