CAD Central29 Feb, 2008 By: Kenneth Wong
The Collaboration Conundrum; Lifecycle Insights for Tough Times; Lynn Allen at SolidWorks World
The Collaboration Conundrum
On the surface, the results of a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive and sponsored by Adobe Systems reveal the manufacturing community's dissatisfaction with the available collaboration options. "Although 98% of all respondents collaborate, relatively few are satisfied with the process," the report noted. Only "6% of all respondents state they are very satisfied and 21% of all respondents are satisfied." Much of the gripes have to do with "slow response time, use of different software/communication tools, use of different or undefined review processes, and cumbersome software solutions."
When asked to identify the types of documents they use for collaboration, the respondents identified MS Office and PDF documents as their top choices. According to Adobe, participants were not informed of Adobe s sponsorship. (Graph created with data collected by Harris Interactive on behalf of Adobe)
But the numbers also suggest a surprising attitude toward security among the sample pool (197 from design, 210 from production). When asked about their use of structured collaboration (FTP sites, central repositories, and data-management systems) versus ad hoc methods (e-mail and personal computers), 58% listed structured and 43% listed ad hoc. This difference indicates a significant part of the segment's willingness to tolerate or accept the uncontrolled processes.
Responding to the question "Which do you use to collaborate with most often?" 62% listed e-mail and 22% said in-person or face-to-face meetings. Surprisingly, Web conferences rank at the bottom, chosen by a mere 2%. Only 34% of the respondents think enabling document security features is a must. The ability to share documents electronically emerges as the first priority, as voted by 74%.
Much to the delight of Adobe and Microsoft, the survey reveals that most respondents use MS Office documents and PDF for collaboration. But this result also puts them in a quandary. They'll have to come up with digital-rights–management methods that protect IP, yet don't impede the free flow of data.
Lifecycle Insights for Tough Times
Market watcher Manufacturing Insights' "Worldwide Product Lifecycle Strategies 2008 Top 10 Predictions" starts with a somber note. In the prelude, Joe Barkai, the company's director of product life-cycle strategies, confronts the specter of a recession: "In the long run, the U.S. auto industry continues to see brand differentiation and product image eroding, continuing the wave of customer defection."
Barkai's top prediction is that "Innovation management will be a prominent topic . . . software vendors will rally to offer solutions, but industry will be slow to adopt and undertake internal process and culture challenges."
He also predicts that
- 1. Business models will migrate from multinational to globally integrated enterprises, and manufacturers will adopt global product-management strategies by leveraging federated service-oriented architectures (SOAs).
- 2. Collaborative-decision environments will amplify the value of PLM and emerge as the next big IT investment area.
- 3. PLM will evolve from an application category of loosely coupled tools to an enterprise strategy.
Barkai is also conducting a global survey on corporate investments in PLM. Visit www.manufacturing-insights.com to participate.
Lynn Allen at SolidWorks World
Lynn Allen, affectionately known as the queen of AutoCAD, was in attendance at SolidWorks World 2008, causing a stir among SolidWorks users.
Mike Puckett, a SolidWorks blogger, interviewed Allen to find out what everyone was dying to know. "Why are you here?" he asked. Allen responded, "SolidWorks was very gracious in extending an invitation to me to come to the event."
In her own blog (http://lynn.blogs.com), Allen mused, "Let's face it — if you want to send someone to spy, you wouldn't send me . . . I went to the event because I wanted to go — plain and simple." The design problems CAD users face "aren't bound by product labels," she observed.
Allen also pointed out, "Autodesk University has opened its doors to the competition for the past two years (despite what has been written)." Let's hope the same "anything you can do, I can do better" rivalry that has prompted so much one-upmanship between the two companies might also drive them to outdo each other with chivalrous gestures.