New SBS Tools Streamline AUD Implementation
SBS is pleased to announce new support and implementation tools that are designed to reduce the total cost of ownership for Automated Utility Design™ (AUD) customers. This toolset is part of our commitment to achieve the themes of the SBS AUD product roadmap:
- Improved job throughput
- Advanced integration support
- Reduced implementation and support costs
The new “Structured Management AUD Requirements Tools, also called “SMART Tools,” serve to document the AUD requirements and configuration, while automating many of the very detailed steps that must be performed to generate AUD templates. SMART Tools can interact with either Google Drive, Google Docs, the Google Rest API or Microsoft Excel.
SMART Tools were developed in conjunction with SBS technical specialists, our customers and partners to improve the AUD implementation and maintenance processes. Our goals were to eliminate issues associated with:
- Manual data entry between AUD menus
- Single-user template configuration
- Lack of collaborative, team-based configuration tools
- Difficulty in managing template updates
- Complexity in maintaining configuration documentation post implementation
Collaborative Template Development
In the past AUD configuration was limited to one administrator, or developer at a time working on the template and providing source control for individual items such as Rules, Styles, Attributes, Details, Callouts, Reports and Data.
With SMART Tools, the AUD configuration team can work either in the cloud via Google Docs or locally inside a client network with Excel, to do template configuration tasks in a group environment. This includes nearly all aspects of AUD data model management. Examples of simultaneous editing includes editing out-of-the-box AUD feature classes, the creation of custom feature classes and attribute creation. Attribute creation covers the full range of Data Types, Visibility, Captions, Domain Assignments, Editability, Display Categories and Default Values. Domains are also supported for out-of-the box AUD domains as well as custom domains. Feature class, data model data, display management and styles are also supported.
Ease of Use
By using common data editing tools such as Excel and Google Docs, AUD configuration specialists do not have to learn specialized product tools and editors. The ability to copy, paste and perform other standard commands is very intuitive and helps to open the design process to business subject matter experts rather than highly-trained product specialists. Once the templates are ready, and with a simple command, an authorized user can export Feature Class attributes, Styles, Tables, Domains and Model Data to create or update an AUD template.
Automated Documentation Generation
SMART Tools are highly effective in streamlining the AUD documentation process. The Export Documentation feature generates documentation based on each feature class. The build process can be set up to ensure that data on SharePoint or other document management systems are kept up to date. Similarly, the Export Rule Information feature generates Microsoft Excel documentation necessary to provide current, accurate and in depth, status on the AUD rule base. This includes Calling Rule Dependency, Called Rule Dependency, Feature Class Dependency and Rule Compile Errors.
The documentation capabilities also support change tracking so the implementation team can know what has changed, and who has changed it, to ensure overall project accountability.
The Benefits: SMART Tool User Experiences
Initial users of SMART Tools are experiencing significant benefits over traditional configuration methods.
The process of maintaining template configuration is more efficient and flexible. There is more control over each element and section of the configuration. Style and Callout definitions are accessible through the template, which makes it a much faster process to add styles to the template. Mistakes can easily be fixed on an attribute definition and it is possible to add common attributes to all feature classes.
SMART Tools displays model data, tables, and attributes in a more organized, viewable and editable format. This includes adding new models into the template, rearranging models and adding new model attributes. It also allows for changes to be done on attributes as well as domains that are not accessible or not allowed within traditional methods of building templates.
SMART Tools also allows for better source control over the configuration. The system allows you to see differences between the different users that are editing templates.
Perhaps the greatest benefit to the developer and project manager alike is the ability to auto-generate documentation of the template design. SMART Tools is saving man-weeks of time spent documenting and updating changes to documentation.
It’s All About Quality
Ultimately, SMART Tools improves the quality of an AUD implementation.
- Teams can work together to collaborate on the design, allowing better user input into the overall project definition and delivery
- Multiple iterations can be performed quickly, which allow organizations to rapidly identify and correct issues and eliminate faulty assumptions that can creep into the implementation process.
- Documentation is kept current and can be easily refreshed
Try Them Out!
SMART Tools is currently being used with an SBS beta customer and will be included with AUD 7.1, which is scheduled for availability Q2 2017. We are excited at the opportunity SMART Tools offers to all AUD customers to reduce their total cost of ownership, allowing them to take advantage of the power of AUD. Current AUD users are welcome to contact SBS to participate in our beta program. As always, we welcome and encourage your feedback. Please comment, or drop us a line here at SBS to find out how SMART Tools can help you.