Do We Need Files to Collaborate in PLM?

Picture 32Interesting publication came during the weekend related to the future of collaboration. According to the analytical research, 80 Per Cent of Enterprise Collaboration Platforms Will Primarily Be Based on Web 2.0 Techniques by 2013 Managing Users’ Transition from File-Orientation to Web 2.0 Approach Will Be a Major Challenge. The main point of research and/or prediction made by Gartner is related to the difference between so called – “file based” and “browser based” collaboration came mostly in wiki-style and web 2.0 like tools and future migrations between them.

I’d like to take it a bit future and analyze what implications it can provide for future collaboration in product development. On one side, most of CAD based collaboration tools are file-based. Files are remaining the most significant piece of information people are collaborating on. Files come to the collaboration in a very different way – CAD files (obvious), many CAE related ones, Excel Files with variate of information resided into these files.

On the contrary, we can see many tools that purely web based on hybrid with significant dissociation from file content. Collaborative tools in the style of Wikis, collaboration tools come out Microsoft SharePoint, various Web tools are coming more and more loudly shows their place in collaboration.

Separately, I’d like to say few words about CAD and collaboration. Tools like CATIA V6 and associated 3DLive presents a new way collaborate on single product content (mainly design, for the moment). What will happen to these tools in the future? Will it be the foundation for the future non-file collaboration tools?

So, what is my conclusion today? Collaboration tools are slowly starting to their move from the need to read “files” into the direction to focusing more on pure “content”. In my view, this move will be slow, but this is a way to go. So, may be in 2013 years we’ll see a completely new way to collaborate as it according to the Gartner prediction? Hmm… interesting.. What do you think?

Best, Oleg


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