Has THIS ever happened to you…?
You spend weeks working on a detailed, complex report and email a copy to the rest of your team to see if they have any notes or suggestions. Only, instead of sending you the notes separately, each person downloads the report, edits it directly and sends it back to you.
Now you have six versions of the same report, all with different sets of edits, suggestions and changes. The job of wading through these conflicting copies, identifying what’s been changed and trying to harmonize them all into a single document will take you almost as long as it did to write the report!
This is difficult enough to deal with when you’re working with text. If you’re working with something as complex as a CAD design, you’re entering nervous-breakdown territory. What’s more, it takes significant time and effort to make even a subtle change to a detailed product design, so if you have multiple designers wasting time by duplicating the same work and creating more work for whoever has to pull those ideas together, you have a serious productivity problem on your hands.
There’s a simple fix for text documents...
...using cloud technology to ensure everyone on your team is always editing the same version. More and more organizations opt for tools like DropBox or Google Docs precisely for this reason, eliminating the problem, streamlining their workflows and making it easier than ever before for dispersed teams to collaborate effectively.
What many companies don’t realise, though, is that you can now do this with CAD designs, too.
Take Dassault Systèmes, which has long held a reputation as creator of one of the top CAD design programs in the world: CATIA. These guys make a whole bunch of tools for building parametric and non-parametric 3D models and have been steadily adding awesome functionality to each new version, through to the most recent iteration, CATIA 3DEXPERIENCE.
No matter how great the software was, it wasn’t able to tackle this persistent productivity and collaboration problem… until now, with Dassault Systèmes launching a cloud-based version of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
This is kind of a big deal.
Whereas the old platform saved all data locally onto a computer, leading to multiple versions and huge hurdles for designers trying to share their work with colleagues, vendors or others outside their organization, the new platform saves this data to cloud-hosted servers. Several different users can sign in with their authoring credentials to the same database at the same time, working on the area they’ve been granted access to, while ensuring that all their tasks relate to the latest, definitive version of the project.
The great thing is that you choose what kind of access each person has. Just because they can access the central database doesn’t mean they can see confidential information, design materials, financial data or anything else meant solely for a different team. Your design engineers can, for example, be granted editing rights, while external vendors can be granted just the rights to view the design.
At the moment, setting up 3DEXPERIENCE is out of the price range for smaller companies, but Dassault has introduced a workaround for CATIA V5 users who want to get the benefits of their new approach. Called 3DEXPERIENCE Social Collaboration Services, this is available to all users with an annual license for CATIA V5 and allows them to upload their data to cloud-based 3D Drives to share with other stakeholders in the project.
This isn’t quite as powerful as having your own 3DEXPERIENCE rollout, but it still takes all the hassle out of connecting everyone involved in product development, from any device, at any time, from anywhere.
What’s more, you can organize all your files and data through easy-to-use dashboards, manage authentications to control who sees what, leave annotations, markups and comments on designs and documents, review and select designs for development, create communities around a project and communicate with members through instant messaging, collaborate easily with peers, access and search a sophisticated marketplace of parts suppliers and potential manufacturing partners, trace order modifications and part updates, work with these vendors directly through the platform, and manage your relationships with all your stakeholders.
In other words, what started as a great way to fix one problem - getting rid of conflicting versions to stop people repeating or wasting work - has evolved into a system that streamlines everything related to taking your product from CAD design to manufacture.
That’s what happens when you recognize that you don’t need to accept productivity-killing problems in your company. You might think that this one tiny pain point isn’t having that big an impact on your business, but by getting proactive about fixing one annoyance, you start to notice all the other niggles that collectively slow every project down.
This is the beauty of the brand new wave of cloud design technology; it helps you to improve communication and collaboration all along the chain, ironing out the lumps and bumps to give you a smooth ride all the way to the finish line. Imagine how much more you could achieve!
Want to learn more about 3DEXPERIENCE Social Collaboration Services? Click here!
CATIA V5 has been revitalised for 2018 and beyond, with the introduction of "Power’By" 3DEXPERIENCE (available February 2018)...