Introducing the Business Adapter Studio

What is a business adapter?

A business adapter is an XML file that:
  • Defines a connection to a data source (which may be a database system within your enterprise infrastructure, or other things including a well-formed spreadsheet)
  • Maps the columns from the data source to a standard set of objects and attributes that can be imported into the operations database for IT Asset Management.
Examples of business information that may be relevant to your software and hardware asset management include:
  • Details of your organization structure (to form enterprise groups in IT Asset Management)
  • Purchase orders (especially relating to software purchases, upgrades, and maintenance)
  • Contract details
and the like.

How is a business adapter used?

Triggered by the inventory beacon on a daily schedule you specify, the business adapter is read by the Business Importer, which then
  • Connects to the specified connection
  • Gathers the data defined by the XML in the adapter
  • Collects the results into an archive package on the inventory beacon
  • Immediately uploads the package to the operations database
  • Repeats this process for each of the other currently enabled adapters awaiting execution.
The uploaded packages are held in a staging directory until all previous imports from business adapters are completed, and then the new arrival is processed into the operations database. Thereafter the business information is available in the web interface.

How is a business adapter created and maintained?

Business adapters are edited in the Business Adapter Studio. In this tool, you can:
  • Develop the adapter in a protected, test environment, starting with templates that help keep your adapter compliant with the requirements of the central operations databases
  • Move the complete adapter into production.
Separately, in the interface for the inventory beacon, you can turn any production-ready business adapter on or off (enabled/disabled), and schedule the time of day when all your enabled business adapters are run.

Prerequisites

In brief:
  • System requirements: Included in the requirements for the inventory beacon. Requirements information is available in the IT Asset Management System Requirements and Compatibility PDF available from the Flexera HelpNet site at https://helpnet.flexerasoftware.com/.
    Tip: If your proposed business adapter is to import any spreadsheet data in the .xlsx file format, you must first install a 32-bit version of Microsoft Access Database Engine on the inventory beacon that will perform this import.
  • Installation: The Business Adapter Studio is installed with the inventory beacon. It is expected to run on the same computer as the inventory beacon, and makes use of other services that the beacon provides.
  • Skills: Business Adapter Studio is intended for users comfortable with data models and mapping between them. It is an easy tool to use in that context, and provides guidance about available options. Templates are included that complete as much as possible of the definitions for you, and there are sample spreadsheets provided for those who prefer to standardize their datasets in that medium. You do not need SQL experience, as the Business Adapter Studio running on the inventory beacon does not allow for any custom SQL.

What is not suitable for a business adapter?

Business data does not include any inventory of hardware or software from your computer fleet. Inventory is imported during the inventory import process, for which a number of popular inventory tools are supported in a default implementation. You can also create inventory adapters to link non-standard inventory tools to the inventory import. You create inventory adapters using the separately available Inventory Adapter Studio, which is a separate tool from the Business Adapter Studio.

A diagram of importing architecture

IT Asset Management (Cloud)

Current