Demystifying ERP Integration with DriveWorks

   By Paul Paszkowski on August 17, 2022

DriveWorks is a CAD automation software used by many engineering and manufacturing companies to automate the creation of order-specific documents and SOLIDWORKS manufacturing data. The documents and data generated often either require information stored in the company’s ERP system or can produce data that can be used by the system.

Interactions between DriveWorks and an ERP System

DriveWorks implementations often need to pull and push data to and from an ERP system.

The information that can be pulled or read from the system includes customer details, item information, pricing, inventory levels and more. Virtually any information stored in the system’s database can be retrieved.

Any data that the DriveWorks implementation creates can be pushed or written to the system as well. Information can be filled out for quotes, items can be created, materials and operations assigned, and customer records created or updated. If it can be done manually in the ERP system, it can likely be done automatically with DriveWorks.

There are two methods of interacting with an ERP system: directly or indirectly.

Direct Interactions

DriveWorks can read data directly from any database with an ODBC driver as well as reading data natively from Microsoft SQL Server. If a company has an on-premises installation of an ERP system, this is an efficient method to retrieve data and DriveWorks has powerful functions that can sort, filter and process imported data. However, writing directly to an ERP database is dangerous and not advised – data can easily be corrupted – and this can invalidate the software’s use agreement.

Indirect Interactions

Indirect interactions with an ERP database are conducted through web services using HTTP requests, typically in REST format.

  • A web service is a data exchange system that uses the internet for communication and interfacing.
  • HTTP requests are the format that you use through a web service and the format used by DriveWorks is called REST: REpresentational State Transfer.

Indirect interactions using HTTP requests, often referred to as REST calls, are a safe and secure way to read and write data to an ERP system. For cloud-based ERP systems, this is the only method to interact with the application.

Process

The typical process for a REST call is for an application, such as DriveWorks, to submit an HTTP request through a web service to another application, the ERP system. Depending on the type of interaction, the web service will return a response that returns data requested to be read or confirmation that data was successfully written to the ERP system.

HTTP Request Format

As stated earlier, the HTTP request has a specific format that is required for interactions through a web service and DriveWorks has built in functions to facilitate this. Generally speaking, a typical HTTP request is made up of the following:

  • A URL to the ERP system’s application programming interface (API)
  • An action request in the form of a verb such as: GET, POST, PUT, PATCH or DELETE
  • A request header that typically contains some form of authentication or security protocol
  • A request body that can be populated with data that is written to the ERP system
  • A response header that typically contains meta-data associated with the data exchange
  • A response body that typically contains the data requested or confirmation of the data written
HTTP Request Format

HTTP Request Format

To learn how to interact with your system using REST calls, contact your system provider and request information on how to interact with the ERP system through web services. ERP systems will provide a link to the web service API help page that will guide you through the steps necessary to communicate between DriveWorks and your ERP system.

If you have further questions or need assistance in implementing an integration between DriveWorks and an ERP system, reach out to us and let us know how we can help.

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Paul Paszkowski

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