Controlling Business, Not Strangling It


I have spent the last 12 months working on the latest release of Epicor iScala. It has been a fantastic experience and I am very pleased to say that the release has gone well. One of the most interesting features of the latest version of Epicor iScala is the introduction of the new Business Transaction Control Engine (BTCE). It is a bit of a mouthful, I know, but this new functionality allows customers to implement a level of control in iScala that has not been possible in previous releases. BTCE is essentially a rules engine that allows organizations to create a number of business rules within iScala, controlling what can or cannot be done based on one or more variables. As a business administrator you can effectively block specific types of business transactions or events from being processed.

Why did we develop the BTCE? Epicor works with organizations in different industries in different environments all over the world. We understand that most organizations are subject to some form of control. This may be internal or external control. As such, they need to be able to implement controls and ensure that these are adhered to at all times. This sounds simple enough and companies have been controlling their processes for decades. The problem with manual controls is that someone needs to control the controls. We worked with our customers to define a way of automating the control process so that we can help our customers focus on what they do instead of what they cannot do.

Control is good. We do not want controlled substances like explosive chemicals to be bought and sold without controlling who is buying and who is selling the chemicals. Customers need to manage this process and this has traditionally required complex add-ons/customizations or complex manual processes with a number of steps.

So how does it work? In a typical business scenario where BTCE is implemented, the sale of a controlled substance would be managed by a set of one or more rules within iScala. These rules are related to the purchase or sale of controlled substances. Each rule can be linked to a specific type of business activity as well as a number of other variables such as vendors, customers, products or even countries. Once the rules are created you may choose to define that purchasing or selling a specific product is only permitted when a valid certificate exists. This certificate is a virtual representation of a license or similar. If this exists you can buy or sell the product, if not, you cannot buy or sell the product. Simple! Yes it is, but there is a little more finesse to the BTCE than this very simplistic definition. I won’t bore you with the details as they would probably require several blog posts to explain.

Why is BTCE so powerful? The power of BTCE comes from the fact that this is configurable but also flexible enough to allow you to control the business without strangling it, preventing you from doing business. Within the rules engine you can define how and when authorized users can process specific transactions, meaning that the organization does not grind to a halt if there is missing paperwork or delays in the realization of a change in an organizational policy. The BTCE engine is dynamic and this means that if a rule is changed in the application or a certificate is entered, you do not need to go into the system and make changes manually. The engine will automatically update all the transactions impacted by the changes.

Who should be using BTCE? Governance and the reduction of risk within business is a part of the world of business that we all operate within. As such anyone that is doing business should be looking to implement controls within their organization to ensure that they are adhering to the latest regulations. The BTCE allows anyone using Epicor iScala to do just that.

BTCE is one of the many products that Epicor offers iScala customers to control their business. I am very proud of what we have achieved in developing it; I truly believe we’ve made it as powerful and flexible as possible without impacting negatively on the business of doing business.

Posted by Robert Sinfield, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Epicor


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