A Year in Review

Year_in_Review_Social

By Tony Scalese
Chief Customer Officer - OneCloud, Inc.

As OneCloud’s Chief Customer Officer, my primary job is to support our customers on their journey to building a truly Connected Enterprise. For me, knowledge sharing is one of the most important pillars to ensure their success. I’ve been on the team since November 2019 and given all that we’ve delivered and knowing what’s coming, I felt that this is a perfect time for a recap as well as a peak into what’s coming. Over the past nine months, there have been myriad updates and improvements and I want to take some time to highlight the new functionality that excites me the most, and why. Let’s get started!

Platform Updates

OneCloud Integration Studio had a number of significant updates that improved the ability of our customers to build efficient integration and automation processes. Here is a shortlist of my favorite enhancements introduced over the past nine months:

  • OneCloud Studio (Nov 9, 2019): The redesigned Chain builder was a quantum leap forward. The redesigned Chain builder is sleek, modern, flexible, and most important, easy to use. The ability to create branches to support parallel as well as conditional processing ensures that even the most intricate integration processes can easily be accommodated within OneCloud. 

  • Run Chain Event (Dec 21, 2019): Reusability is a key concept in any Enterprise system. The Run Chain Event provides a powerful mechanism for creating Chains with a specific purpose (for example, error handling actions) and then invoke this Chain as needed by other Chains. This significantly enhances the efficiency of building and maintaining OneCloud integrations. 

  • GroundRunner installer for Windows (Feb 22, 2020): I’m not ashamed to admit, and while I can handle command-line execution, I don’t like using it. I prefer a user interface and I don’t think I’m alone in this. Hence, the introduction of the OneCloud Windows installation wizard was a welcomed addition to the OneCloud configuration process and I believe these seemingly small enhancements, greatly improve the experience of many of our business users.

  • Skipped Branches (April 25, 2020): OneCloud Integration Studio continues to enhance its branching logic with the addition of functionality to merge multiple conditional branches and bypass the requirement that the previous Command needed to execute in order for the downstream Commands to complete. This recent blog highlights these capabilities and their use in more detail.

  • Favorite Runner (May 16, 2020): There is a good chance that you’ve made the same mistake I have. You’re building a Chain and didn’t pay attention to the Runner selected. You publish and execute the Chain, it fails with error code “unable to access file”. With the introduction of the concept of Favorite Runner, this is a thing of the past as you can now flag a Favorite Runner for a Connection. The Favorite Runner can be overridden but this enhancement streamlines the Chain development process and reduces the chance of a configuration error.

  • OneCloud Academy (June 26, 2020): We launched the OneCloud Academy, an online Learning Management System (LMS) to ensure you get the most out of OneCloud from the start. A free introductory course is already available and more courses will be added over the coming 4-6 months. Stay tuned for more announcements. 

  • New Command Groups (June 27, 2020): Command Groups can now include Events like ‘Run Chain Event’ and 'Conditionals. This allows you to iterate (loop) over a set of Commands and Events and take conditional (branching) actions based on the Command results within the Group. Like Skipped Branches, this further adds to the possibilities for efficient and intelligent integration with OIS.

  • Result Text & Enhanced Output Interpretation (July 8, 2020): With the new Chain Event, ‘Set Result Text’, you can add additional information to any Command or Chain at the time of execution. I like to think of these as breadcrumbs for the end-user to help identify key information when a Chain runs.

    In addition, ‘Enhanced Output Interpretation’ is a handy mechanism to account for both the technical and functional execution status of the Command. For example, while a data load to a system may complete, certain records could fail to load due to master data needing to be refreshed. So while the Command completed successfully from a technical point of view, functionally, it did not. With the Enhanced Output Interpretation feature, Command output (e.g., log) is read for key information and can override the technical status when warranted.  

  • Revert Chain (August 8, 2020): Ever make an update, or two, or ten, and then wish you could have an undo button? With Revert Chain you can simply restore a prior published version. 

  • Enhanced Monitor View (August 8, 2020): I can’t say it enough, “Data is king and reporting is only as good as the data”. While all of the new platform features help create robust and flexible integrations, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention OneCloud’s improved process reporting capability to interpret the results of a OneCloud process. The new monitor view provides a snapshot of each node in the Chain and if you require more detailed information simply click on the individual node to open the log window. Combined with the Set Result Text Event, the Enhanced Monitor View provides insight into the critical information to understand the health of your integration processes.  

BizApp Enhancements

In addition to all this new platform functionality there are also a number of BizApp enhancements that really excite me. I tried to stay agnostic as I want to speak to the broadest audience possible but in some cases, I couldn’t help but highlight specific technologies. Let's take a look at my selection of the many recent BizApp updates. 

  • CSV to JSON (Jan 11, 2020): A new Command was added to the JSON BizApp to convert a tabular data set to a JSON object. With this new Command OneCloud iterators can loop over a JSON object and extract individual data fields. This is a true game changer as OneCloud can now loop over multiple rows and use the values in various columns to drive an iterative set of processes.

  • Anaplan REST API v2 support (Jan 11, 2020): Anaplan’s release of the second version of their REST API allows customers to interact more securely with Anaplan by using Certificate Authority (CA) Authentication. The OneCloud Anaplan BizApp natively supports this new version to ensure that customers can easily leverage this improved level of security. Here is the documentation on how OneCloud supports Anaplan CA.

  • Oracle Essbase ASO High Speed Extract & Conversion (Feb 1, 2020): With over 20 years of experience in the Oracle EPM space, I remember when Project Ukraine introduced Aggregate Storage (ASO) to the Essbase community. While this was groundbreaking technology, it caused a major integration headache. Data extracts generated by an Essbase ASO cube have a proprietary format that can be difficult to share with other Enterprise systems. OneCloud’s High Speed Extract and Conversion capability addresses this challenge and provides a solution for customers that need to share data between an Essbase ASO cube and any other system. You can read more about how to use OneCloud to support ASO Extraction & Conversion in this blog.

  • Google BigQuery (Feb 1, 2020): Recently I worked with one of our implementation partners, Servian, that leverage OneCloud to integrate BigQuery and I get the sense that big things (pun intended) are coming for BigQuery. I’m excited to have a BizApp on the platform that enables bi-directional data exchange with this application 

  • Handlebars JSON Handling (March 14, 2020): When I joined OneCloud, Handlebars, as a technology, was new to me. For those who are in the same boat, in essence, Handlebars is a templating mechanism to derive values for templated variables at the time of execution and allows for integration processes to be automatically updated. With the addition of support for JSON objects, the Handlebars BizApp can now also easily loop over a data set, extract individual values from a JSON object, and update templates with values at run-time. For example, I used Handlebars to help a customer generate an XML output based on a tabular data set from an upstream system, which proved to be tremendously powerful and easy to implement. Handlebars are incredibly cool and if you’d like to learn more, here is an interesting article. Don’t forget the CSV to JSON Command I highlighted earlier.

  • Tabular Transformation / File Utilities Split File (April 4, 2020): When creating an integration, we start by building simple flow. Once we ensure the data is flowing correctly, we can start tuning the performance. The ‘Split File’ Command in the Tabular Transformation’ and File Utilities BizApp help to further enhance the performance of an integration. As we discussed earlier, the new OneCloud Integration Studio provides us more flexibility when building a Chain and we can easily leverage the ‘Split File Command’ to chunk a large data file into smaller data files. We can then use the parallel branching capabilities of the Integration Studio to process each of the files concurrently. Finally, we can merge the individual results back into a single data set. This enables superior performance simply by using this powerful Command and the native Integration Studio branching features.

  • SQL Upsert (June 6, 2020): Certain database technologies support what’s known as a “Upsert”. This function provides a native ability to insert new records to and also update existing records in a database table in a single action. Other database technologies lack this ability as a native function. To accomplish this action, a number of steps needed to be built. As a response to this onerous process, the ‘SQL Upsert’ Command was added to each of the database technology BizApps that OneCloud supports. This provides a user the ability to perform an upsert to any database technology using a single Command within a Chain.  

What's Next?

As you can see, we’ve been busy at OneCloud over the past nine months. But what’s really exciting are the other things that we’ve been working on behind the scenes and that will be introduced over the coming weeks and months. We’ll provide a more in-depth overview soon but here’s a quick preview.

  • Chain Templates: With the introduction of Chain templates you will have the ability to create preconfigured Chains (as templates) that can be used and shared to more rapidly deploy solutions for common integration and automation needs. This is helpful for customers and implementation partners that need to build similar Chains to support various use cases. 

  • Chain Documentation: We will be introducing a new feature that will auto-generate Chain documentation that can be used for reference and audit purposes. A simple click of a button will produce a report with each element of a Chain detailed in an easy to understand (and reference) format. 

  • Data Prep: And last but not least, we will be introducing Data Prep. OneCloud Data Prep is a brand new product that re-envisions how data preparation and harmonization are accomplished. OneCloud Data Prep is a stand-alone product and it is the perfect compliment to OneCloud Integration Studio when building a truly Connected enterprise t Stay tuned for an exciting announcement around this very soon! 

In summary, while we’ve been busy, we’re not even close to being done. I will continue to provide updates and insight as we release new features and functions. In the meantime, I personally hope that you discovered something new and that you are as excited as I am to continue the OneCloud journey. 

Note: For a full overview of all our new functionality and BizApps, I encourage you to review the OneCloud Release Notes.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please feel free to contact us at customersuccess@onecloud.io.