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Archive for Portal

Enterprise Mobility: Hosted Virtual Desktops (HVD), Desktop as a Service (DaaS)

Construction specialist using a tablet computer

Construction specialist using a tablet computer

Business is on the move, and by that I mean on the move outside the physical walls of the office. Mobile devices have blown the lid off the “traditional work place” and now allow workers to move outside the office and still be productive. In fact productivity has increased, along with efficiency. Gone are the days when you could only check your email at your physical work station at the office.

I remember the day that I got my first Blackberry. What a revolution! Here I was sitting in a cafe checking my email and responding to clients and colleagues instantly! Before, I would have to worry I was missing some important email while outside the office at a meeting or running errands. It was an incredible watershed moment in the history of the mobile work force, and the technology has only continued to improve.

Tablets, iPhones, Android mobile, not to mention laptops, have opened the doors to access data, software and communication anywhere; anytime.

Of course we still use our desktop computers. Who doesn’t like a large display screen and full size keyboard when there is a pile of work to get through? But what do you do when you need to go home to take care of something, but still need to push out that big report? This is where the Hosted Virtual Desktop (HVD), also known as Desktop as a Service (DaaS) comes into play.

AdobeStock_88855189HVD is just what the name implies. It is a desktop that is hosted on a virtual server. Users connect to that desktop via their personal device, laptop, personal computer, tablet, etc. To the end user, the experience is the same. They open their personal “virtual desktop” and see all their applications, documents and data.

For example, a worker is at the office working on a document, but has to leave the office. He then goes home and opens his/her HVD and all the documents are still open, just as they were before back at the office. The “desktop” is accessible from any internet connected device and viewed anywhere, anytime.

Apart from the beauty of accessing your personal desktop anywhere, anytime, the benefits don’t end there.

All maintenance, support, upgrades and backups are performed by the service provider operating the virtual servers where the desktops are stored. The service provider can scale up or down the amount of power a user needs, as well as offer redundancy and offsite data backup.

This of course is more interesting to the CIO, than it is to the end user. To the end user, the experience is the same, but instead of having access to their desktop at the office, they now have access to their desktop from any device. To the CIO, the advantages go well beyond that. Business continuity alone is enough to justify such a transition to HVD, not to mention the reduced costs in maintenance and support.

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_300Here at AEC Cloud, we have focused our hosted IT solutions to the AEC space. We have been in the game for over 15 years now, helping the big firms such as Hensel Phelps, to the small guys, make their IT transition into the mobile enterprise workplace as smooth as possible. We know what needs to be done, and more importantly, we know how to do it.

If you have been putting off your IT transition, the time has come to take another look. The technology in the space has come a long way, and continues to improve. And the benefits gained, far out weight the pain of making the move.

Proven Reliability and Leadership For Over 15 Years

LeadershipWidget_270_blueAEC Cloud has been on the scene working with the largest AEC companies in the field for over 15 years. Leaders in the industry rely on our expertise and proven track record to help their companies stay ahead with their Enterprise Application Hosting needs. Just ask Hensel Phelps or Turner Construction.

Finding an experienced and reliable hosting partner is critical in seeing a successful outcome.

Here at AEC Cloud, we know what you need before you do. We have been hosting applications and data for some of the largest companies in the AEC space for over 15 years. We can help guide you through the maze of cloud hosting and determine exactly what your company needs today, and what it will need tomorrow.

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  • Find out what AEC Cloud can do for your business migration to the cloud.
  • Schedule a live demo today and see for yourself the possibilities we can offer.

Call us today to get started: 212-505-0381

Email us now with your questions: sales@aeccloud.com

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Hosted Software Explained

AdobeStock_88855189With all the news about cloud hosting and the buzzwords surrounding it, I thought it makes sense to take a minute and explain a little bit about what “hosted software” is.

As the term suggests, it is your software that is installed and accessed on a remote server, offsite from the traditional “office”. The list of benefits is long, but that is for another article.

There are two types of hosted software. Software hosted by the manufacturer on a subscription basis (Software As A Service or SaaS), and software that has been purchased and installed on remote servers to be accessed by end users. Both types of installation can be accessed via the internet and a web browser. Traditionally the software has been focused on a desktop or laptop interface, but more and more these software applications are accessible via handheld devices such as tablets and smartphones.

Hosted software is not installed on a user’s machine, but instead installed on a remote server and accessed via a web browser, much like going to a website and using Gmail for example. Computing power and data processing are not dependant on the local machine, and are done solely on the remote server. In this case, the end user can get away with using a low power computer that only needs to run a web browser. In days past, end users had to have high end latest model computers to run many of the popular software programs. With hosted software, the processing power of one server can be centralized and taken advantage of by many end users.

 

Updates, patches and upgrades are all done on the one central remote server, as opposed to all the individual end user computers. This allows the closing of potentially damaging security holes in the local infrastructure.

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Here at AEC Cloud, we have been helping businesses in the AEC industry make the transition to hosting critical software applications. We have over 15 years in the business and have consciously chosen to focus on the AEC industry. We know what you need before you do. We are specialists in cloud hosting, and that knowledge base we have built for the past 15 years is yours to share in when you use our services. Why take the risk with some off the shelf general “cloud hosting” company?

At this point, it is worth the time and effort for IT departments to take a hard look at this opportunity, and at a minimum do some cost/productivity comparisons. We are definitely past the days of early adoption, with many larger companies now taking the steps to move in the direction of cloud-based desktops, apps and file storage. Hensel Phelps, Turner Construction are a couple of our client names that come to mind.

The benefits are just too many to ignore.

Real Benefits

  • Cost efficiency
  • Reduction of maintenance requirements
  • Flexibility and scalability of resources
  • On demand user administration
  • 24/7 user support
  • Off-site backup of critical data
  • Regular maintenance and software upgrades
  • Employee mobility anywhere, anytime
  • Freedom to focus on core business

Proven Reliability and Leadership For Over 15 Years

LeadershipWidget_270_blueAEC Cloud has been on the scene working with the largest AEC companies in the field for over 15 years. Leaders in the industry rely on our expertise and proven track record to help their companies stay ahead with their Enterprise Application Hosting needs. Hensel Phelps, Turner Construction are a couple names that come to mind.

Finding an experienced and reliable hosting partner is critical in seeing a successful outcome.

Here at AEC Cloud, we know what you need before you do. We have been hosting applications and data for some of the largest companies in the AEC space for over 15 years. We can help guide you through the maze of cloud hosting and determine exactly what your company needs today, and what it will need tomorrow.

Software we host:

We host any enterprise business application you need to get your job done.
If you don’t see what you need in our list below, just ask!

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  • Find out what AEC Cloud can do for your business migration to the cloud.
  • Schedule a live demo today and see for yourself the possibilities we can offer.

Feel free to call us if you have any questions: 212-505-0381

Email us here: sales@aeccloud.com

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When Paperless Leads to Even Greater Efficiency

AdobeStock_34165921Could it be possible that less than 5% of businesses today are “paperless”? According to one business survey, this may be the case.

What gets lost these days amid major tech trends like mobility, Internet of Things and virtualization grabbing headlines is the fact that some companies are still in the process of taking primary steps in their process of innovation.

I recently came across an article that cited a survey from German-based print management services provider ThinPrint that revealed only 4.5% of business users surveyed have gone paperless. While the survey was focused more on the idea of printing practices, it got me thinking about AEC firms and their own struggles with going paperless amid the seemingly endless paper trail that can make up a construction project these days.

In fact, many of our customers here at The Cram Group initially came to us with help reducing the amount of paper that would circulate on a typical job. Take DECCO Ltd., for example. This contractor, based in the Cayman Islands, was looking for a way to streamline its file management system by moving from paper to electronic files.

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_300With roughly 30 employees working in the office and in the field, the need was for an easier way to communicate and share information electronically. In 2010, AEC Cloud began hosting Meridian Systems’ Prolog Manager and Prolog Converge for DECCO, helping the company streamline its file management and archiving system.

Fast forward to 2015 and the company is much less dependent on paper files than ever. According to Harlan Dews, Senior Planner and Scheduler with DECCO, what was thousands of paper files used on projects has turned into a cloud-based one-stop shop for all project-related information, with the ability for files to be accessed any time from any location.

For a company like DECCO, the demand to go “paperless” was a steppingstone of sorts to unlocking even greater potential of a cloud-based service.

feature02Since deploying AEC Cloud’s Portal Cloud Hosting Services in 2010, DECCO has also evolved its use of the technology. Today it plays a role increasing efficiency in other aspects of its construction projects. This includes the ability to provide a higher level of accountability and reporting capabilities, controlling project costs, tracking employees’ time spent on projects, and increasing employee productivity.

“We’re making better decisions earlier in the construction process, which translates into cost savings as projects progress,” says Dews. “We’re also more organized and efficient because we’re notified electronically as projects move forward. This helps prevent projects from becoming backlogged.”

It’s a true testament to the role that a good technology solution can play within a company today. Technology designed to solve one challenge that can evolve to play additional roles within an organization can prove to be a valuable investment. Today’s AEC firms that are simply making a push to go “paperless” are making a step towards improving efficiencies across the board.

With a solution like AEC Cloud, these benefits include:

  • Cost efficiency
  • Reduction of maintenance requirements
  • Flexibility and scalability of resources
  • On demand user administration
  • 24/7 user support
  • Off-site backup of critical data
  • Regular maintenance and software upgrades
  • Employee mobility anywhere, anytime
  • Freedom to focus on core business

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  • Find out what AEC Cloud can do for your business migration to the cloud.
  • Schedule a live demo today and see for yourself the possibilities we can offer.

Feel free to call us if you have any questions: 212-505-0381

Email us here: sales@aeccloud.com

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AEC Cloud Updates Portal Software with Patch 20: Unified Application Management

Home_Slider_Software_840_100pAEC Cloud recently released Patch 20 for the Portal Software. This new patch covers some bug fixes of the Portal Software, giving users and administrators control over application access and management.

“Unified Application Management” is the key feature of Portal Software.

Fixes
Fix #1:

  • The user count issues in Companies Page.
    a. Application Section shows incorrect count in the list.
    b. Assign Application section shows inactive users in the list.
    c. Related Accounts section shows  incorrect count in the list.

Fix #2:

  • ‘Related Users’ matrix displays incorrect applications on following scenario.
    Scenario: Remove all apps from a user  via the Contacts page, save and then reassign only on App to the user – Matrix will display access to all/other apps

What is Portal Software?

Developed with a cloud mindset, the AEC Cloud Portal Software is purpose built for:

  • Companies seeking a unified end user
  • Unified application administrator experience
  • Currently used by more than 20,000 users
  • Seamless self provisioning experience

Major Functionality includes:

  • Central company/contact repository
  • Secure launching, provisioning and single sign on for various applications
  • Activity based billing module
  • Integrated with Active Directory
  • Includes a web services layer that can be used to leverage certain features for other integrations

 

If you are thinking about moving all or part of your business to the cloud, give us a call and let us show you how to leverage the myriad benefits of cloud hosting.

Cloud Hosted Software is the Present

Hosting your Software in the Cloud

Home_CaseStudiesWidget_DECC_370x320Hosting software on external cloud server has now become the standard for business. The overall cost advantage coupled with lower maintenance has made this option the “go to” for IT departments globally.

Access to the software is no longer tied to the office environment, freeing your workforce to be productive where ever they are located.

This new method of accessing software has revolutionized the workspace and business operations overall.

Software We Host

We can, and do, host almost any software out there. Below is a list of some of the software we are currently hosting.

If you don’t see yours in there, just call or email us to find out more information.

Software

Platform

  • Citrix
  • Microsoft

Infrastructure

  • Cisco
  • EMC
  • Equinix
  • Juniper
  • Microsoft
  • VMWare

See our offerings in action. Schedule a live demo today!

AEC Cloud Updates Portal Software with Patch 19: Unified Application Management

Home_Slider_Software_840_100pAEC Cloud recently released Patch 19 for the Portal Software. This new patch covers some bug fixes as well as extends the functionality of the Portal Software, giving users and administrators control over application access and management.

“Unified Application Management” is the key feature of Portal Software.

Enhancements
Enhancement #1:

  • To Upgrade Contact related pages to auto create user in Account Management/Passport Database when the user has AM Application access.

Fixes
Fix #1:

  • Contact Page – Windows username validation issue: When the contact’s windows username contains single quote (‘), edit record feature is throwing an error. This issue is fixed in this release.

Fix #2:

  • MyProperties>Configuration Manager> Number of Records to be Listed setting issue.
    The MyProperties>Configuration Manager> “Number of Records to be Listed” setting is not reflecting in Portal/Passport List Pages. This issue is fixed in this release.

Fix #3:

  • Citrix Receiver Download Link for Mac: Seamless Plugin Installer page is displaying invalid citrix receiver download link for Mac. This issue is fixed in this release.

The full release documentation can be viewed here.

What is Portal Software?

Developed with a cloud mindset, the AEC Cloud Portal Software is purpose built for:

  • Companies seeking a unified end user
  • Unified application administrator experience
  • Currently used by more than 20,000 users
  • Seamless self provisioning experience

Major Functionality includes:

  • Central company/contact repository
  • Secure launching, provisioning and single sign on for various applications
  • Activity based billing module
  • Integrated with Active Directory
  • Includes a web services layer that can be used to leverage certain features for other integrations

 

If you are thinking about moving all or part of your business to the cloud, give us a call and let us show you how to leverage the myriad benefits of cloud hosting.

Experience Our Cloud Hosted Apps and Portal Software in Live Demo

Try it before you buy it!

virtual-desktopWe have a live demo environment where you can see our Portal (Unified Application Management) and our Virtual Desktop, Desktops as a Service (DaaS) in action. It can be configured to test any hosted software we currently are hosting, or let us know what software you are looking to use.

If you have never used a Virtual Desktop, this is a great opportunity to experience the power of this revolutionary approach to user desktop configuration and access. Users can access their desktop from anywhere, and are not tied to the office environment. This results in increased productivity and decrease in overall IT budgets.

The Portal Software suite is an powerful tool to allow internal IT Administrators quick configuration of current users.

Contact us today to schedule a Live Demonstration!

What’s Your Level of Cloud Consideration?

Today we present the third of three articles about Cloud Hosting specifically for the AEC Industry. We look forward to your comments


‘Cloud is a viable option, but not a top consideration for many CIOs.’

As far as attention-grabbing headlines go, this one from Gartner certainly did the trick for me. More so than that, it got me thinking about the current state of the cloud in general, and how it’s truly being perceived within the AEC industry.


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Gartner recently released its 2015 CIO Survey, “Flipping to Digital Leadership: The 2015 CIO Agenda.
The report uncovered that only a small minority of CIOs look to the cloud as a first consideration.

Here’s a quick glimpse at the numbers: 9% of users today are not even considering cloud computing for software-as-a-service (SaaS) projects and only 15% when it comes to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) projects

What I find most interesting is the fact that, according to Gartner, one of the biggest obstacles comes from infrastructure and operations leaders. Exhibiting a more protective nature when it comes to their existing infrastructure, I&O leaders are resorting to “cloud-washing” as a reason for not seriously pursuing a true cloud-based solution.

I can tell you that the idea of “cloud washing” is indeed a very legitimate concern, but should not be applied as a blanket reason for making the cloud a secondary consideration for IT projects.

So what’s the solution?
Gartner suggests that I&O leaders should be instituting a ‘cloud-first’ consideration for every project on an application-by-application basis. Furthermore, companies should be evaluating all implementation models at the outset of a project in order to help save time and produce better results.

This advice, while certainly valid, can often fall under the category of easier said than done. Having worked within the AEC industry for over 15 years, I have experienced firsthand a user base that exhibits a ‘show me’ mentality when it comes to any technology. So I can certain attest to the fact that the only way to get tentative users on board with the cloud is to come at them with tangible reasons.

Take our customer Torcon as an example. Three years ago, Torcon approached us about hosting its Prolog solutions. This despite the fact that the company owns its Prolog and Prolog WebSite licenses. The company simply needed to run leaner and realized that by using our ProjectXnet Portal to host and maintain its Prolog solutions it could reduce the expense associated with in-house hardware and maintenance costs.


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That opened up a world of new possibilities. For instance, by handing off the hosting and maintenance capabilities of its Prolog suite to us, Torcon has now freed up resources to focus on true value add associated with those solutions. For example, custom reports. The company has built a rather impressive and extensive library of reports and letters all customized for Torcon.

The company has even been able to create custom cross-project reports to identify trends such as subcontractor safety. This is due to the fact that every project is executed using standardized processes and a single database. It’s one of those value-adds that could not have been as easily realized without the ability to have key IT resources freed up from hosting and maintenance, which is now handled via the cloud.

Technology leaders face two very critical challenges that are currently on a path of convergence: traditional technologies and operating models are becoming outdated and IT solutions need a fresh approach.

With that in mind, it makes me wonder why some in the market still aren’t considering cloud first. I agree with Gartner on the fact that in some cases on-premise, non-cloud deployment models might be the right fit, but all options must be considered in order to make the best use of available resources.

To that I turn the debate over to the AEC industry and ask:

Is cloud a primary or secondary consideration for your organization?
And if it’s the latter, what group seems to be the biggest obstacle?

 

If you are thinking about moving all or part of your business to the cloud, give us a call and let us show you how to leverage the myriad benefits of cloud hosting.

Your IT and the Cloud: Are they Compatible?

Today we present the second of three articles about Cloud Hosting specifically for the AEC Industry. We look forward to your comments


Offerings_Hosting_370x320Just because your AEC business is running legacy technology doesn’t mean it cannot make an easy transition to the cloud. In fact, many of today’s most successful matches between the cloud and construction are based on the process of “cloud-enabling” existing IT systems.

AEC Cloud has been hosting early every construction software available since 2000. It just comes down to a matter of compatibility.

You see, running an AEC business requires such core systems as project management, document management, accounting, estimating and job costing, for example. For the most part, these systems are not native cloud applications. No problem. Service solutions available today can ensure that what isn’t “cloud native” in your IT department can certainly become “cloud ready.”

Of course, the ultimate compatibility test is made up such factors as time, cost and security. But such issues have become relative non-issues as cloud services and solutions are faster, better, cheaper and more secure. Just ask our clients, such as The J. Companies and Morley Builders.

A Secure Package
Let’s take The J Companies, a builder/construction manager based in New York, as our first example. The company started down its cloud-based IT path in 2005 by hosting Prolog Manager from Meridian Systems using our AEC Cloud. Over time as the needs of IT expanded, so too has the role of the cloud.

For example, with clients located across the country, and with multiple construction, consulting or development projects going on simultaneously, the need to compile information and keep documents organized has become the priority.

Today, you can find Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange, Document Locator from ColumbiaSoft, and Master Builder from Sage, accompanying its Prolog Manager application up in the cloud. A custom solution gives employees access to an integrated package of virtual desktop, document management, accounting, and project management tools that can be accessed anywhere and anytime.

So let’s talk security. Document Locator is essentially the core of the business for The J Companies. With the AEC Cloud, an unlimited library of documents has become stored in the cloud. Given the high quality document security, that means that there is never a risk of information being left unsecure in the cloud.

Just ask David Brot, the Principal of The J Companies, who says that he has never needed to worry about his company’s information. Document security and stability in the cloud has never been an issue.

Low Cost and Connected
Now let’s address that issue of high cost. Back in 2013 when we first engaged with Morley Builders the company was talking with many different software vendors about developing a custom solution. The company was looking to have its employees maintain large amounts of drawing and specification information and stay connected, while working at construction sites or back at the office.

It was an exercise that, as many other AEC companies have figured out, is prohibitive in terms of time and cost.

This is where an OBA can come into play. This is an application written for Microsoft Office applications based on .NET technology that uses web services to connect to a Line of Business (LOB) application, or other applications. OBAs that are built on the Microsoft Office Business Application framework are used for extending LOB applications. This means that AEC companies can capture critical information in spreadsheets and work offline.

Today Morley Builders uses our Drawings & Specification OBA. This allows its employees to input large volumes of data all at once. The fact that the OBA interfaces with Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheets makes it easy for employees to get up to speed learning the tool very quickly.

Like The J Companies, Morley Builders works with Prolog. This is where the direct connection from the OBA comes in handy, making the process of batch revisions an integrated process between the programs.

Cloud Considerations
It’s not difficult to find these types of success stories within the AEC industry. More and more, we see companies coming to us to help make the cloud a critical part of the way they run their IT systems across the company.

Applications like Dropbox, Evernote, Box and others have catapulted the idea of “the cloud” into the IT discussion these days. But the truth of the matter is that the cloud has long been a part of doing business in construction, tied to core operational systems.

Legacy IT systems are necessary in construction. So too is the cloud. Ensuring they are compatible can be the most powerful investment your company can make in 2015.

[infobox]If you are thinking about moving all or part of your business to the cloud, give us a call and let us show you how to leverage the myriad benefits of cloud hosting.

[infobox_button link=”http://aeccloud.com/contact/” color=”red”]Contact Us Today[/infobox_button][/infobox]

CMFA 2014 Las Vegas: Wesley Smith Presentation (Powerpoint with Audio)

CMFA 2014 Las Vegas Powerpoint presentation by Wesley Smith, with audio discussing cloud hosting for the AEC industry, NIST cloud definition, Public cloud, Hybrid cloud, Private Cloud, Hensel Phelps, Unified Application Management.

Learn more about hosting your data and software on servers located outside the physical office, increasing productivity, mobility and lowering cost.

If you are thinking about moving all or part of your business to the cloud, give us a call and let us show you how to leverage the myriad benefits of cloud hosting.