Design Cloud

Unleash your design teams with Single Sign-on

In the rapidly growing world of cloud powered applications and web apps, IT teams are finding new ways to manage the ever growing list of tools their users need access to. With this growing user demand for cloud based tools and utilities several of the worlds top AEC firms are moving toward SAML based Single Sign-on (SSO) user identity tools.

What is Single Sign-on? “a property of access control of multiple related, but independent software systems. With this property a user logs in once and gains access to all systems without being prompted to log in again at each of them.” – Wikipedia

The chart above shows a typical top 20 list of apps for an organization.

The chart above shows a typical top 20 list of apps for an organization.

When it comes to configuring and customizing apps used by every employee it makes sense for IT teams to spend weeks doing deployments. When you start moving down the list to the apps that only a certain department needs access to it may not make sense to make large investments in on-premise software and deployments. This is the point where IT personnel in AEC firms across the globe are trying to find a middle ground between security, providing their users the tools they need when they need them, and speed of deploying these tools. No IT team wants to be a barrier to their colleagues, but they are the gatekeepers of a firm. They must keep data security and employee access to this data a top priority.

Single Sign-on identity providers such as OneLogin, LoginRadius, OKTA, and PingIdentity are leaders in providing a single source of truth for users access to various cloud applications across an entire design firm.

Cloud identity providers are built in the cloud for the cloud, making deploying cloud software a breeze. Most SSO providers have app stores where you can search for thousands of existing cloud software and connect the two quickly and easily.

What are the top 5 reasons for looking into a SSO solution for your design firm?

  1. Lowered IT costs
  2. Improved security
  3. Increased workforce productivity
  4. More utilization of mobile
  5. Improved user experience

Design technology is moving rapidly and how AEC IT personnel adapt to it will be critical over the next few years. Security, ease of use, and scalability will be key factors of which technologies we choose for our design firms. This is why you will find the Unifi app in each of the four providers app stores listed above with more to come upon request! We have listened to our customers and made Unifi compliant with the SAML 2.0 protocol which will allow you to integrate Unifi with any compatible Single Sign-on provider.

I would bet we end up seeing more AEC software leaders move down this path eventually with SSO. SSO integration is just the beginning, its a fully connected world and API’s can turn a great product into a powerful platform. We fully plan to continue to expand our platform integration options further with various API’s and integrations into some of the most popular platforms such as Slack and Trello! More to come on that front in a future post.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment or question below.

UNIFI Implementation – First Steps

The purpose of this post is to outline some first steps for implementing Unifi.  If you are a new customer or using the trial to justify the use of Unifi to leadership these steps should help.  The organization, state and quality of content varies firm to firm, read on and make a plan.

Collect your content.

Your firm probably already has one standard location and naming convention for content, so you are already halfway there, good job!  If that is not the case, then you got some work to do 🙁.  One way to collect content is to create a project from your standardized company template.  Load all the standardized content that you can find scattered across the network (Loadable families of all categories, system families, anything and everything you can get your hands on).

Once content is loaded, use the out of the box Save As -> Library -> Family to export your content.  This exports the content to one folder.  There are several free add-ins to export content to folders base on categories, which Unifi will use as tags.  Since you can upload content to Unifi from the project and already have a naming convention, exporting content may not be necessary.  If there is content that uses Type Catalogs, export those and don’t forget to find all of the Type Catalogs and place them beside the family!  You will drag and drop that content to Unifi to upload the Type Catalog.

Standard naming convention.

I highly recommend a standard naming convention.  It can be as simple as adding your abbreviated firm name as a prefix or suffix: #ADSK-Overhead-Rolling.rfa or Overhead-Rolling-ADSK.rfa.  I prefer a convention similar to this: < Identifier >_< Units >_< Category >_< Type >_< Manufacturer >_< Descriptor> _< Host/Size >   There are several benefits to a naming convention and I will assign that as homework.

Content can be renamed with free software.  I prefer this bulkrenameutility (don’t forget to donate).  Yep, new software to learn!  It won’t take long, maybe 30 minutes of practice on practice files on your C drive.  Don’t practice on critical production files!  Renaming 11,000 files in 7 seconds is pretty darn cool!

Upload content.

Here is the easy part.  After content organization is complete; loadable families, system families, model groups and drafting views can be uploaded from the project with the Unifi add-in.  Content stored in folders can be dropped into Unifi where it will store them in the libraries that you setup.  Tags are created from the folder names and you can add any tags you want.  For more details on uploading, the help file and tutorials are great!

You can do it!

In between all other responsibilities and duties, I was able to collect, organize, rename, upload and train users in a lunch and learn in less than a month.  Make a plan and implement it!  You will be glad you did.  Your users will be as fast as mine, 2.1 times to be exact.

Thanks for your time.

Chris Ridder – BIM Manager – GBD – LinkedIn – @cridder_

This is a post by a guest contributor not affiliated with INVIEWlabs. The opinions expressed are that of the contributor not INVIEWlabs.