Transcontinental Inc. : Automating the ProcessFebruary 2010
To be sure, Pugliese's team at ISC had done plenty of configuration work to achieve that kind of throughput. Whereas Switch enables users to configure and execute simple workflows, Transcontinental's workflows leveraged metadata and/or handled large volumes in complex ways that required more testing and troubleshooting. "There's a lot of preparation that goes into automated workflows, and you have to troubleshoot carefully," he says. "But, once you categorize and organize and dial in the flow, it tends to work very well."
Having achieved success with images, the ISC is now deploying Switch to automate other tasks. One initiative involves using metadata to automatically retrieve files from a digital asset management system and send them to a proofing system. For this application, Transcontinental is positioning Switch within its customers' ERP systems workflows to obtain comma-separated value (csv) files with the names of the files to be proofed. They are then parsed into XML by Switch, and used to query and "pull" the content files from a digital asset management system.
These are then assembled using scripts and templates, and transferred to the required proofing system (online or otherwise) and delivered to the customer—all without manual intervention.
Tying It All Together
Given the scale of Transcontinental's operations, Switch's ability to fit in with a variety of third-party applications and tie together disparate operations is key. "We never look at anything just within four walls," asserts Pugliese. "We also evaluate how it lends itself to an enterprise, centralized or standardized style deployment."
Thus, Switch's ability to work with Group Logic MassTransit is a major benefit. Transcontinental uses MassTransit to enable customers to securely upload files into its system, and then uses PowerSwitch to route the files to the appropriate flow according to the supplied metadata. "We can point files from a browser or via internal IP directly to specific flows with specific task sets, and use sophisticated file routing to pull files out of Prinergy and put them back in," he points out.
Not surprisingly, Transcontinental has pushed Switch—and its partner applications—to the breaking point. But, by working with the Enfocus technical support team, the ISC has been able to troubleshoot workflows, identify problems and solutions, and get the flows to perform according to expectation.
Switch, now in version 08, is also benefiting from maturity and improved stability. By carefully testing the flows to determine how much volume a particular task can handle, Transcontinental has been able to safely deploy selected PowerSwitch flows into live production. "Now that we have invested the time to prove the concept and conduct tests, it's time to expand its use strategically." PI