INTELSYS.build leverages industry standards including Autodesk Forge

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Autodesk Forge is our collection of Application Program Interfaces (APIs) that we use to develop our own web services. As part of our Autodesk Forge efforts, we share those APIs (including documentation and code samples) with customers and 3rd party developers (the Forge community) that want to leverage years' worth of legacy and current data associated with projects. INTELSYS is one of our Forge partners.

INTELSYS was founded in 2005 and soon established itself as one of the leading SAP consulting firms in Estonia, serving both local and international companies as well as state institutions. In 2013, the company started developing innovative solutions for SAP clients in the EC&O (Engineering, Construction, and Operations) industry and ever since, has focused its efforts on BIM and SAP integration. They are committed to helping construction companies embrace digital transformation by implementing a more lean and efficient way of doing things.

  • CEO, Peeter Pärn, has 14 years of SAP experience in greenfield Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementations and developing highly customized customer-specific solutions. He was the project manager of the world's first SAP S/4HANA implementation. SAP S/4HANA is a modern ERP system that provides all of the necessary functionality to run business processes in finance, sales, supply chain, procurement, production, and project management. Peeter graduated from Stockholm School of Economics and Estonian IT College majoring in finance and IT system development.

  • CMO & Head of EC&O development, Jaan Saar, has 15+ years of experience managing projects, process, and IT in the construction industry. He gained valuable site experience as the supervision coordinator for many of Estonia's largest road and railway construction projects. Before joining INTELSYS, he was the CIO of the Swiss real estate company, SWISS PROPERTY, during the implementation of S/4HANA. Jaan graduated from Estonian Business School with a major in IT management.

Peeter and Jaan's teams first started with creating a plug-in for Revit that provided a direct link to SAP ERP. The main goal was to get material quantities from the model into SAP. With this plug-in, a user can link Revit families to materials in SAP or create new ones. The plug-in includes a validation workflow to make sure all the elements in a Revit schedule have the link to SAP material that is required to start procurement and production processes. Users can store the linked Revit families in SAP to create a "standard parts library" accessible directly from Revit. This speeds up the design and validation process. A similar plug-in was developed for Navisworks with the added feature of linking the project schedule from SAP to simulate the construction process.

With the plug-ins in hand, Peter and Jann found that traditional real estate development and construction involves many stakeholders, and the process is very fragmented. Unstructured data is scattered across various systems and databases, making the entire process difficult to track and manage. The lack of integration is one of the root causes of the high level of inefficiency and low productivity in the industry. This lead to INTELSYS' wider adoption of what Forge has to offer by focusing on BIM.

INTELSYS.build is their end-to-end cloud solution and the digital platform for highly efficient construction companies of the future. Their project centric solution enables EC&O companies to manage all of their business processes — from design, prefabrication, construction, to facility maintenance and operations — in one single system. By combining BIM data directly with business processes (ERP) stakeholders reduce errors, improve decision latency, and increase the visibility and traceability of information.

INTELSYS.build is based on two industry leading software platforms:

  • SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management with pre-configured business processes for the construction industry,
  • Autodesk Forge for accessing BIM data, design collaboration, and visualization.

Here is how they leverage Forge:

ForgeAPIsIntelsys

  • INTELSYS.build uses the Data Management API to extract BIM data for use in SAP business processes like cost calculation, budgeting, material procurement, project scheduling, production, and financial controlling. ERP systems generally don't support BIM workflows. Therefore, a BIM platform is required that enables access to the metadata embedded in the model.

  • The Model Derivative API lets INTELSYS.build translate a design into SVF for extracting data into their BIM platform and for rendering files in the Forge Viewer.

  • INTELSYS.build also embeds the Forge Viewer in SAP applications to visualize 3D models and the links between SAP and BIM data. Again, a BIM platform is required that enables quick visualization of the 3D geometry embedded in the model. The user interfaces of both SAP S/4HANA and Autodesk Forge are based on industry standard technologies like JavaScript and HTML5. This enables INTELSYS to integrate the BIM viewer directly in SAP applications to create a unified interface for the end-user.

    By creating a link between BIM objects and SAP master data objects, stakeholders can use the model to visualize business processes in SAP and link relevant documents like purchase and production orders, invoices, RFI-is, etc. to the BIM model. This makes finding information quick and easy. Revit and Navisworks integrations provided a way of getting material data into SAP, but they were not that useful during project execution and tracking the material flow. Therefore, stakeholders needed a way to visualize materials using the 3D model in SAP applications. Autodesk Forge viewer was the perfect solution. INTELSYS added the Forge viewer to SAP applications first for visualization but then realized that they could also use Forge to do material take-offs and link the materials to cost and time data in SAP. This simplified the end-to-end process and eliminated the need for any additional software — they could do it all in one system.

INTELSYS' goal is to increase transparency by providing a single system to manage the entire process. They place BIM at the heart of business processes to create a true single source of truth. The Building Information Model gives INTELSYS the needed structure to link and visualize all the data related to the design, construction, and operations of a facility. The evolution of BIM and ERP technologies has now reached a point where it is possible to integrate the two without any additional middleware. This creates simple processes in a unified IT landscape.

You can check out INTELSYS.build for yourself and see Autodesk Forge in action at AU Germany. If you can't make it to Germany, you can join us at DevCon as part of AU Las Vegas.

A BIM platform is alive in the lab.