How to close collaboration gaps in CAD and PDM

How to close collaboration gaps in CAD and PDM

real-time-collaboration-design

We don’t have to share the same room to work together these days. Business are discovering globalization option following customers across the globe, skilled workforce, capital and supply chain option. In such environment, it is an imperative goal to develop reliable collaboration option.

There are many technologies these day that can support global teams with variety of collaborative options. However, with all respect to technologies and products, our ability to correlate the work with do on everyday basis with other people in the team is not following the demand for collaboration.

How can we better connect our business output with the work teams and individuals are doing in different offices and locations? Conference calls, video conferences, webcasts, instant messages, social tools. All these tools are supposed to help, but in fact very often these tools are one of the biggest productivity drains. After all, fancy collaborative tools are becoming an expensive and inefficient “file share” servers and most of our effort is how to keep these complex shares in sync between teams and locations. When it fails, companies are creating new data silos to help people to coordinate their work.

There are many examples of how CAD and PLM tools are solving collaboration problems in design, engineering and manufacturing. I just want to bring two that just came to me yesterday.

I captured my first example at Siemens PLM Analyst Event in Boston. Siemens PLM and Teamcenter has big plans to develop variety of tools to support supplier participation in high-value business processes. My human translation – Teamcenter will help organizations and people to collaborate.

siemens-supply-design-collab-1

The following example of Design Data Exchange shows specifically how portion of data can be retrieved and shared for collaboration with a supplier. Rules are supporting automatic data retrieval from Teamcenter.

siemens-supply-design-collab-2

This is not very unique process. The devil is in details and the way data can be extracted and shared in the context of work done by other people at the same time is critical. I hope to learn more about that later today.

My second example comes from the blog post about new feature developed by Onshape (a new software outfit founded by Jon Hirschtick and few other members of early Solidworks team). The fundamental premises of Onshape cloud CAD tool is support online collaboration between people working on the same design.The design teams spread across the room or across the world can collaborate on the same CAD model at the same time. You can learn more about Onshape collaboration functionality here. The last Onshape functionality – Onshape Teams allows to share information with a group of people and simplify the process of sharing.

onshape-team1

 

onshape-team2

What is my conclusion? You can get around using different tools to collaborate by sharing information between users and groups. What seems to me important is to be able to manage information boundary for collaboration. You can do it using variety of technologies on premise or cloud. However, the most important thing is to create a real time collaborative context. It can be tricky. To get data export / import and exchange information can be relatively easy, but it won’t help you to collaborate on the same piece of data at the same time. To support real time collaborative context can be a potential gap. By developing technologies to support it we enable a greater level of collaboration efficiency in the future. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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  • Sébastien Dartigues

    So true, technology will help to cover such use cases but be careful with data security & confidentiality. You can not exchange all with everybody. Security Officers will not surely see cloud hosting as an heaven… Controling data exchanges are the key. Don’t you thinK?

  • beyondplm

    Sebasiten, thanks for your comment! Yes, security is very important as well as controlling data exchange. But it is important to balance it with some openness and collaborative approach. I often see how IT is blocking some cloud systems and (at the same time), all information is shared on gmail/gdrive.

  • Sébastien Dartigues

    You’re right and there you point the IP protection and the fears that someone will steal your secret or that the world is so open.
    In the meantime, usb key, shared folders, (one/google) drive / dropbox exists and contains company information.
    It’s a reality.
    So i don’t think that an open world (related to this information) will widely exist, but step by step (ex: by obfuscating / hiding attributes) it’s possible to imagine a collaboration area.
    All these things has to be designed & assessed between stakeholders (business, security, IT, etc.).