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How does the Flow Information Platform work?

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Collect

  • The Data Collection Engines automatically collect data from multiple disparate Data Sources. They aggregate the data and store the results in the indexed and structured Flow Information Platform .
  • Once configured, Flow will continuously collect data from these data sources. Several data source types can be connected into your Flow Information Platform. For more information on the available data sources, see Retrieving data into Flow
  • Flow allows you to “backfill” historical data from your data sources, thus allowing you to leverage your existing systems and perform historical analysis and calculations on old data.
  • Data can also be entered manually into the Flow System using configurable Flow Forms. This manually entered data can then be used in further KPI calculations. For more information on Flow Forms, see How do I create a Flow Form and what types of Forms can I Create?

Calculate

  • The powerful KPI Calculation Engine  uses data already stored in the Flow Information Platform to calculate additional KPIs. The calculation results are stored in the Flow Information Platform.
  • Information in Flow can be aggregated (rolled up) from smaller time periods (e.g. hours) to bigger time periods (e.g. shifts/days/weeks/months). See What are Aggregation Methods?
  • Information in Flow can be used in expression calculations to create new information (e.g. KPIs, ratios, efficiencies, etc.)
  • Information in Flow can be contextualized by production events (e.g. how much electricity was used to make Grape juice compared to Apple juice during this month?).  See Events are Powerful!
  • Information in Flow can be evaluated against limits or targets.  See How Do I Configure Limits In A Measure?
  • Information in Flow can be validated and retrospectively edited with audit control and full version history.

Visualize, Notify and Collaborate

  • The Flow Information Platform is a single repository for all data collected (automatically or manually) and calculated. This makes it a perfect source of information for Reporting and Integration into other systems (e.g. ERP, Business Intelligence tools, SCADA systems, MES systems, etc.)
  • The Flow Server serves chart and dashboard information directly, without the need for re-querying the underlying data sources. This enhances the performance of the Flow visualization layer, making for a vastly improved user experience.  See What does the Flow Server do?
  • Flow makes use of a built-in web-based chart and dashboard server.
  • Flow makes use of a built-in messaging system to schedule the sending of information, charts and dashboards via various Notification Services (e.g. Email, SMS, Flow Mobile, Slack, etc.). For more information on Flow Notification Services, see Notification Services

Integrate

  • With the Flow Information Platform being a single repository for operational KPI and decision support information, it can also integrate and share this information with other business systems via the Integration Engines.
  • The Integration Engines make use of Data Consumers that translate Flow Information into a format that other systems will understand (e.g. ERP systems, Business Intelligence tools, SQL databases, MQTT, etc.). For more information on Flow Data Consumers, see What is a Flow Data Consumer?
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