A New Platform for a New Adept

For the past 14 months Synergis Software has been hard at work creating a new version of Adept. This isn’t the typical software update with some new features and various bug fixes. This is a serious reworking of the product from its foundation up, designed to make Adept the best possible engineering document management solution. As Scott Lamond said at the launch webinar attended by hundreds of Adept users, “Our mission is to free you from operational chaos, so you can make the difference in the world you want to make.”

For Adept 2017, delivering users from “operational chaos” meant big changes to the inner working of the product, and to the user experience. In this article I want to take a look at the new platform technology of Adept 2017. In my next article I’ll take a close look at how the user experience (UX) in Adept 2017 has improved.

Development of both the new foundation and the new UX were guided by the Synergis mantra, “simple, fast ways to find documents anywhere.” The goal is always to make it as easy as possible for engineering companies to work with one version of the truth, keeping everyone in sync and on schedule. Documents remain secure, collaboration is enhanced, and manual workflow processes are automated.

Adept 2017 is evolving from a desktop-and-LAN oriented IT architecture to the newer web services foundation. To listen to the developers talk about this shift, and how important it is, is like listening to impassioned sports fans explain why their favorite player is the key to team success. Todd Cummings, VP of Research and Development, says the move to web services provides six key benefits:

Scalability: Adept 2017 is designed to grow with its users. More documents, and more users, will not affect product performance.

Performance: During the final testing of Adept 2017, the development team benchmarked 48 common routines. Some of this was done in-house and some with existing Adept users. Using the Adept Explorer or Reviewer web clients is now 4x faster. To put that in perspective, if a typical task in Adept Explorer 2015 took you 4 minutes, you can expect that same task to be accomplished in 1 minute using Adept Explorer 2017. Other benchmarked tasks:

  • Login on Wireless: 4x faster
  • Search Filename: 5x faster
  • Open Data Card: 3.5x faster
  • Change Tabs in Data Card: 17x faster
  • Open Document Dashboard: 3x to 5x faster.

Stability: Cummings says the new web services architecture insulates users from poor infrastructure. Some programmers call this a “loosely coupled” approach to software, in which each component of a platform can do its own task without a constant connection to other elements. Program modules establish connections on an as-needed basis. This approach removes problems caused by low bandwidth, high latency, and poor connections.

Security: The modern web services technology in Adept represent the best approach to security on the market today. As Cummings says, “The [Adept] platform is the most secure today than at any point in its history.” The autonomous relationships between parts of the program means a compromise in one area does not provide an open door to the entire product—and more importantly—to the documents and data Adept manages and protects.

Interoperability: Using a web services architecture makes for an easier, more standardized approach to integrate new applications. As Cummings says, “This foundational improvement is about the ease and speed of integrating Adept with your enterprise applications and your business systems.”

Rapid Development: The move to a web services IT architecture allows Synergis to develop and release new capabilities faster. The development team has realigned its approach to software development to match the new capabilities of the underlying architecture. Cummings says it means the development team at Synergis “has compressed time.” Going forward, new features and improvements to existing features will take less time to write, test, and deliver.

These six benefits are under the hood, so to speak. If Synergis had released Adept 2017 with only these changes, existing users would only notice the faster performance. But the underlying architecture is only one part of the story about what makes Adept 2017 so special. In my next guest article for this blog, I’ll share about how the user experience has changed and what it means for every user of Adept in the organization.


Randall S. Newton is the principal analyst and managing director at Consilia Vektor, a consulting firm serving the engineering software industry. He has been directly involved in engineering software in a number of roles since 1985. More information is available at https://www.linkedin.com/in/randallnewton.

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