This document describes the output management solution in M3 Business Engine and is intended for administrators who need to set up, manage, administer, and maintain output in M3.
The process to generate output to be read by a user is started in M3 Business Engine, but is finalized in another external application. The content is created through M3 Output functions, and then sent to an external output management application for layout design and distribution.
A multi-level XML file is used as the output format. The XML file is highly standardized and fully extensible by configuration. Labels (field headings) are sent in the XML file, already translated to correct language (based on user, customer, or supplier). Numbers and dates follow the XML standard.
For best performance, standard XML file configuration delivered from Infor only includes the most important fields, but all fields in all M3 BE tables can be made available for the output function and added to the XML file. These are the ways to make additional fields available for the output function:
The main purpose of the XML file is to send it to an external output management application for layout and distribution. The XML file has multiple purposes and can also be used to create XML files used for integration to other systems.
For output to be shared with other systems, the output is triggered in M3 Business Engine through Output functions. Although no content is created, an initiator with keys to the related information is shared with an output service (Infor Enterprise Collaborator (IEC)). In IEC, content is created by detecting who is the sender, who is the receiver, and which initiator was sent. The correct definition is found for how content should be created and a script is run which uses the keys in the initiator to retrieve the correct information from M3 Business Engine using M3 APIs.
For more information about this type of output, see the M3 Business Message Initiator.
M3 Output is created by an output function. The output function can be a standalone function which has a purpose of creating M3 Output, for example, 'Inventory Value. Print Reconcil List' (CAS530); or part of a process, for example, 'Supplier Payment Proposal. Create' (APS131).
Output can be ordered manually or automatically. Output is initiated when a user logs into M3 BE and manually orders it. The order can be initiated several ways – for example, by selecting an option or using a function key for a business transaction, or by specifying output functions. Automatic output is ordered by auto jobs. How the output is initiated is determined by the output configurations that have been defined. The auto job user is the ordering user. The user and job data is used as the key values for the output definition selection search when the auto job initiates output.
All settings and configuration for M3 output is done per printer file (a technical instance serving as a unique identifier for M3 Output). One M3 Business Engine output function is connected to one Printer file, but you can also connect M3 Business Engine output functions to several printer files.
The Printer files are separated into these types:
Output classified as document is usually intended for external use. The content of the XML includes, in addition to lines, the header, text, address and summary sections. The layout is designed with portrait orientation.
Output classified as report is usually intended for internal use. The main content of the XML is lines, but it can also include a minor header and summary. The layout is designed with landscape orientation
The printer file type is predefined and cannot be changed. The type defines what XML structure format the printer file uses. The format determines the structure of the XML file, and the limitations and rules to be applied when configuring the XML file.
Printer file variants are used to indicate if there are differences in some form in the generated XML. For example, the output function 'Customer Invoice. Enter Manual' (ARS120) generates a normal invoice, a credit invoice, or a corrective invoice, where the credit invoice and corrective invoice includes more XML elements than the normal invoice.
The XML file to be created when running an M3 Business Engine Output function is defined by report layout. You can select different report layouts to be used by the printer file, since it is possible to create different kinds of XML files for the same printer file.
The report layout contains the XML structure (the actual XML file configuration) connected to settings that can add additional metadata in the XML file. This metadata is used by external output management applications when converting the XML file to a document or report.
The XML structure is a central component in M3 output management. It holds all configuration information for the XML file. All metadata for the XML file is saved in standard M3 BE tables so that you can configure the XML file using normal M3 BE functions.
The output selection can be based on the user who requests the output or based on content (object values).
Output selection based on the user
The most common output selection scenario is when the user determines the output. The user can determine the output based on different combinations of M3 application area or printer file and user ID. The combination of these values then determines an output selection.
Output selection based on content
In some cases, the output selection must be determined by one or more combinations of content within the output. For example, you may want to send purchase orders to all your suppliers by e-mail. Since each supplier has a different email address, the purchase orders should be automatically sent based on those settings. The receivers and the processing information are then retrieved as content from the output to determine the output selection for each purchase order. Therefore, the settings for each receiver of the purchase order override the settings for the user.
Infor Document Management can be used as an application for document design and distribution. M3 Business Engine has a built-in integration to IDM using the application Programming Interface (API). The integration supports these output media types:
IDM is Infor’s document management solution which provides a central repository for all business documents across M3 applications. From IDM, you can search for documents based on type or attributes.
Configuration regarding what document types, attributes ID, attribute values, and access control lists that should be used in IDM, is carried out in M3 BE settings programs.
Infor delivers a template layout package for IDM to be used together with standard M3 BE configuration.
OpenText StreamServe and OpenText Exstream, a third-party product, can also be used for document design and distribution using the tool StoryTeller. This receives the XML file from M3 and produces the finished document depending on its configuration. This configuration is also called a project.
Infor delivers a template StreamServe or Exstream project configuration to be used together with standard M3 Business Engine configuration. The template StreamServe or Exstream project configuration supports these output media types: