Is linking up API Manager to another Database a lot of work

I need to enable my clients to view quotes and invoices, download quotes and invoices in pdf format, approve quotes and upload purchase orders. Email Notifications is also required, so when I create a new quote - the helpdesk emails the client or if the client has not approved the quote within 20 days a reminder is sent etc.

I already have a helpdesk in place where my clients can login to create new Tickets etc. The helpdesk has email notification in place when tickets are created/updated. So most of the functionality is already present in the helpdesk in terms of customer names, email functionality and the layout/format of the current helpdesk system.

Essentially all I would need to do is get the helpdesk to read the Manager database and pull the above information across into a new page(s) that I would create to display quotes, orders etc.

Unfortunately I have not got the money to get the person who designed the helpdesk to upgrade it to use Manager to pull the Client’s accounting records through. So I am going to see if I can do this myself using Chatgpt and failing that, ask my sister who knows about enough programming to get the job done.

But I just want a rough idea of whether I am looking at hours, days or weeks to do this particular job. I just want the clients to do what I listed above. I appreciate that every helpdesk is different etc. I just want a rough idea of how much is involved in pulling the api information into a Sql Server database and just creating the pages that will display the data essentially.

Does Manager’s API still work properly?

It can be done through API not directly through SQL. I would lie if I say that it is an easy thing to be done but if I can suggest I would use some automation tool as N8N instead of starting from scratch with custom coding since the script can be easily updated.

Does n8n just connect manager to my helpdesk or does the client login to n8n itself and access the data on n8n which I think what n8n is doing. I want the client to see everything they need from within the helpdesk system.

When I talk about Sql Server I am mainly talking about creating the pages or gui that the client says when viewing the data. I would imagine that is .net being used for the coding. I understand that the data is never stored in sql database itself.

Yes, it does work properly and as you said, you will have to recreate the pages to display the documents in TeamDesk.

You can do the integration in the backend so your clients will not be involved in any way.

Please note that Manager uses Sqlite not SQL Server, they are very different.

@eko the SQL Server I am referring to is my helpdesk system.

I will have a look at Chatgpt and then n8n to see what can be done.

Would integrating the customer portal (maybe a link) into the helpdesk portal for each customer be an alternative? This could answer some of the requirements.

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Unfortunately not. While this will address the issue of MFA authentication and security as you would have to login to the helpdesk first, it doesn’t address the main issues I need to resolve.

Clients need to be able to upload a purchase order in relation to a quote.
Clients need to be able to approve a quote.
Clients need to be automatically chased up to approve/decline a quote after 20 days

The Customer Portal simply doesn’t support these features.

I will have a look at how the Manager email option works - all I really want the email to achieve is to notify clients that there is a new quote/order/invoice that needs something doing with it! I don’t need (and actually don’t want) the emails to include the quotes/orders/invoices.

If the Customer Portal could support the three requirements and Manager email works as a notification system, then it would be doable to do as you suggest. But I have been waiting two years for the Customer Portal to have any features implemented that would make it suitable for production use and I have given up waiting.

So I need to see if I can do the work myself on my helpdesk.

Your work flow does sound business specific and your requirements not really accounting to me.

I think that is sensible.

Maybe Manager should email your help system, then your help system can perform the user interface component.

I don’t think that my requirements are that specific to my business. It depends on whether you are a business to business provider or whether you are a business to general public provider. For the general public, this work process would not work. For Business to Business Provider again this would not work if you work in a field where you have lots of one off business customers. But if you provide annual contracts to businesses which usually get renewed every three years etc, then you have an ongoing relationship where there is usually a lot of repeat business from the same clients.

Sending a quote and then having the ability to automatically remind/chase up client regarding a quote to me would apply to any business where clients ask for quotes. This doesn’t really need to be linked up with my helpdesk. Manager itself should be configured to automatically send an email to a client if a quote is older than say x number of days. I think this would be a very useful feature for most businesses as I am sure most us of have experienced the problem of having to chase up clients for outstanding quotes. The problem in most cases is the client simply has not got around to getting back to us.

Many businesses and in particular public sector organisations are not allowed to buy anything without raising a purchase order first. Why require the client to send the PO via email when they can approve the quote and upload the PO at the same time. I would consider this part of standard accounting requirements as public sector organisations in particular are supposed to raise a PO first. In addition, if the client uploads a PO, they are then approving the quote.

So yes, not every single business - such as Amazon for example would work this way - but many business to business organisation - particularly when you are dealing with the same regular clients every year, my suggestions do fit accounting requirements. Why have a customer portal in Manager and then require the client to email the Purchase Order?

Any automation would require setting up of “Scheduled tasks” for Windows systems and “Cron jobs” for Linux / MacOS systems. This goes beyond the simple download and install and run philosophy and may when setup wrongly mess a system up. Also it would assume the system running all the time because it will take the systems time to run cron jobs or scheduled tasks.

So I do not think this is something Manager would implement or maybe only have some such system in the Cloud and Server editions.

I would not want to rely on scheduled tasks or cron jobs to automatically send emails. I know from personal experience, scheduled tasks on Windows is not very reliable - passwords change etc! I don’t think Manager would require this. My helpdesk system for example sends an email when a ticket is created, updated, closed etc. It does not need scheduled tasks or cron jobs to do that!

Anyway the point is moot as what I am wanting will never be developed in Manager. The developer created the customer and effectively abandoned any further development on it. So I will be doing this through my helpdesk.

All I am meant was that my three requirements are basically becoming standard requirements for many businesses where communication between company and client is done through a helpdesk system or customer portal. Sending quotes etc via email is just not the way to do things anymore!

I will be trying out ChatGPT in a few weeks time to see what it can do regarding integrating Manager with my helpdesk.