Resource Data

Aspen Technology: How to Import Complex Data and Rewrite with Advanced Workflow Triggers

Workflows bring order and consistency to business processes and improve the capture and management of data and information. For example, workflows can be used by health, safety and environment (HSE) managers looking to improve visibility of plant safety events, shift managers in the factory looking to replace logging events or project managers looking for a better way to manage projects.

But workflows need to be managed to be “work”. AspenTech’s Aspen Enterprise Insights™ (AEI) team is excited to share news of two new AEI features, which make it even easier for users to extract the most from their data and manage their workflows more efficiently. :

1. Data rewrite with advanced workflow triggers: Users can write specific data about a specific event back to a selected data source.
2. Importing complex nested data objects in JSON and XML formats: Users can quickly extract data from other sources and then extract that data to send to other systems.

Pipeline workflow data

One of the strengths of the AEI solution is being able to route data to the right place at the right time. AEI has several different components to help users notify an end user when data is available.

The first of these components is the data object. This allows users to connect to the data source and push the data (often based on queries) into the platform. The next component is the Pipeline. We use the data object to pass data at the beginning of our pipeline, then we analyze the data to decide what we want to do with it, and then at the end, the results are displayed. All these steps are performed in the Pipeline function. When we’ve created the visuals and gotten the results we need, the final step is to notify users through our ‘Automated Triggers’ component.

Automated triggers can be created to perform multiple functions. It might be to let a user know that a new record has been created in a workflow solution, or maybe it’s an in-platform notification to let a community know that value increases on an asset to a level of concern and to keep an eye on it, or it could be to send data elsewhere. For example, when we performed a calculation on a workflow field value and want to send the result to Aspen IP.21 Data Historian. Using an automated trigger gives us this functionality and the flexibility to automate its visibility and frequency. To enable this feature, the first step is to add a trigger in a workflow by clicking “Automated Triggers”.

A brand new trigger needs to be added to allow AEI to send data to different query parameters whenever a condition is met.

By clicking on the “Send Data” option, the user can configure the data object through a list of different options depending on whether they want to send data to Aspen InfoPlus.21® (IP21) or Microsoft SQL Server, for example. When binding data to a form field, users have the option to connect to an existing Pipeline data flow and choose the output they want to incorporate. AEI allows users to derive form fields from Pipeline data:

• Single line
• Multiline
• Scrolling menu
• Date
• Text

The value that will be queried can be in the form of a fixed value or record data. For registration data, the user can choose a value from the different types of forms shown below.

Advanced Workflow Triggers

Within the AEI, there are more opportunities to extend the functionality of triggers to provide users with more workflow integrations. This not only extends the workflow tool to various use cases, but also supports complex integrations for product extensions that are developed by the AEI team. Data rewrites can be used by engineers or team leaders who use the workflow tool as a logbook. Log data can be sent back to IP.21 to be stored for historical purposes.

An advanced trigger for data writebacks has the following features:

• A push/post data object that can send data to an external system
• A trigger to post information from a workflow record to another system when something happens in the record
• A trigger that can be configured to include failure conditions to notify users that the process has not been executed

JSON + XML Embedded Data Support (SAP)

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a textual data format that encodes documents in a human-readable and machine-readable manner. JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) is a file format that uses human-readable text to store and transmit data objects containing attribute-value pairs and arrays. Both XML and JSON can be used to receive data from a third-party data source such as System Products and Applications (SAP), a popular type of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for various business applications.

Aspen Enterprise Insights is now able to import and interpret complex nested data objects to automate data import from external data sources such as SAP. The platform detects that there is nested data in the data acquisition process and allows users to extend the data with nested lists or records for ease of use. In the example below, AEI distinguishes between two different data types (XML and JSON) in the data acquisition process: a list of books in XML format and a list of cakes in JSON format.

Our customers use many versions of SAP. XML and JSON compatibility makes it easy to work with different versions.

Books and Cakes Nested Data Example

Users can then expand nested lists or records to access the data. AEI provides an option to choose which columns to include in extended data for future purposes and pipelines.

Data expansion steps can be modified to ease data transition and provide more flexibility for users.

After data expansion, users can apply different options like “Clean and Filter” to the data, which allows users to include or exclude all columns from the data table.

To complete this process, users can draw a wide variety of graphics. See below for populations in pipelines.

For more information, please visit the AEI Knowledge Base or contact AEI Customer Support.