September 04, 2006
BusinessConnect, a Web Services Interface for the TRIRIGA Application
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor


by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Welcome to AECWeekly! In a conversation this week with Mike Daffer, vice president, business development and marketing and Chuao Wang, director of technology strategy for TRIRIGA Inc., AECWeekly learned about that company and its new TRIRIGA BusinessConnect technology, which provides a web services interface for updating or requesting information from the TRIRIGA application.


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Industry News

BusinessConnect, a Web Services Interface for the TRIRIGA Application

by Susan Smith


In a conversation this week with Mike Daffer, vice president, business development and marketing and Chuao Wang, director of technology strategy for TRIRIGA Inc., AECWeekly learned about that company and its new TRIRIGA BusinessConnect technology, which provides a web services interface for updating or requesting information from the TRIRIGA application.


TRIRIGA itself is in the forefront of the Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) market with 50% growth each year since its inception in 2000. According to Mike Daffer, Mike Bell from Gartner Research has ranked TRIRIGA #1 for two years in a row in this market space.


AECWeekly: So what is IWMS and to what do you attribute that growth?


Mike Daffer: Mike Bell from Gartner coined the term IWMS. It's a consolidation of the FM market, the projects CMMS and corporate real estate. Everyone identified the synergies that all these disparate markets shared and the fact that everyone needs to share the same data. We needed the ability to share data across multiple integrated applications on the same data platform. We use our own Momentum platform. The efficiencies gains that you get can be up to 33%. Mike built this market, and it's growing at about 10% a year.


AW: How long ago did he come up with this name?


MD: It's been around for about three or four years.


AW:, I remember TRIRIGA when it was starting out. It addressed a real estate market that needed to be able to work on multiple projects and handle lots of different aspects of projects within each one of those simultaneously. Is that still a part of what's going with TRIRIGA?


MD: The product we first launched in 2000 was focused on the projects. It was across multiple industries using the same platform. But then we did the acquisition of the facilities group from Peregrine and we brought in all the other aspects of that entire lifecycle. We took the functionality from their previous Powerbuilder application and put it on top of our Momentum platform, which accelerated the company and really accelerated this market. We finally had a tool that could handle design through operations.


AW: Design through operations - to what level do you take operations?


MD: We start in the design process, where people can take their CAD files and integrate them with ours. They can manage their facilities all the way through owning and operating those facilities, managing the leases and transactions, all the preventive maintenance, scheduled maintenance all the way through decommissioning and using all that history of the life of an asset, whether it be a building, a desk, a computer, etc. (there are always assets within assets), and be able to reuse that data to build the next building. You always have that fingerprint of data that's available to you.


That's why the analysts say the IWMS market is exploding, it's going to be the next ERP and CRM market. It is above any of the other growth markets today.


AW: Do you have any customers in the operations phase now?


MD: Yes, a number of them. We have 700+ customers out there, and a lot of them use it day in and day out in the operations of their facilities, they've actually integrated mobile into their facilities for work orders - they are going into great detail with this. The BusinessConnect tool is allowing us to integrate to those financial systems and other tools that don't fit in the IWMS market.


Chuao Wang manages the strategic vision and the feature roadmaps for the Momentum platform and other technology components, including BusinessConnect.


CW: The biggest benefit of BusinessConnect is that it provides a standards based interface for allowing external systems to query or update TRIRIGA information. The standards based interface is exposed as a web service and this web services complies with all the latest integration web standards and protocols including web services interoperability 1.1 also known as WSI 1.1 and all the associated protocols.


This means that with BusinessConnect, the effort to build an integration solution has been greatly reduced because now you can leverage standards that aren't leveraged by integration toolkits that are already built. The integration toolkit includes the standards best of breed middleware solutions like WebSphere, WebLogic, WebMethods as well as any standard SOAP client. There is a lot of open source stuff in the Java community that provides a lot of toolkits to jumpstart your integration using web services. Basically, we have exposed some existing interfaces that we already delivered in previous releases of Momentum. All we've done is packaged them and exposed them as a standards based
interface.


AW: What is the advantage of having all these things packaged together into BusinessConnect? Is there anything new here?


CW: As mentioned, we've included the previous functionality that we exposed through our original TRIRIGA API and those functions basically go across the entire product suite from top to bottom as well. This is possible because of our metadata based application definition. All of the business objects, including the system delivered objects, like our security profile as well as our real estate records, can be queried or updated through the single BusinessConnect interface. So it is also driving your business operations, but also can drive your system administration or application administration such as creating or updating users, creating updated security profiles as well as driving your
standard business processes like real estate facilities management or your space planning. That was all available in the previous TRIRIGA API. We've basically just wrapped those functions around a standards based interface via BusinessConnect.


We've also added some new features in BusinessConnect, - most important is the ability to reference the business logic already defined in the application.


AW: What about security and access to BusinessConnect itself?


CW: Anybody who has access to BusinessConnect will always encounter the business rules, so regardless of how you are accessing it, those business rules will apply. You can define alternate business rules within the online application, because we can define multiple business rules per business object. Different users with different roles may have different security and business rules associated with business objects, so for a power user, maybe there will be less required fields and for a self service user, maybe there will be more required fields.


If you want to specify business rules just for integration, you can also do that. You can effectively turn off any data validation for a specific integration request. If you want to reduce the cost and duplication of that logic, you can just simply reference the existing business logic.


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