Talk to somebody about how to implement enterprise software… What is the first thing that comes to your mind? It is a complex and long process very often requires transforming your business processes and everyday habits. Believe it or not, but even these days, engineering and manufacturing company processes are heavy involving paper. It is not unusual to see the situation when after modern 3D CAD software engineers are printing drawings and ECO forms to sign for approval.
Few weeks ago, I stumbled on an interesting blog post by PLM Alpha blog of Aras Corp. The post name was self-explaining – Making PLM forms look exactly like existing paper or legacy forms with Aras. Navigate to the following link and have a read. In a nutshell, it says how Aras allows to create forms with the set of attributes and location, which will be similar to existing paper forms. Here is an example from PLM Alpha blog:
What is especially interesting is technological detail provided in the blog: Since the resulting forms are DHTML (dynamic HTML), it is possible to use any HTML features and functions in the forms, allowing unlimited artistic freedom to re-create existing legacy screens or paper forms exactly the way they look and function today.
PLM, Tablets and Touch UX
Aras blog made me think about modern changes that happen nowadays in user experience. I posted about them yesterday – What CAD and PLM vendors need to learn about touch interface? One of the trends in the design of touch user experience is mimicking existing real-world metaphors. Probably, the best example of such user experience is Book application.
The idea that came to my mind is that PLM application can simplify user adoption by relying on legacy paper forms and use modern tablet computers to make it happen nowadays.
What is my conclusion? To simplify user experience and make application easy to understand is one of the key requirements these days. I don’t know if Aras has in their mind to transform Aras Innovator DHTML forms to iPad or Android Tablet Applications. The idea seems to me cool. However, I’d be interested to speak to engineers and other people in manufacturing company to understand if it “holds the water” and can really improve the adoption and learning curve. Just my thoughts…