This week's theme: AR System Philosophy
Bringing Applications Under the AR System® Umbrella
In past Tips and Tricks articles we have talked about aspects of AR System philosophy that make it inherently good for a wide variety of applications. In this issue we will draw from a number of these past topics, apply them to an environment containing numerous application platforms, databases, and tools, and in the end give you some ideas about how to leverage AR System in such an environment.
So, you might say, many of the fine AR System qualities we have preached thus far in Tips and Tricks are great, but what about those "other", non-AR System applications I have inherited over the ages? What about the application that manages users in my directory service, the legacy, 2-tier bug-tracking database tool, or the sister department on the other coast (or continent for that matter) that cannot see past their current vacation request application?
There are a couple of strategies you can take when presented with this sort of challenge.
- I am all too familiar with the approach that 4-year olds take - Kick and scream until you get your way and everyone re-implements their applications in AR System. Try this and you will likely be sent to your office for a time out.
- Live with it - Maybe the problem will just go away.
- Extend your AR System umbrella to cover those non-AR System applications.
The first two options probably wont get you very far. But what on earth do I mean by "extend your AR System umbrella"? In short, bring those cold and drippy applications under the shelter of AR System. There are many ways of doing this, however I am going to break this down into three simple categories that progressively leverage AR System without necessarily re-implementing your non-AR System applications.
Even if an application was not created with AR System, you can surface, or expose, that data through AR System forms. View forms expose database tables and AR System database connectivity (ARDBC) plug-ins interact with virtually all other data sources.
Once data is exposed as a form you can take advantage of all of the workflow primitives inherent in the environment. You can populate table fields and menus attached to character fields using the form. You can define active links to auto-fill fields related to one another or use the data for validation in your existing AR System applications. At this level, though, you are only getting your AR System application to interact with another application.
The next step in the progression is to eliminate the custom, per application, clients and replace them with AR System User or a browser. In this case, the data store and business rules that govern your processes still live in the other application environment, however your customers enjoy a more consistent user experience with the native and Web views that you define. The huge benefit here is that you eliminate one of the more costly tasks of supporting client software by consolidating everything under AR System User or a browser, which your customers probably already have on their desktops.
Once data is expressed as an AR System form, you gain even greater leverage on the back end. Not only can you implement and constrain your business processes with filters, you can also take advantage of escalations for time based events or use DSO to migrate or replicate information from one application environment or geography to another.
In short, as you express other applications you inherit as AR System applications you make your life easier. You stop dealing with other apps and data sources as integrations and start leveraging them as you would any other AR System application. The big win, of course, is to convert your internal customers and colleagues to the AR System environment and welcome them into the Remedy community. Sometimes this conversion can be an all out migration, but oftentimes the progressive steps, like those mentioned above, do the job as well.
Stay tuned for additional Tips and Tricks articles on little known and upcoming capabilities that will help you take advantage of AR System technologies cited above.
Remedy Product Architect