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Patent Issued for Database, Process Flow Data Management Server, and Process Flow Data Managing Program Product

September 2, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- According to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews journalists, a patent by the inventor Akita, Toshifumi (Hyogo, JP), filed on April 22, 2011, was published online on August 19, 2014.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 8812471, is IPS Co., Ltd. (Osaka, JP).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Heretofore, one so-called ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) has been utilized as package software for establishing a core business system for a company.

"As a system on which this ERP is mounted, one that causes core businesses in a company such as sales management, purchase management, inventory management, production management, financial accounting, managerial accounting to cooperate with each other in real time, whereby information on each of the businesses is managed in an integrated fashion, is well known.

"In such a system (ERP system or integrated core business system), for example, there is also a data converting apparatus, which is connected to both an integrated business system that carries out information control of management resources and carries out communication of information with a first data format defined in advance and a plurality of information apparatuses each of which carries out communication of information with a second data format that is different from the first data format. By configuring the system so as to incorporate thereinto the data converting apparatus that receives an input of information with the first data format outputted from the integrated business system; converts the format of the received information into the second data format; and transmits the converted information to the information apparatus, convenience of the system is to be heightened (see Patent Literature 1)."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "Problems to be Solved by the Invention

"However, a conventional ERP system respectively registers data (containing data inputted by a user and data calculated from various kinds of data) acquired in each business process in dedicated data tables (tables) and manages the registered data. Namely, in the conventional ERP system, a table to be updated is different from the others for every input process such as a received order and a shipment instruction. In this regard, the 'input process' means a process to input various kinds of data acquired (or determined) by a manager of the ERP system into the respective tables in the business processes.

"FIGS. 12 and 13 are explanatory drawings explaining an example of a table configuration in a conventional ERP system. For example, in the case where a business flow (process flow) constituted by a plurality of business processes denotes 'inventory sales', there are five input processes including a received order, a shipment instruction, delivery, acceptance inspection, and sales. In this case, there are five tables for storing data on the process flow of the 'inventory sales', including a received order table, a shipment instruction table, a delivery table, an acceptance inspection table and a sales table for each of the input processes, for example, as shown in FIGS. 12A to 12C, FIGS. 13A and 13B.

"Namely, in the conventional ERP system, the tables updated for every input process have been different from each other. For that reason, association among a plurality of business processes that belong to the same process flow has been carried out by applying an identifier (in FIGS. 12 and 13, a received order number and received order description in the shipment instruction table, a shipment instruction number and shipment instruction description in the shipment table, and the like) to the data (process data) regarding the respective business processes.

"For that reason, in the conventional ERP system, specification of a table according to a kind of input process and an input of an identifier for other corresponding process data have been required for one input process. Namely, for example, in the case where process data regarding a business process 'shipment instruction' related to process data specified by a received order number 'A00001' and a received order description number '0010' (that is, various kinds of data stored in the same row as the received order number 'A00001' and the received order description number '0010' in the received order table) are registered in a database included in the ERP system as shown in FIGS. 12 and 13, there is a need to register the received order number 'A00001' and the received order description number '0010' in the shipment instruction table as the process data regarding the business process 'shipment instruction' in addition to a shipment instruction number and a shipment instruction description number for specifying the process data, a type indicating a kind of business process, and data indicating the content of the business process (for example, an ordering party, quantity, the amount of money, shipment instruction date, a shipment text and the like). This is a problem in view of effective data processes (for example, data a part of which is the same (for example, an ordering party or quantity, the amount of money, or the like) are registered in the plurality of tables.

"Further, in the conventional ERP system, in the case where a report according to a request of a user is created using various kinds of data stored in various kinds of tables, there is a need to search necessary process data by tracking an identifier of process data and to acquire them separately. For this reason, there has been a problem that a processing load required for outputting the report regarding the process flow becomes excessive in the case where the process flow contains a large number of business processes.

"It is an object of the present invention to resolve the problems described above and to reduce a processing load required for updating and/or searching data in an ERP system.

"Means for Solving the Problems

"According to the present invention, there is provided a database including: a process flow table, process flow data being registered in the process flow table, the process flow data containing various kinds of data on a process flow including a plurality of business processes; and an update condition table, update condition data being registered in the update condition table, the update condition data indicating an update condition of the process flow data, wherein the process flow data are data containing status data, common data and process unique data, wherein the status data are data indicating a progress situation of each of a plurality of business processes included in the process flow, wherein the common data are data common among business processes included in the same process flow, wherein the process unique data are data unique to each of the business processes included in the same process flow, wherein the status data are updated in the case where the process unique data are updated, and wherein the update condition data are data indicating a state of the status data.

"By configuring it as described above, it becomes possible to reduce a processing load required for updating and/or searching data in an ERP system.

"The database may be configured so as to be provided in a process flow data management server that manages the process flow data generated for every process flow and so that the process flow data management server includes a process flow data providing section for providing a part or all of the process flow data to a client terminal in response to a request from the client terminal.

"The database may be configured so that the process flow data management server includes: a process status receiving section for receiving an input of a process status, the process status being data of each of the plurality of business processes; a register determining section for determining whether the process status received by the process status receiving section is registered as a part of the process flow data or not on the basis of the update condition data; and a process flow data updating section for updating the process flow data registered in the process flow table in the case where the register determining section determines that the process status is to be registered.

"The database may be configured so that the process flow data management server includes: an unsatisfaction update condition specifying section for specifying an unsatisfaction update condition in the case where the register determining section determines that the process status is not to be registered, the unsatisfaction update condition being an update condition that has not been satisfied; an informing section for informing the client terminal of the unsatisfaction update condition specified by the unsatisfaction update condition specifying section; and a satisfaction determining section for determining whether the update condition specified as the unsatisfaction update condition is satisfied at predetermined timing or not, wherein the process flow data updating section registers a process status corresponding to the update condition in the process flow table in the case where the satisfaction determining section determines that the update condition specified as the unsatisfaction update condition is satisfied.

"Further, according to the present invention, there is a provided a data management server for providing various kinds of data to a client terminal, the data management server including: a process flow data storage section for storing process flow data containing various kinds of data on a process flow and update condition data indicating an update condition of the process flow data, the process flow containing a plurality of business processes; a process flow data updating section for updating the process flow data in accordance with a progress situation of the process flow; and a process flow data providing section for providing, to the client terminal, a part or all of the process flow data in response to a request from the client terminal, wherein the process flow data are data containing status data, common data and process unique data, wherein the status data are data indicating a progress situation of each of a plurality of business processes included in the process flow, wherein the common data are data common among business processes included in the same process flow, wherein the process unique data are data unique to each of the business processes included in the same process flow, wherein the update condition data are data indicating a state of the status data, and wherein the process flow data updating section updates the process flow data on the basis of the update condition data.

"Moreover, according to the present invention, there is provided a data managing program product for controlling an operation of a data management server so as to provide various kinds of data to a client terminal, the data managing program product causing the data management server to execute: a process flow data updating process to update process flow data stored in a process flow data storage section in accordance with a progress situation of a process flow, the process flow data storage section storing therein process flow data containing various kinds of data on the process flow and update condition data indicating an update condition of the process flow data, the process flow containing a plurality of business processes; and a process flow data providing process to provide, to the client terminal, a part or all of the process flow data in response to a request from the client terminal, wherein the process flow data are data containing status data, common data and process unique data, wherein the status data are data indicating a progress situation of each of a plurality of business processes included in the process flow, wherein the common data are data common among business processes included in the same process flow, wherein the process unique data are data unique to each of the business processes included in the same process flow, wherein the update condition data are data indicating a state of the status data, and wherein, in the process flow data update process, the data management server is caused to execute a process to update the process flow data on the basis of the update condition data.

"Effects of the Invention

"According to the present invention, it becomes possible to reduce a processing load required to update and/or search data in an ERP system."

For more information, see this patent: Akita, Toshifumi. Database, Process Flow Data Management Server, and Process Flow Data Managing Program Product. U.S. Patent Number 8812471, filed April 22, 2011, and published online on August 19, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8812471.PN.&OS=PN/8812471RS=PN/8812471

Keywords for this news article include: IPS Co. Ltd., Information Technology, Information and Data Storage, Information and Data Management.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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