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Automated Data Exchange using BellHawk-Connector

Automated Data Exchange

An important capability of the BellHawk software platform is its ability to automatically exchange data with a wide variety of other systems, including ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and accounting systems as well as CAD (Computer Aided Design) and other Engineering Design Systems.

This data exchange is mostly performed by the Bell-Connector Automated Data Exchange Platform. Bell-Connector, working out-of-the-box, provides or automatically generates over 90% of the code needed to implement automated data exchange interfaces with a wide variety of systems.

Bell-Connector eliminates the need for duplicate data entry in different systems thus saving labor time and preventing mistakes. More importantly, Bell-Connector can intelligently examines data changes in each system to determine what information is important to users of other systems. It can then interpret these changes into information that is transferred automatically to other systems in such a way as to break-down information silos within an organization.

Bell-Connector is driven by sets of rules that can be configured by clients to meet their own unique data exchange requirements, often without the need to do any code development. This rules configuration is performed using  Excel spreadsheet imports, thus eliminating the need for any knowledge of how to code in "expert systems" rules.

Where more complex data translations are needed, users can write subroutines in Visual Basic to express how a High Level Data Object (HLDO) from one system is translated to an HLDO in another. Even here, all the work of retrieving the data from the source system and converting it to a simple HLDO, consisting of an array of  parameter value strings, is done by the Bell-Connector platform. This eliminates all the complexities of retrieving data from one system, using mechanisms such as ODBC, web-services, or an SDK, and storing it in another system using one of these same mechanisms.

Bell-Connector can also be used to import and export data in the form of comma-delimited or Excel format files. This can be useful where data needs to be manually reviewed or edited before or after data exchange. It is also useful for legacy systems that do not have modern data exchange interfaces.

Bell-Connector contains many mechanisms to ensure that these automated data exchange interfaces run reliably 24x7 without human intervention. This includes many error detection and correction mechanisms as well as a web-browser interface for remote monitoring and control of the transfer processes. Bell-Connector can send a notification Email message to an IT support person if there are issues with a transfer being rejected. The IT person can then examine and edit the HLDO that got held up through the Bell-Connector website and remotely resubmit the HLDO for transfer.

While Bell-Connector is primarily used for interfaces between BellHawk and other systems, Bell-Connector was developed as a generic platform for implementing data exchange interfaces between a wide variety of systems, which need not include BellHawk. Bell-Connector does, however, come with standard ODBC (database) and web-services (SOAP/XML) interfaces to BellHawk that expose all the commonly used BellHawk HLDOs for import and export. Bell-Connector comes with standard interface adaptors for a wide variety of databases as well as a number of specialty interface adaptors, such as for QuickBooks.

Bell-Connector is designed for team development of data exchange interfaces. It is recognized that different people are experts in the databases and external interfaces of different systems.  As such, Bell-Connector is designed to enable each expert to setup the rules relating HLDOs to the data structures in the system for which they are expert. A business analyst or programmer (if needed) can then setup the rules to translate HLDOs from one or more systems to those in another.

Bell-Connector is an open-architecture platform that can be used by a client's own IT staff, ERP consultants, business analysts, and other personnel to implement interfaces without need to use BellHawk System's professional services. But our technical staff is always available to help and, if necessary, take a major role in implementing automated data exchange interfaces for our clients.

For programmers developing their own software, BellHawk does also have an SDK (Software Developers' Kit) interface, which consists of a VB.Net DLL (Dynamic Link Library) that enables software, such as that in process control systems to directly exchange data with BellHawk. This enables process control systems to retrieve recipe data from the BellHawk database, for example, and to send back transactional data as if it came from a mobile device.  BellHawk also has a Web Services (SOAP/XML) interface to enable remote systems, such E-Commerce websites to, for example, send orders directly to BellHawk and to inquire, in real-time, about the status of those orders.

Please click here for more an Overview of the Bell-Connector Technology.


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