In our final post of our three-part series on Engineering Document Management (EDM) implementations, we’re going to look beyond new installations, including the EasyStart and Personalized implementations discussed in Part 2 and focus on the ways you can maximize the value of your Adept implementation with customization, integration services and on-going technical services.
As shown in the illustration below, Customization and Integration Services typically occurs between Phase 1 and 2 in the Synergis Implementation Lifecycle; however, they are also add-ons that come later, after Adept has been up and running. Ongoing technical services generally falls after Phase 6.
First we’ll take a deeper look at our customization and integration Services, and then we’ll drill down into on-going technical services offerings. These optional services range from on-going monthly consulting to remote administration, remote hosting your Adept server environment, and administrator training.
A Closer Look Customization and Integration Services
Customization services include data migrations and customer application development. Let’s start by exploring custom data migrations.
While basic data migrations are part of every Adept implementation, there are times when you may need to import documents and metadata from a legacy document management system or database application.
There are two common reasons for requiring Synergis data migration services:
- You have a very large number of documents scattered throughout one or more network drives and across various sites.
- You want to move the data from either an outdated, homegrown database, or an older legacy document management system into a new document management system.
A simple example is migrating documents stored in an outdated Access database. A more complex migration example is Dow Chemical, where we imported and migrated documents and metadata from more than 20 disparate, homegrown document management systems throughout the enterprise into Adept.
In either a basic or complex scenario, it’s important to gain access to all the data and documents, along with the related metadata or the detailed information about your drawings and other documents.
The Application Development (AppDev) team has completed hundreds of document and data migrations from other systems to preserve the intrinsic value of a company’s legacy database. In the process, they’ve refined a methodology for data migrations to ensure accurate data and maximum efficiency.
Data Migration: Step by Step
Let’s take a closer look at some of the tasks the Application Development team performs to prepare for and execute a data migration.
The first step in any data migration is a discovery meeting, where our Application Development team meets with your database experts. It’s an opportunity to laser focus on the quality of your data and identify any duplicate files; understand your version and revisions methods; and determine the health of your CAD drawing relationships. Based on their findings, the AppDev team writes up an extensive analysis of your data and delivers a detailed functional design specification laying out all the tasks of the data migration plan.
Next the team writes some custom code to extract, transform, and load your data into our Adept development system, where we assess, validate, and confirm the data’s integrity and accuracy.
Developers run your data through our custom “transform code,” which modifies the necessary data and builds the Adept database tables. As a result, every single document has a corresponding record in the database. Once the database is built, we place your documents into a test document vault.
The last step is when our AppDev team imports the clean, updated data from the document vault into your Adept system so it’s ready for you to use. Typically, the team does at least one test run of the migration to ensure all the data is correct. Once you’ve approved the “test run” of the migration, we schedule a date for the actual production implementation along with a date when we make the cutover from the old to the new system.
In some cases, a company may require a test migration in three different environments: A development, test, and a production environment. Depending on your data and your requirements, we can accommodate multiple practice migrations to ensure the best possible results.
Eighty-five percent of Adept customers use Adept out-of-the-box, however, there are times when the solution isn’t specific enough to meet your process and functional requirements.
Perhaps you require a custom feature, automation, or integration that’s not built in the off-the-shelf solution. Our custom development team can build almost anything you can think of, leveraging Adept’s powerful API and web services. Coupled with custom development annual maintenance, you can ensure your customization project is maintained by Synergis to work with every new release of Adept.
Another example of a custom programming project is when your document naming conventions don’t fit the constraints of Adept’s flexible Auto Naming feature. In this case, the AppDev team can customize Adept to better match your required naming conventions.
For all the customization projects, the team writes detailed functional design specifications, completes the programming and the testing, and helps you deploy the custom feature in your environment.
“Out of the Box” Custom Programs
Over the years, we've built a number of custom programs for companies that we’ve standardized and included as part of the Adept software. A list of all the available Plugins can be seen in the PlugIn Administration dialog.
One example is the Approval Authentication add-on, which prompts you to reenter your password to approve a document. The three other add-ons that we’ll touch on in this section include:
- Signature Approval
- Assign Workflow
- Multi-Version Handler
The Signature Approval Add-on
With this add-on, you are ensured that each document has a clear record of an approval signature and date at every step of a workflow. Approval signatures are tracked on the document's Data Card and can be automatically pushed to the document itself with mapped properties. This add-on can be configured for use with any Adept workflow.
The Assign Workflow Add-on
This add-on gives a user the option to select and initiate other workflows upon document check in (based on the options configured by the Administrator). The workflow assignment is recorded in Adept's Audit Trail and Workflow tab in the Document Dashboard.
The Multi-Version Handler Add-on
The Multi-Version Handler add-on combines separated revisions of documents in Adept into a single document ID. All previous revisions are ‘stacked’ in historical order under the same filename, eliminating all uncontrolled or differently named revisions from the system.
Now that we’ve wrapped up the customization application offerings, let’s look at Synergis’ Application Integration services.
Today’s corporate technology portfolios include SharePoint, ERP, Project Management, CMMS, and/or Asset Management systems. The data stored in all these business silos can add complexity and inefficiencies to organizational workflows and processes. That’s why we use our data integration platform, Adept Integrator, to better flow the data between all your disparate and disconnected systems.
Adept Integrator comes with many pre-built-in connectors for the most popular business systems. (See graphic for a list of our connectors.)
Common Integration Interfaces
If no pre-built connector exists, we can build a custom connector between Adept and other business systems sing our API, web services, or a direct database connection.
One of the easiest and most popular interfaces is to create a document URL that can be used in another business system. When someone clicks the hyperlink in the other system, they are automatically logged into Adept where they find the exact version of the document that they’re looking for in the search results.
Another simple and common integration is to trigger an automated process to move a document along with its metadata from a corporate business system into Adept.
We’ve also developed a powerful Federated Search integration that queries the data in all your business systems. With Federated Search, a user can search for all related documents in multiple business systems and then return the search results back to a custom (and common) interface. Users can click on any of those document results and view them from within their own current application or a target application.
Similar to the other customization work, the AppDev team schedules a discovery session with you and writes up the specifications and plan by which they are chartered to complete the work.
Ongoing Services: Monthly Technical Consulting, Remote Adept Administration, and Adept Server Hosting
Remote Ongoing Technical Consulting
Synergis remote ongoing technical consulting services is available on a monthly recurring basis and gives you dedicated time with an Adept technical expert via a Zoom meeting.
You'll have the ability to work one on one with our experts to improve your Adept environment, streamline any types of processes that you may have, remove roadblocks, and increase the value Adept brings to your organization. Once a consultant is assigned to you, they’ll get up to speed on your Adept installation; understand how Adept is currently being used, and the technology stack that you are using. They're also going learn about your business, what your goals and challenges to best provide strategic and technical guidance on selected projects.
What’s unique about this offering is that we do not provide a defined scope of work. There's no statement of work. You get a fixed number of technical consulting hours each month, and then you and the consulting expert determine what projects to accomplish.
Here are a few of possible projects and initiatives that we can do as part of ongoing services. But, in fact, it could be anything you want to accomplish.
At the start of the engagement, we host a kickoff meeting call where you meet your consultant and discuss the pending project(s). After the first scheduled monthly meeting, it’s up to you and your consultant to decide the next project(s) to undertake, follow up meeting dates and creation of a project plan, including work to be completed, and next steps.
The Ongoing Consulting is flexible--you can schedule either four or eight hours per month --and it gives you access to an expert to perform critical Adept projects without tying up your own resources.
Remote Adept Administration
Imagine an expert Adept Administrator on site from the very start of your implementation. They have hundreds of hours’ experience implementing and supporting Adept, with the authority to access to the Synergis Helpdesk team and to escalate a problem through the Synergis technical ecosystem.
That person is exactly who you get when you invest in our Remote Adept Administration services. All the key connections inside of Synergis are at your fingertips giving your employees the capacity to focus on company projects.
Similar to our ongoing technical consulting services, Synergis assigns one of our Adept consultants to be your Adept administrator. They are available to you for a designated number of hours per week (compared to hours per month). They can assist with any administrator functions: Training new users, helping people through issues, or configuring the system to maximum efficiency. Ultimately, their speed to project completion can lower your overall operating costs.
There are three tiers in Remote Administration Services
The Standard plan provides a dedicated Synergis expert for up to eight hours or one full day every week to manage your environment.
The Premium level includes a dedicated Synergis expert for 20 hours per week. At the Enterprise level, you get an expert for up to 40 hours per week.
The Enterprise plan also includes one onsite visit for up to a week per year. So, you can plan for your remote administrator to come on-site and work directly with you and your users. (The onsite visits are optional with Standard and Premium.)
Adept Server Hosting Frees Up Your IT Resources
Adept Server hosting lets you outsource the hosting of your entire Adept server environment to Synergis to free up your own IT resources. Couple the hosting with Remote Administration services and you have a turnkey managed system from one source.
Based on your specific goals, needs and the growth plans we work with you to design a hosting plan right sized for you. Here’s what to expect from Synergis when we host your Adept server:
- An experienced technical team will take the time to understand your business goals, technical requirements, implementation scope, geographic considerations, and future growth to create a server hosting plan that suits your needs and ensures success.
- The delivery of a properly scaled, high performing, complete Adept environment hosted on AWS and managed by Synergis with security, monitoring, backups, and disaster recovery.
- Optionally, setup multiple environments including sandbox, development, test, and production.
- Hosted system maintenance, updates, upgrades, and backups
- Environment replication for development, testing, and troubleshooting
At Synergis, we're perpetually looking for ways to improve our service offerings. One of the most recent enhancements to our training is to deliver our courses via cloud-hosted Desktop as a Service.
Desktop as a Service gives you a much better overall learning experience. It gives you access to both the Adept server and the client, as if the client was connected to a server via your network on premise.
What’s more the server appears on one tab of the browser and the client appears on another tab. You can then flip back and forth between the two tabs without interruption. To achieve optimal performance inside a browser, you only need a web browser e.g., Google Chrome, and a good internet connection. Plus, CAD applications such as AutoCAD, Inventor, SOLIDWORKS, and others run inside a web browser with the same performance as if they were running locally.
As far as training offerings, we offer a four-and-a-half-day Adept Administrator Essentials class for new Admins. We also offer an Adept Administrator for IT professionals training, which focuses specifically on IT subjects like the server components, IT requirements and infrastructure, and best practices to keep the system running, maintained and healthy.
Both classes are delivered remotely. They are hands and scheduled monthly as open enrollment classes.
Final Thoughts and Takeaways
Synergis services are designed and executed by in house experts with hundreds of hours of experience with customers across the globe. Because we perform all our own services, you can expect consistently high-performance assistance from some of the most trusted people in our industry.
Partnering with a trusted resource is where many companies fall short. So, ask yourself. . .
- Are we fully deployed in a way that maximizes the value Adept can provide to our organization?
- Would a custom developed solution fill a gap that makes our business run more efficiently or effectively?
- Would automation of data flows or business process between our business applications save time and ensure everyone is on the same page, regardless of what application they are in?
- Do I have the time and resources to optimize the Adept environment and help our company reach its goals?
- Is our current Adept environment laying fallow or do we want to gain more most value and return by partnering with Synergis?
If you have more questions about our services or pricing, or you’d like to have a conversation with an expert, simply fill out this form.