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 Content Library Strategies

One of the favorite things I love about my job is that I get to collaborate with and learn from so many of the best and brightest BIM minds in the world. We work with hundreds of firms and no two have the same needs. When it comes time to assist our customers with options as to how they can best leverage Unifi for their Revit content management needs, the first item on the list for discussion is a Unifi library strategy.

How do UNIFI Libraries work?

A little background first on what Libraries are and how they work. Libraries are like buckets where you can store content. Any user with rights to a library, will be able to browse or search that libraries content and insert it into their Revit projects. Libraries can have their own admins called “Library Admins” who can approve/reject content uploaded to a particular library and can also fulfill content requests to a particular library.

You can have an unlimited number of libraries in Unifi, but simplicity should be a goal. Less is more. Keeping your library strategy simple will not only make it easier for your users, but also for your BIM managers.

How to create a great Library Strategy

1. Single Office or Multi Office? Domestic or International?

Depending on the size of your firm you will have different problems to solve around content consistency and standards. A domestic firm will most likely only have to worry about content in Imperial units (or metric if outside the US). A international sized firm will have content in both formats and thus their library strategy will have to accommodate these 2 types of content.

Keeping your Imperial and Metric content in separate libraries will reduce the amount of potentially redundant content that your users will have to weed through. Another factor to consider for international firms is Regional Libraries. Lets say you have global offices, your London office may need its own regional library for content that adheres to local jurisdiction parameter standards.

Having firmware shared libraries and regional libraries can help separate content for local parameter or code specific reasons.

2. Separate Libraries for Details, Families, & Systems

When searching or browsing for specific element types in Unifi, try having separate libraries for quick and easy filtering. It is good practice to have all your details in a Detail Library, your system families is a System Library etc. This library strategy is a more structured approach that will provide quick access to element types.

Having a library per element type will automatically reduce the amount of content results your users will browse or search through. The less total results, the faster your designers find exactly what they are looking for.

3. Experiment with Company Saved Searches

Company saved searches are a powerful way to provide quick and easy access to particular sets of content for your design teams. This feature is just as important as libraries for your library strategy. Several of our customers choose to have a minimal amount of libraries because they use Company Saved Searches extensively. Company Saved Searches can be setup by Library or Company admins, and are instantly available to all users. Need to have a quick way to find all “2 hr rated shaft walls” or want to see all “water cooled screw chillers”, saved searches will hide the complexity of advanced queries from the users as a single click gets access to the content in seconds!

4. Speed is Key!

The entire purpose of the Unifi application is to get your designers to the right piece of content as quickly as possible so that they can get back to higher level design functions. Your firms workflows are unique and therefore there will be no standard library strategy that will work perfect for every company.

This is exactly why we developed Unifi to be a flexible configurable platform. Software should be adaptable to meet your needs and workflows, not the other way around.

You may find that with time your design teams needs will change and morph. Having the flexibility of Unifi will help BIM managers to effectively fine tune their content libraries with minimal effort. See what works best for your teams and continue to revisit your library strategy every couple months to find areas that can be optimized.

I hope this post helps give you some ideas to contemplate as you create your UNIFI library strategy! If you want to pick our brains for ideas on setting up your libraries please reach out to us. We would be happy to talk to you!



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Introducing the Unifi blog


Thanks for visiting our Unifi blog! This blog will be a fun place where several Unifi team members will share release notes, tips and tricks, insights into development, tutorials, and other happenings from the Unifi factory. We will do our best to keep this blog up to date and we welcome comments and feedback from our customers!