Go, Uploads or Direct – which should you choose?

Aspen Enterprise Insights accepts data in one of three ways, each being optimal for a different use-case.

Data acquisition options

In brief there are the following options:

  1. Aspen Go
    A small client side application which permits MS Office integration, permitting upload of data from MS Excel and export/insertion of Insights data into MS PowerPoint or Word.
  2. Uploads
    A ‘file drop’ area on Insights which initiates automatic processing of an MS Excel or Primavera .XER file into the Insights databases to drive reports, KPIs or workflows.
  3. Direct connection
    A bidirectional database or API connection which extracts data directly from source into the Insights databases, e.g., ODBC, SQLPlus, RESTful API.
    Direct connection could be from source to an Insights on-premise server or from source to cloud via Aspen Bridge.

Which should you choose?

First, if you’re building a demo or proof of concept use Go or Uploads. It’s easy; as soon as you upload your data you can build a report/trigger using a Pipeline.

All three methods are suitable for production systems.

Here’s a straight comparison:

  • Go
    Great for selecting fragments of Excel data to upload.
    Great for automatically refreshing widgets/KPIs/triggers.
    Zero configuration required.
    Does not automatically version data.
  • Uploads
    Great for dropping/processing whole files.
    Great for processing large files.
    Easy & powerful configuration of file processing.
    Automatically versions data.
  • Direct
    Great for complete end-to-end automation.
    Great for enterprise scale data.
    Can version data.

If there is ‘raw’ data accessible then direct connection will completely automate KPIs, reports and triggers – it’s the ‘gold standard’, preferred option for this reason. Often you’ll find operational systems like process historians, scheduling, HSE, Risk Management are all directly accessible (e.g., IP.21).

Sometimes raw data is not available:

  • systems are protected, e.g., SAP cost data might not be available for direct queries.
  • target data is not in any system, e.g., data entered directly into MS Excel

In these cases you need Go or Uploads, depending on whether you need:

  • Automatic versioning (Uploads)
  • Files processed into a particular data structure (Uploads)
  • End user control of data to send to Insights (Go)
  • Uploading images (Go, from MS Excel)
  • Automatic uploading (Go)

Finally, if there’s really no choice to be made our advice would be to use Uploads as there’s no client side application required and you have total control over the way the file is processed into the databases.

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