Data Interoperability Industry Paper

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4tell™ Interoperability Capabilities

4tell™ provides an enterprise SaaS platform and solutions that create, capture and compile financial, energy, environmental and social data for visibility to align operational costs with business strategy. Our iPlan™ Real Estate Investment Software harnesses powerful analytics to turn multiple static and dynamic data streams into valuable insights for real estate investment analysis and property portfolio optimization.

API (Application Programming Interface)

iPlan™ is architected to provide a published API for all functions, processes and data and can be exposed through a web service for external systems to push or pull defined data sets and or information. iPlan™ is configurable to automatically push information to an external system at the application level or at the database level. Within iPlan™, events are triggered that can be listened for by using “custom event sync objects” which can, in turn, push information into an external system.  The internal workings of these objects are completely flexible and configurable allowing information to be pushed through the standard communication protocol that is required.

Connectivity

The configuration interfacing and/or integration with an external system is done by using web services through specific API’s per customer due to the complexity of the custom data.

Several types of enterprise level applications and legacy systems, as well as specific functional point solutions, are potential points of connectivity with iPlan™, depending on the client requirements and implementation model. As clients change/add applications, iPlan™ supports on‐going connectivity and facilitates the push or pull information to or from these systems.

Some of these application types and products include:

  • Computerized Maintenance Management (CMMS)/Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)
    • e. Maximo, DataStream, TAM, Assetworks, etc.
  • Integrated Workplace Management (IWMS)/Building Information Management (BIM)
    • e. Tririga, Manhattan, Accruent, Ecodomus, Onuma etc.
  • Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM)/Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
    • e. Autodesk, Archibus, Planon, ESRI, etc.
  • Project Management/Document Management and Storage
    • e. Primavera, ProLogix, MS Project, Document Locator, etc.
  • Building Automation Systems (BAS)/Energy Management
    • e. Siemens, Johnson Controls, Honeywell, Tridium, EnergyCap, etc.
  • Lease Management
    • e. Siterra, Lease Harbor, Yardi, LeaseFlow, etc.
  • Performance Management
    • e. Hyperion, Cognos, Actuate, Claritysystems, etc.
  • Finance/Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)/Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
    • e. SAP, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel, NetSuite, Salesforce, etc.

Metered Energy Data

Metered Energy Data comes in all forms from raw measurement devices in the field to invoice data from utilities. iPlan™’s Metered Energy Data Portal and import tools aggregate and normalize these disparate data sources into an online “energy” database. From this database, various analysis, benchmarking, energy conservation measures and reporting can be performed for effective energy management across the built environment.

Data Management

Reporting and Data Export

iPlan™ provides a comprehensive set of standard reports, a flexible and easy to use custom report writer for user‐defined methods, and graphical analysis dashboard tools. All pre‐defined reports can be customized and all reports and queries can be printed and/or exported in a variety of formats including, for example, Microsoft Excel, comma-separated values, XML, MIME, HTML, TIFF, Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, and RTF.

All data stored within iPlan is fully accessible and searchable by any defined lookup value. An iPlan™ user may search for records through a variety of methods including any query defined at a functional level, through custom reporting tools, through defined criteria in strategic planning, through a hierarchal view of all data, etc. iPlan™ provides tools for data mining and report generation ranging from standard exports and user‐defined methods to highly complex integrated outputs.

  • iPlan™ Views
  • Custom Views
  • Standard Dynamic Reports
  • Custom Dynamic Reports

iPlan™ Views

All iPlan™ grids that are displayed on the screen can be printed and exported. The data in these views can include the complete range of hierarchy from the parent level to the detail views such as Asset, Projects and Plan Items. The views can also include dynamically configured data fields that are customized to the particular implementation. These views can be exported to Excel or CSV format and are available to be generated by users with those permissions.

Custom Views

Ad‐hoc reporting is a built‐in core component of iPlan™. Ad‐hoc query tools provide features to analyze, view and report on the specific statistical information about the collected data. The reporting tool allows the data model to be exposed in order to facilitate the design and layout of reports. A configurable “point and click” interface facilitates the creation of custom views and queries. Queries against multiple levels of data can be created and saved, specifying both filter and column display data. Users with permissions can develop queries by dynamically selecting available data fields and selecting the preferred export format.

Standard Dynamic Reports

Standard Dynamic Reports provide a greater level of flexibility. These sophisticated reports are able to integrate client‐specific parameters, summary tables, supporting detail, graphical views and ultimately provide management dashboard views for decision making and effective communications. As Standard reports, they are predefined to meet client requirements and can be published to HTML, emailed or exported as Custom Views as stated above.

Custom Dynamic Reports

Custom Dynamic Reports can be developed as part of a specific client implementation and offer an easy‐to‐use interface to create custom reports to meet business objectives and unique stakeholder requirements. Using Microsoft SQL Reporting Services / Microsoft Report Builder, these reports offer highly customizable outputs with powerful formatting and display options. Some of the powerful reporting control features that are available include:

  • Easy to use wizards for creating table, matrix and chart data regions
  • Support for directly opening and editing reports stored on the report server
  • Support for using server resources such as shared data sources
  • A query designer for Microsoft SQL Server data sources
  • Ability to read from all SQL Server Reporting Services data sources

Exporting Interface Functional Specifications

iPlan™ has the ability to easily export a specific data set, standard reports, or fully customized user structured reports in a variety of formats including Microsoft Excel, comma-separated values, XML, and Adobe PDF. iPlan™ also exports data to be presented in a Microsoft Word document and RTF. This functionality is available to users that have appropriate security access for specific data sets and queries as required.

System Interface Specifications

iPlan™ uses an industry standard Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) (SQL Server) and at the server level can push, pull, or replicate data to any database using available tools or the built-in SQL Server tools. iPlan™ provides the ability to Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) data requirements from defined data sources into the destination database to capture client required data points. Through the iPlan™ API, data integration and data sharing with other computer systems can be easily achieved and eliminate duplicate data entry and protect the sensitivity of certain data elements.

File import and export functionality is controlled by the iPlan™ user who has the ability, based on user authentication and security access, to define unique import and export routines for specific files. iPlan™ has the ability to receive, accept, and/or modify capital asset management data from a variety of sources, including scanning, keyboard entry, archived records, and/or external sources through several methods. This can be accomplished through direct keyboard data entry, data capture using iAssess™ and then synchronized, imported through the API using web services, or converted through OCR of scanned images for importing of data. iPlan™ is specifically designed to perform as a central data repository and knowledge base and is built to address these specific types of data consolidation and ongoing information management.

iPlan™ provides a single system of engagement to assimilate asset information, assessments, images, CAD drawings, stand‐alone report documents, spreadsheets, or any other electronic file data. Per account permissions, users may easily upload new information to the database when logged into iPlan™.

User Interface

The majority of the iPlan™ user interface is driven by directed data entry techniques (drop‐down menus, toggled checkboxes, etc.) to minimize free‐form text entry. Required form fields are indicated by consistent icons and schema. In addition, condition and assessment data from various sources may be directly integrated, imported and/or exported into the iPlan™ database, requiring little or no user data entry. iAssess™ also maintains the same stringent data entry models which check and validate the existence and quality of data entered into the required fields. The iPlan™ database QA/QC process provides for data integrity and validation on the front‐end during import, export or synchronization processes.