Odoo Middleware: New Opportunities for Optimization

Odoo Middleware: New Opportunities for Optimization

At Blue Stingray, we’ve built our business with Odoo. We use the open-source platform as our internal enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, and we’ve built our reputation by creating custom Odoo apps and extensions for organizations in a wide variety of industries.

But while custom apps can address many implementation bottlenecks, occasionally our Odoo experts need to consider other options. Below, we’ll explain how a unique problem compelled our team to think laterally.

 

The Problem: Importing Bank Statements in Odoo

One of the major advantages of Odoo is its inherent capabilities for process optimization. The ERP is flexible and scalable; features can be trimmed out, and custom apps can provide additional functionality to meet the unique needs of each business.

But while Odoo is powerful, no ERP is 100% compatible with every file type and format. EmRiver, Inc., is a creator of hands-on river models for teaching and research. The EmRiver team could not import incoming bank statements directly into Odoo: Each statement would require a considerable amount of manual work to convert the data to a compatible format. 

 

The Concept: Custom Middleware for Odoo

Blue Stingray developed a concept for a middleware application, which would accept bank statements and convert them to Odoo-compatible import sheets. This would enable the EmRiver team to avoid manual entry while simplifying the conversion process — and automate a time-consuming task.

Initially, the bank statements would be converted by a predefined set of columns to field mappings, depending on the bank statement’s origin. Over time, this would be changed to allow user-defined mappings to provide a way for new types of bank statements to be properly converted into the necessary format.

 

The Next Step: Identifying Potential Issues

While developing the middleware concept, our team identified potential bottlenecks. We identified several obvious candidates:

Properly Mapping Relational Fields

Since the application would be a standalone app, it would have no knowledge of what did or did not exist in Odoo: If a statement is translated to insert into a bank that doesn’t exist in Odoo, the import sheet would fail to work. To address this problem, the middleware application would need to communicate with the Odoo system. 

User-Added Mappings 

Some fields might need more than a simple column name change. If users needed to add new mappings, how would they insert logic beyond changing the column names? The middleware application would need to allow users to specify certain operations that can be performed on columns (such as addition and subtraction). 

Privacy and Security Considerations

If the bank statements were intercepted maliciously, private bank information could fall into the wrong hands. The middleware application needed to be secured so that hackers would not be able to access sensitive information.

While the project was only at the earliest stage of planning, evaluating potential problems allowed our team to assess the viability of the concept.

 

The Result: New Potential Odoo Optimizations Through Middleware

Blue Stingray’s concept for a middleware application opened opportunities for other potential projects. We recognized that a wide variety of data could be manipulated and transformed to work well with Odoo including:

  • API communication between systems
  • Odoo Imports and Exports
  • Odoo data analysis 

While this project remains a concept, our work greatly expanded our toolset. As Odoo customization specialists, we’re always up for a challenge; through middleware applications, we’re able to conceptualize new projects that differ from typical Odoo optimizations and custom apps. 

As a true open-source ERP, Odoo’s potential is virtually unlimited. Middleware applications can help to optimize processes when custom apps aren’t an option — and enable organizations to cut out unnecessary manual work. 

To find out how Blue Stingray can help you with your Odoo implementation, send us a message to connect with an expert or request an estimate.

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