Enterprise application hosting and management system

An enterprise application hosting and management system is used to deliver applications to enterprise and/or public stakeholders. Applications delivered from this system pattern tend to be web or mobile applications, and typically have rigid technical requirements and SLAs for areas like reliability, performance, and scalability.

This system pattern is similar, in terms of capabilities and technology components, to the self-service mapping, analysis, and sharing system pattern, but differs significantly from an architectural perspective. More specifically, this system pattern focuses on delivering robust, secure, and high performing applications to broad groups of stakeholders performing critical functions for the enterprise. It relies heavily on structured workflows, governance, change management, and automation.

An enterprise application hosting and management system pattern delivers value to an organization through various characteristics, such as:

  • Delivering business and mission critical applications to the enterprise.
  • Engaging broad groups of technical and non-technical stakeholders through focused, easy-to-use web and mobile applications.
  • Enforcing enterprise-level technical requirements including performance, security, scalability, accessibility, and availability, for the purpose of providing high levels of business continuity where appropriate.
  • Ensuring high trust in the accuracy, readiness and availability of the data displayed via enterprise applications.

If you’re new to ArcGIS system patterns, review the introduction first.

User personas and workflows

The user personas who most commonly interact with enterprise application hosting and management systems, along with the types of workflows and tasks they typically perform using this system, include:

  • General user. General users interact with the applications hosted by the system. Application interaction may range from simple viewing of data to more complex and involved workflows. General users are typically limited to a set number of workflows or operations within the application.
  • Content creator and Application developer. These two roles work behind the scenes in lower environments to build the applications hosted and managed by this system. Unlike with self-service mapping, analysis, and sharing systems, these users do not typically publish and share data or other content to the system directly. They typically rely on data owners, data stewards, and other administrative roles for all data and content management needs.
  • Data owner. Data owners are accountable for the dataset(s) that support the applications hosted and managed in this system. This typically includes design, oversight, and management responsibilities, and may also include ensuring that the data is designed, published, and hosted in this system in such a way that it supports the functional and non-functional needs of the application(s) it’s powering.
  • Data steward. Data stewards are typically responsible for the day-to-day management of dataset(s) that support the applications hosted and managed in this system.

Applications

There are many applications, websites, and experiences provided by ArcGIS. Those most commonly used by the personas above to interface with an enterprise application hosting and management system are presented below.

Note:

The PaaS deployment model powered by ArcGIS Platform only supports custom applications built with the mapping APIs and SDKs. Other applications listed below are supported in the SaaS, Windows/Linux, and Kubernetes deployment patterns.

  • Custom applications built with mapping APIs and SDKs are very common with this system pattern, as delivering focused apps and experiences to such a broad audience often demands customization.
  • Application builders are commonly used to create web applications used broadly by general users in this system pattern. These application builders include ArcGIS Instant Apps, ArcGIS Dashboards, ArcGIS Story Maps, and ArcGIS Experience Builder. Unlike in self-service mapping, analysis, and systems, application builders in enterprise application hosting and management systems are used behind the scenes to create applications in lower environments.
  • ArcGIS Hub and ArcGIS Enterprise Sites unify apps and content in websites that are commonly used to organize and disseminate content to users across an organization. These websites are easy to create, enabling tailored destination experiences for different segments of an organization’s userbase. Like application builders, these site builders are used behind the scenes to create websites that are shared with general users through carefully controlled, governed workflows.
  • ArcGIS Solutions provide ready-to-use, configurable solutions for many industries. ArcGIS Solutions include industry-focused applications that are commonly used with this system pattern.
  • Native mobile applications are commonly delivered through this system to support a variety of field workflows. These applications include ArcGIS Field Maps, an all-in-one mobile application available for Android, iOS, watchOS, and Windows devices, as well as ArcGIS Navigator, ArcGIS Workforce, and ArcGIS QuickCapture. Location sharing may also be enabled to share the location tracks of field users. Many of these applications are capable of working with or without network connectivity, though for information on offline (disconnected) workflows, see the related system patterns below.
  • ArcGIS Survey123 is form-centric data gathering solution for web and mobile devices. ArcGIS Survey123 is sometimes delivered through this system to collect data from large groups of enterprise or public stakeholders through form-centric surveys.
  • ArcGIS Microsoft 365 brings location capabilities into familiar business productivity tools including Microsoft Excel, Power BI, SharePoint, and Teams. ArcGIS for Microsoft 365 also includes connectors for Power Automate to incorporate spatial functionality into no-code and low-code automation flows.
  • ArcGIS Earth is a free, general purpose, interactive 3D experience to plan, visualize, and evaluate events on the globe. ArcGIS Earth includes robust support for KML, and is available for both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Additional apps provided through industry-focused products and solutions may also be delivered using this system pattern. These include, but are not limited to, ArcGIS Indoors, ArcGIS Workflow Manager, Esri Redistricting, and ArcGIS Mission. Special consideration in the design and deployment of these applications may be required to deliver on the SLAs and technical requirements typically associated with this system pattern.
  • In addition to application and site builders, other applications are commonly used to create and manage data, services, and applications provided through this pattern. Included are the portal website, which is typically used to author maps, manage data, as well as ArcGIS Notebooks, which is typically used in this system pattern for administration and automation workflows. It also includes ArcGIS Pro, a desktop application used by GIS professionals and other expert roles within an organization to conduct advanced geospatial work, including managing geospatial data.

For more information on the full spectrum of applications provided by ArcGIS, see application architecture in the ArcGIS overview.

Capabilities

The primary capabilities provided by an enterprise application hosting and management system are introduced below, including both general capabilities as well as industry-specific capabilities and solutions. Capabilities used in enterprise applications, but typically provided by other systems, such as basemaps, geocoding, and other location services provided by a location services system are not listed below. Learn more about related system patterns.

Note:

Not all capabilities described below are available in all deployment patterns. See selecting a deployment pattern and the deployment pattern pages for more information on how these capabilities apply (or don’t apply) in various deployment contexts.

General capabilities

  • Mapping and visualization allow users to create as well as interact with 2D maps and 3D scenes. This includes data-driven visualization, 3D visualization, as well as basemap styling. Learn more about maps and visualization.
  • App building empowers content creators to create web applications using a no-code or low-code approach. It also enables application developers to create web apps, native mobile and desktop apps, and extended reality (XR) and immersive experiences using full code approach. Unlike self-service mapping, analysis, and sharing systems, in enterprise application hosting and management systems the app building capability is not used in production, but rather in lower environments to build applications that are promoted to production through a change controlled process. Learn more about ArcGIS Builders and ArcGIS Mapping APIs and SDKs.
  • Site building enables organizations to create hosted websites using a no-code or low-code approach. Site building, like app building, is performed in lower environments in enterprise application hosting and management systems.
  • Data publishing and hosting provides for secure storage, management, and access of data as a service. Published data can be used to create different types of data services, including feature, vector tile, and map tile services. Data publishing and hosting in this system pattern is typically highly governed and not provided as a self-service capability to content creators. Learn more about data publishing and hosting.
  • Data editing capabilities are provided, though not commonly employed in enterprise application hosting and management systems. Data editing workflows used in this system pattern are typically lightweight survey or crowdsourcing style data collection. Most data editing workflows tend to be better served by data editing and management systems.
  • Data import and export supports importing and exporting data in bulk. Data import and export are commonly used to load data into application-optimized data stores and information models, as well as to move data between environments. Data Pipelines, which can be used to import data, is also an option for some deployment patterns.
  • Data interoperability and transformation enables data movement among hundreds of systems and apps using the visual programming interface provided by ArcGIS Data Interoperability. Data Pipelines is also an option for some deployment patterns.
  • Workflow management and automation supports orchestration and automation of work across teams using ArcGIS Workflow Manager. Workflow management and automation in enterprise application hosting and management systems tends to focus on the streamlining of interactive steps exposed through focused applications, often in conjunction with heavy use of automated steps.
  • Spatial joins and relationships enable rows from two datasets to be combined based on a spatial relationship. In enterprise application hosting and management systems, spatial joins and relationships capabilities are exposed through focused applications, typically relying on spatial analysis services provided by a location services system. Learn more about spatial joins and relationships.
  • Network analysis helps solve complex network problems (typically on street networks) such as creating an optimized route to visit many destinations, finding the closest facility, identifying a service area around a location, or servicing a set of orders with a fleet of vehicles. In enterprise application hosting and management systems, network analysis capabilities are exposed through focused applications, typically relying on spatial analysis services provided by a location services system. Learn more about network analysis.
  • Pattern analysis identifies spatial and temporal patterns in data. In enterprise application hosting and management systems, pattern analysis capabilities are exposed through focused applications, typically relying on spatial analysis services provided by a location services system. Learn more about pattern analysis.
  • Proximity analysis looks at the proximity of spatial data to other spatial data. In enterprise application hosting and management systems, proximity analysis capabilities are exposed through focused applications, typically relying on spatial analysis services provided by a location services system. Learn more about proximity analysis.
  • Summarization analysis aggregates or summarizes data into higher order data structures. In enterprise application hosting and management systems, summarization analysis capabilities are exposed through focused applications, typically relying on spatial analysis services provided by a location services system. Learn more about summarization analysis.
  • Geometry analysis is the process of using a client-side API to perform one or more operations on a point, polyline, or polygon to solve a geometric problem. Types of geometry analysis include spatial relationships, geometric calculations, measurement operations, and projection of data to new spatial references. Learn more about geometry analysis and how geometry analysis compares to feature analysis.
  • 3D visual analysis is a type of spatial analysis that calculates and displays spatial information derived from the terrain, buildings, and other 3D objects contained within a scene. In enterprise application hosting and management systems, 3D visual analysis capabilities are exposed through focused applications, typically relying on spatial analysis services provided by a location services system. Learn more about 3D visual analysis.

Industry-specific capabilities and solutions

  • Indoor GIS combines source CAD, BIM, and reality capture data into a single geospatial data editing and management system using ArcGIS Indoors. ArcGIS Indoors enables organizations to build an indoor GIS, putting the power of indoor mapping, wayfinding, and space management software into everyone’s hands. Indoor GIS commonly serves indoor maps and applications to broad groups of stakeholders including, but not limited to, enterprise and public audiences through lightweight mobile apps or kiosks. As such, portions of an indoor GIS may be best delivered through an enterprise application hosting and management system.
  • Mission management brings a geographic approach to command and control. Powered by ArcGIS Mission, mission management helps streamline mission operations and inform decision-making by fusing a real-time data with other operational and asset data sources.
  • Other industry solutions are rapidly deployable industry-specific configurations of ArcGIS provided by ArcGIS Solutions.

Architecture considerations

Enterprise application hosting and management systems are built using ArcGIS. This section describes in more detail how enterprise application hosting and management systems align with and focus on specific aspects of the ArcGIS architecture.

For more detailed architecture considerations, see selecting a deployment pattern.

Data (persistence)

Enterprise application hosting and management system data architecture considerations

Enterprise application hosting and management systems work primarily with relational or imagery data stored in file, object, databases, and cloud data warehouse stores. Data from these sources may not be managed in this system, rather such data are connected or published to this system for web access and use in focused enterprise applications.

The ArcGIS data models and rules are commonly employed to support rich mapping, visualization, and analysis capabilities. Industry-specific data models are also commonly used to enable industry-specific application functionality.

Real-time and IoT feeds are not typically served or managed in enterprise application hosting and management systems, though such feeds may be incorporated at the application tier. Learn more about real-time data streaming and analytics systems.

It is also common for applications, especially those governed by strict performance and availability SLAs, to leverage application-specific data stores and models that exist primarily in this system, but are loaded or synchronized from data managed in other systems.

Services (logic)

Enterprise application hosting and management system services architecture considerations

Enterprise application hosting and management systems typically deliver focused applications that leverage data access and query, interactive mapping, basemaps, reference layers, and spatial analysis capabilities. Data editing, typically as form-based surveys or focused crowdsourcing applications, is sometimes delivered through this pattern, though most data editing needs are typically better addressed with a data editing and management system. Some of the more advanced or specialized capabilities are typically delivered through other systems (and often are not governed by strict SLAs).

Enterprise application hosting and management systems tend to make lighter use of portal services as compared to other system patterns, as this system pattern tends to focus more on delivering enterprise applications, and the rigid technical or non-functional demands that accompany them, than on empowering self-service content creation, sharing, and collaboration within organizations. Learn more about self-service mapping, analysis, and sharing systems.

The ArcGIS REST API is used as the main endpoint into the system for application access, though some applications may leverage other services-based APIs.

Applications (presentation)

Enterprise application hosting and management system application architecture considerations

Enterprise application hosting and management systems leverage ready-to-use applications, app and site builders, as well as mapping SDKs provided by Esri to deliver enterprise applications. Custom applications developed using mapping APIs and SDKs are especially common in this system, as these can deliver optimally tailored experiences to enterprise and public stakeholders.

Applications delivered to enterprise or public stakeholders through this system pattern tend to be focused, supporting well-defined audiences and workflows. Responsive and/or mobile-first design approaches are also commonly employed with applications hosted and managed in this system pattern.

For more information see the applications section above.

Support

Enterprise application hosting and management systems are commonly used to deliver business and mission critical applications to enterprise and public stakeholders. These systems require considerations similar to other critical systems in organizations.

Enterprise application hosting and management systems are typically designed and operated with high levels of reliability, security, observability, performance, and scalability. Strong governance practices and standards can also help ensure that the system is able to mature, expand, and evolve according to the needs of the business while at the same time adhering to non-functional, IT requirements.

Integration with other systems is common, as many enterprise applications demand that data and/or capabilities be brought together from multiple information systems.

Automation is also very common, primarily for management and administrative workflows, as it typically provides more consistent and reliable operations, reducing the possibility of human error. Automation may also be employed to facilitate and streamline the movement of data into enterprise application hosting and management systems.

For general support and architecture considerations see architecture practices as well as the architecture pillars of the Well-Architected Framework.

Enterprise application hosting and management systems are often combined with other ArcGIS system patterns. Some common examples include:

For more information on integrating or composing system patterns, see using system patterns.

Examples

Industry-specific system examples for this system pattern include:

  • Commercial. Organizations in commercial real estate, financial services, and retail sectors can utilize an enterprise application hosting and management system pattern to serve complete solutions to both internal and external users. Example applications include internal facing situational awareness apps, market or competitor analysis apps, or public facing store locator apps. Typically, public facing applications are custom applications, have high SLA requirements and are designed to meet an organizations branding requirements. For example see Digital Twins and the Store of the Future.
  • Health and human services. Health care and public health organizations can utilize an enterprise application hosting and management system pattern to share maps and applications that inform public health and health care access. A recent example of this pattern is the John’s Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard (discontinued operations). These health and human services applications can alert news agencies and public health agencies to upticks in disease migration or outbreaks of infection that may be dangerous to the public. They can help inform response strategies and align many users around a common dataset. These dashboards may include internal and external views that adapt to the viewer based on access controls. Maps and applications in this pattern have a high SLA and are subjected to vigorous vetting for accuracy and privacy.
  • Insurance. Insurance industry organizations might employ the use of dashboards and applications to share response time, claims data and customer service information with a variety of users. Further, they might use internal facing maps and applications aimed at allowing workforces to make decisions about outage response, routing and spatial decision making. Insurance organizations may also share risk, opportunity, and sales information with users in a non-editable application, which would allow many users to gather individual metrics based on shared data. See an insurance-based demonstration video here.
  • National government. National government agencies can share large information datasets with users and allow for dashboard or application frames to enable filtering, searching, light analysis and routing. National Government agencies might also work with other agencies such as state and local and health and human services to collaborate on comprehensive situational awareness products. These applications may be accessible to the public, but the content is protected from editing. Popular examples in the space include Humanitarian Efforts in disaster response and recovery and public health preparedness mapping. See how an ArcGIS Experience Builder application is supporting the NOAA-managed Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Georgia
  • Natural resources. With an Enterprise application hosting and management system pattern, oil and gas companies can share applications with their myriad of interested stakeholders. Natural resources includes users from a range of sectors including forestry, mining, pipeline and petroleum, and agriculture. See what one organization is doing in Nigeria Agrolog Limited.
  • State and local government. State and local agencies rely on data to help them provide effective services to citizens. There are a wide range of applications that cover the breadth of workflows within state and local government organizations. Some examples include the Brevard County street viewer application and a set of property management apps in Casablanca.
  • Transportation. Transportation agencies can use applications to collaborate on budgeting decisions via projects like MassDOT MaPIT or to communicate road restrictions and hazmat routing requirements as is detailed in this CDOT case study.
  • Utilities. Utilities can use an enterprise application hosting and management system pattern like the Chugach Electric Association did to modernize the operations to improve efficiency and information access.
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