ARCHIBUS Product Architecture
Sites always deploy ARCHIBUS with the intent of delivering measurable business results. For this reason, the ARCHIBUS product defines not just the technology architecture but the business architecture for deployments. With this structure, customers can identify the business service and value delivered by the ARCHIBUS platform. They can connect the IT-spend on ARCHIBUS deployments directly to their strategic business missions and the change programs their division managers have put into action to achieve them.
By leveraging this structure as a whole, large organizations can align multiple levels of management and the multiplicity of user roles to new change programs. Alternately, small organizations or small implementation teams can leverage just one or more rapid-deployment applications to achieve transformative results that have in-year payback and that are visible to top management.
The architecture is described below with these sections:
Strategic management chooses the direction for the upcoming financial quarters and the specific mission goals and KPIs that the organization must focus on to achieve differentiating value. A consumer bank may decide to move its retail services to the Web and instruct its division managers to align to this directive by closing retail offices or repositioning them into wealth management offices. In terms of real estate, they may choose to measure short-term progress by operational cost per square foot, and long-term progress by net revenue per square foot.
Division managers initiate change programs to align the organization the mission. Real estate managers move to capture all relevant costs and properties of their portfolios. Operational managers initiate efficiency programs.
Department managers automate specific business applications that forward the mission objectives. They may use portfolio and lease management applications to tune real estate performance by describing existing holdings and by trimming the portfolio to just those with the highest value to the current mission. Or they may use cost, chargeback, and forecasting applications capture all relevant costs and prorate them to lines of business so that profitability can be gauged on real-world cost data. Workplace applications streamline the process of delivering services to employees and make the staff as a whole more effective at their primary jobs.
The results-oriented application structure runs through every ARCHIBUS application. These ensure that even very large deployments can achieve results in steps, with achievable, identifiable goals and in-year paybacks on the investment in automation.
Within each business application, ARCHIBUS provides role-based interfaces that let business process owners choose from a large menu of existing workflows, forms, reports, and analyses – or they can author new ones. Self-service customers can then use these services, workflow participants can move work rapidly forward within the workflows, and analysis users can use the reports and analyses to monitor measured results and their status towards mission goals.
ARCHIBUS is a multi-tiered, 100% Web-based application.
- Client Tier. Process Subscribers. To deliver features relevant to each type of user and to keep them as effective as possible, the client tier provides a variety of interfaces. The self-service interfaces are browser-based, intuitive wizards for requesting services – from space and moves to capital projects and catering, depending on which applications this organization has chosen to put into practice. The role-base interfaces for workflow users and analysis users show additional features relevant to these titles – such as a supervisor's planning board for work assignments and the total capital costs spent by program. Workflow users can also use handheld and smart phone interfaces to interact with ARCHIBUS for tasks such as work orders, field assessments, and approvals.
- Client Tier. Process Authors. Business process owners can adjust the workflows and service-level agreements within processes directly from Web-browser interfaces. Business process owners can also define new types of workflow rules, forms, and reports directly from the Web-based interface without coding. AJAX-based communications give a Windows-program feel even to Web browser interfaces. Advanced interfaces allow power users, BIM, CAD, and GIS users to use rich-client plug-ins to get advanced functionality. For instance, the Smart Client Extension for Revit plugs directly into Revit and uses Web Services to keep your portfolio of BIM models in direct synch with your ARCHIBUS enterprise data.
- Application Tier. At the application level, ARCHIBUS is a low-state JEE servlet that has proven scalability to many thousands of concurrent users. Benchmarks show that the ARCHIBUS application supports both scale-up and scale-out strategies. All requests – whether from a browser, from CAD, BIM, or GIS, or from smart phones – come through the same security checkpoints. You can use ARCHIBUS authentication or integrate ARCHIBUS with your own. You can also establish role, menu, record-based, or field-based security, and ARCHIBUS will manage this centrally for all users, regardless of the interface they use.
- Database Tier. At the database level, the ARCHIBUS architecture is careful to provide a clean mapping between ARCHIBUS objects and the underlying relational database technology. As a result, ARCHIBUS databases are highly scalable as they leverage the native optimization, scaling, and clustering features of the database.
- Connectivity. GIS. ARCHIBUS connects directly to other servers and systems. ARCHIBUS can connect to GIS servers either directly at the level of the spatial database or indirectly through Web Services (e.g. ESRI ArcGIS Online services).
- Connectivity. ERP. The ARCHIBUS Connector can use a variety of methods – including LDAP, flat-file, database, and Web Services – to connect ARCHIBUS data and workflows directly to other systems within your ERP suite.
ARCHIBUS has these distinguishing characteristics.
- Business-driven structure. The lock-step alignment of the technical architecture to the driving business architecture lets organizations define their ARCHIBUS IT needs and budgets in terms of organizational imperatives, rather than in terms of technology wish-lists. This strong structure is the result of decades of best-practice improvement, and gives a means of aligning data, functions, network, personnel, time, and business motivations towards a common goal.
- Applications organized by business function and role. The role-based structure of the product encompasses not just language, currency, desktops, and security; but goes deep into the logical structure of the applications to provide rapid deployment. For instance, in the domain of “on-demand” maintenance, the requestor, supervisor, and craftsperson roles are pre-defined, and need only be assigned to users in order to create their interface.
- Intrinsic Web Service interoperability. The Web Services infrastructure within the ARCHIBUS product delivers a wide range of functionality – from workflow, to data services, to graphics services – to provide unusually high semantic interoperability within the service-oriented architectures (SOA) that drive modern businesses . Consistent with SOA principles, this structure lets organizations re-use existing data, systems, and processes as they move to new missions – rather than having to reinvent them.
- Flexible deployment configuration. The low-bandwidth requirements of the Web browser interface and the ARCHIBUS rich-clients let organizations work in uncommonly flexible deployments. Regional or multi-national deployments can use centralized servers, as can outside field personnel, outside contractors, service providers. Even outside architects, or CAD and BIM specialists overseas can connect to the ARCHIBUS server, making even graphics work highly distributable with a low training requirement. For instance, your architects do not need to install or learn ARCHIBUS, just the BIM or CAD interface features, and yet their work can remain in lock-step. Finally, all ARCHIBUS servers can be located in-house or in the cloud, offering great potential for infrastructure cost reduction, scalability, or Software as a Service (SaaS) deployments.
- Meta-data driven architecture. The role-based interfaces, dashboard, navigators, forms, reports, and workflow features are all based on a meta-data dictionary that makes even fundamental additions to the product automatically propagate through all client, application, and database layers. Wizards for defining new service-level agreements, workflow rules, new edit forms and reports, and role-based dashboards enable business process owners to control the look and behavior of their deployment without needing to be IT specialists or coders.
- Integration. Whether it is delivering immediate validation on BIM data via Web Services or integrating GIS, CAD, OLAP, and vector interfaces for interactive Gantt charts, calendars, gauges, KPI metrics and dashboard controls, ARCHIBUS hews to a level of integration not seen in other packages. This integration allows users to focus on functional results, and not on the underlying technologies, network or data storage needed to deliver these results.
- Business process framework language. Even within narrow vertical segments -- such as laboratory space planning, or real estate management for the insurance industry -- business requirements and industry regulations lead to a broad variety of practices. For this reason, ARCHIBUS contains a business-function and role framework that captures processes and results in a manner that is clearly expressed and easily shared in a high-level semantic vocabulary. The result is that the application itself has a broad library of business processes -- all carefully cataloged by the type of organization that would best benefit from that methodology. Organizations can deploy rapidly by using existing workflows rather than inventing their own.
- Harmonious object to relational mapping. ARCHIBUS provides an object-oriented user interface and Add-In Manager API, yet these mesh powerfully with the underlying relational technologies which Microsoft and Oracle have spent decades perfecting. The primary result is a flexible, modern application that can nevertheless make best use of the native scalability and clustering power of these platforms. A secondary result is that enterprise and legacy system integration is quick and natural. This architecture structure stands in contrast to many object-based systems that have an awkward data persistence causing scalability bottlenecks. This architecture also provides a greater richness for deriving organizational meaning than competing workflow systems that have grown up from document management systems, and do not effectively index their data in a scalable manner for business intelligence, routing, automation, and control.