by CData Software | October 27, 2022

Q&A with Product Manager Raunak Bhojwani: What’s New in CData Arc

CData Arc has evolved rapidly over many years to become a powerful tool for modern B2B integration. Today, we are excited for our users to explore how the latest update to CData Arc continues to simplify and augment workflows with your business partners.

Raunak Bhojwani, CData Arc Product Manager, chatted with us to unpack what’s new with CData Arc, including:

  • Arc Vault,
  • Flow API,
  • New connectors including FHIR,
  • Batch groups enhancements, and
  • Embedded sample flows.

Q: Can you give us a bit of background on yourself and your role here at CData?

Bhojwani: As the product manager for CData Arc, I stay really close to customers to understand their stories and incorporate that market feedback into our roadmap.

I studied engineering at Dartmouth and went directly into my early engineering roles at CData, where I worked on CData Arc right from the start. I've been at CData for a bit more than four years now, working on Arc to build a product that increasingly fits the market’s needs.

Q: What can users expect in the latest CData Arc release?

Bhojwani: There are a few big CData Arc releases that I’m excited to highlight.

The Arc Vault we’re introducing is, in a way, quite similar to a password manager tool, but instead of managing passwords, you're managing variables in a global settings “vault” that you repeatedly access and use across all your partner connections. Every connection that references these Arc Vault variables will automatically update when changes are made from within the Vault.

The Flow API is another interesting feature that allows users to define complex operations inside of Arc using the drag-and-drop workflow design features, and box a REST API around that. They can distill a complex multi-step process into one API call and receive a response synchronously to that API call.

With every release, we also add several new connectors to empower CData Arc users to interact with more systems. Alongside new payment processing and accounting connectors like Square and Dynamics 365, CData Arc now has the FHIR connector to support secure healthcare document exchange securely over this federally-mandated standard.

There are also some crucial enhancements to batch groups. The ability to treat several different messages as a single batch is quite important to customers. For example, if you're a hospital and you needed to process 200 patient records, you can now treat that as one entity in CData Arc.

Finally, CData Arc’s new embedded sample flows essentially give users a library of templates to get started with. We've taken several commonly seen workflows and packaged them into modules that users can simply download and import into Arc with a simple drag and drop so they don’t have to start their B2B processes from scratch.

Q: Why is this release largely API-focused?

Bhojwani: Part of what makes CData Arc a modern B2B integration solution is its ability to support traditional technologies that have been around forever (like EDI and file transfer) while innovating our B2B solutions to be at the forefront of modern trends. In this case, our customers have been moving to a more API-centric focus.

Both the FHIR connector and the Flow API show two sides of the same API-driven coin. In essence, users want to interact with their infrastructure via APIs, which is where the Flow API steps in. Users also want to be able to communicate with their partners via APIs. Tools like the FHIR connector offer an API-driven alternative for document-driven communication.

Having both of these in the same release gives us a chance to go in the same direction the world is going with this API-focused future.

Q: How do you anticipate customers might use these features?

Bhojwani: We’re excited to now offer sample flows to give our users more ideas for different processes to build and automate. Since CData Arc offers a broad, flexible set of tools, embedded sample flows can help new users get started with the most common use cases. Our oldest users can also get inspired to leverage our newest features and discover how newer users are using the tool. We think that sample flows will get users implementing working solutions as quickly as possible.

If at some point users were to rebrand or make other changes relevant to partners, the Arc Vault allows them to issue updates much faster. Users can change identifiers and other variables directly from the Arc Vault rather than change the same piece of information in every single connector.

The Flow API will be especially useful as users demand more modern ways to interact with complex operations. For example, users can turn the three-step translation of an EDI document into JSON into a single step that retrieves the translated JSON file with an API call. This EDI transformation as an API call (or EDI as API) is a simple example of the Flow API in use — but it's extensible across the board.

Q: What does the roadmap for Arc look like in the coming months?

Bhojwani: We have some very interesting things coming to CData Arc in 2023.

Namely, there will be a new import-export experience that gives users a lot more control. This has implications in migration situations for backups — and even for simply sharing solutions between departments or from a customer to a support team.

One of the bigger projects coming up is the addition of a new dashboard and message tracking pages in CData Arc to give users a dedicated dashboard and log page with customizable widgets.

We're quite excited to see what CData Arc users do with the flexibility that these features provide — and we're looking forward to continuously improving our solutions as time goes on.

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