j

The Intelligent MDM Blog

Semarchy Convergence 1.3: Designing MDM Applications

In a previous post, I introduced Convergence 1.3 and gave an overview of the new features enabling users to access and contribute to the MDM hub in a business-friendly way. In this post, I will provide more details about applications from the design-time perspective.

In Semarchy Convergence for MDM, you work on a logical model. This model is defined with entities composed of attributes and linked through relationships. Have a look at the screenshot below and you'll get the overview of a simple model.

Such an MDM model is comprehensive. It contains all the entities, attributes and relationships required for all use cases and domains.

Applications in Convergence 1.3 allow you to create specialized objects and views for business use cases. Based on the logical model, groups of business users will want to see different views of the master data in dedicated applications. For example:

  • All users would have access to the hierarchy of managers and employees;
  • The HR department would want to access the same hierarchy, with detailed information about employees (salary, hire date, etc.);
  • Sales representatives would want to see the accounts (customers) and their contacts;
  • Sales Managers would want additional information about the employees that actually manage some customers;
  • And finally, the finance department would want to have full access to the hierarchy of cost centers and their reporting employees.

To provide such specific use-case-oriented views, applications use Business Object Views, which associate Business Objects and Table/Form Views.

Wait! Have I been too fast? Let's rewind...

Business Objects

Business Objects represent a subset of the entities of the model organized in a business friendly way.
Figure 2 displays the definition of a business object for displaying the hierarchy of cost centers and attached employees.

This business object is defined with a Root Entity Object (in this case the Cost Center entity) and transitions - corresponding to relationships - to include related entities. There are two transitions in this model:

  • The self-relation on the Cost Center is used to show the infinite-depth hierarchy of cost centers
  • The relationship betweeen employees and cost centers will show the employees belonging to a cost center at any level of the hierarchy.

Note that the Root Filter filters the top-level cost centers of the hierarchy to include only those with no parent cost center.

Such a business object appears to the business users in the form a hierarchy as shown on Figure 3.

The root cost centers (Administration, Human Resources, IT, etc.) appear at the top of the hierarchy, with their attached Child Cost Centers and Reporting Employees. You can expand the Child Cost Centers node to drill down the hierarchy of cost centers.
All the labels ("Child Cost Centers", "Reporting Employees") are part of the business object definition, and can be internationalized.

Views

When a business user selects a cost center in the application, it appears in a master/detail page showing this cost center as well as the various sub-tabs that display the attached Child Cost Centers and Reporting Employees, as shown in Figure 4 below.

The layout of this page is defined within a Business Object View, which uses reusable Form Views and Table Views. In our example, the Cost Center page uses a form view to display the details of the Cost Center entity and two specific table views to display the "Reporting Employees" and "Child Cost Centers" lists.

Table View


Table Views are simply lists of attributes or expressions transforming attributes from an entity (or any referenced entity), as shown in Figure 5.

This table view - used to display the Reporting Employees list - exposes a set of attributes from the Employee entity. As you can see, the LastName attribute is transformed to uppercase for this view. Table views support transformed or combined attributes as well as customized labels.

Form View


Forms Views display fields grouped into Sections, in a multi-columns layout. The fields can be attributes, transformed attributes, and can include links to navigate across entities (For example, a link to navigate from an employee to his manager).

Figures 6 and Figure 7 show the definition of the form view for the Cost Center (with two sections) and the definition of the first section in this form.

To maximize the reusability of the developments, form and table views can be reused in several business object views. Both table and form views support labels customization for each visible element and internationalization to deliver the application in the user's language and locale.

So, why is it so great?

The approach for designing applications is based on the logical model which contains the entities, attributes and relationships.

To design an application based on a model:

  1. You assemble entities through their relationships into business objects to create reusable business-driven artifacts;
  2. You define reusable table and form views to design the layout of the entities used in the business objects;
  3. You create Business Object Views in your applications to combine the business artifacts (business objects) and the reusable layout components (table/forms view).

The result is a user friendly application running in a web browser, including hierarchies and link navigation, master/detail pages, master data lineage, without entering a single line of code.
The entire application design is performed in the Semarchy Convergence Workbench editors (those shown in the figures above), and the technical bits are entirely generated by the platform.

What Else?

The core capabilities of the Semarchy Convergence platform apply to the applications. This includes versioning, data lineage and fine grained security.

Applications designed and generated with Semarchy Convergence provide business users with a rich user experience supporting search, filtering, sorting and Microsoft Excel export. They expose Human Workflows to managing data in the hub. Applications also include a Home Dashboard that provides the status of the entire MDM Hub for business users on a single page, including ongoing workflows, assigned activities, detailed metrics of the hub as well as the status of the data certification jobs.

Learn More!

In future posts, you will discover how business users navigate and interact with the content of the MDM hub through the applications generated with Semarchy Convergence.