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Collaboration and Outsourcing

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Collaboration and Outsourcing

We are discussing advantages of using outside resources to augment our engineering group. Historically we have made it mandatory that any consultant work on site so that they had access to Intralink and had direct supervision. There has been some discussion about how we might handle doing some work off premise. The concerns are access to existing common components, i.e.., fasteners, hardware and reusable items to use in assemblies in such a manner as to allow easy check in for Intralink at the conclusion of the work. If some sort of remote Intralink access is set up for the contractor then security will also need to be addressed within Intralink. How have others handled this situation, both with contracted help and collaboration between divisions and companies?

Dwayne Quatier
GE Healthcare
Ultrasound Probes
2 REPLIES 2

Re: Collaboration and Outsourcing

I don't imagine many people or companies are this motivated, at
least not yet. But I have heard of a pair of companies who have
built a really state-of-the-art outsourcing setup. So
state-of-the-art that I'm a bit surprised to see it within my
lifetime.

Both companies are using Pro/E and Intralink. Instead of the usual
hassles with separate Intralink databases, and having to reconcile
new conflicts all the time, and one company being dependent on the
other, they took a bold step:

- they together contracted with a third company to host a common
Intralink server and data. This third company not only hosts the
common Intralink server and data, but also stores other data
necessary for the project, including proprietary data that a partner
is keeping private, not sharing.

That solution means a huge amount of trust, and probably also a
huge amount of legal work settling the details. But the result is
that both companies are truly, equally, sharing a common database,
without any preference to one company or the other. A real
partnership.

As I said, I'm surprised to see that degree of outsourcing achieved
during my lifetime. But it may be useful for many of us as an
example of the work required to really address and really solve the
problems of sharing outsourced data.

An interesting detail is that third company, the one that hosts all
the project data for the other two partner companies. I have no
idea who they are, but companies like that, stepping right into the
middle of data exchange between partners, might be needed more and
more.

Peter Nurkse
Sun Microsystems


> We are discussing advantages of using outside resources to augment
> our engineering group. Historically we have made it mandatory that
> any consultant work on site so that they had access to Intralink
> and had direct supervision. There has been some discussion about
> how we might handle doing some work off premise. The concerns are
> access to existing common components, i.e.., fasteners, hardware
> and reusable items to use in assemblies in such a manner as to
> allow easy check in for Intralink at the conclusion of the work. If
> some sort of remote Intralink access is set up for the contractor
> then security will also need to be addressed within Intralink. How
> have others handled this situation, both with contracted help and
> collaboration between divisions and companies?
>
> Dwayne Quatier
> GE Healthcare
> Ultrasound Probes
>

RE: Collaboration and Outsourcing

Dwayne,

We work with our clients in a manner similar to what you are
considering. Intralink can be used collaboratively across a firewall,
but it can be very difficult to set up and its out of the box security
capabilities are extremely weak. We do have a large customer who uses
their Intralink installation with us. They share it by using Citrix.
Our solution in the past has been to host a ProjectLink site, which has
been very successful. Unfortunately, sharing Pro/E data in this way can
still be cumbersome for users. Ultimately, this is because, no matter
what PTC says, the Windchill-based solutions do not have the same
functionality and speed that Intralink has, apart from working across
the Web (Intralink is a client-server based solution). We are about to
deploy Intralink 8 to see how it will help. In theory, it looks very
promising. We will also deploy ProjectLink 8 and continue its use.

You also might want to look at Web meeting technologies. WebEx is the
clear market leader but Microsoft has aquired a similar technology and
is making a run at them (heck, there was even a commercial on the Bob
and Tom radio show for a free trial of Microsoft Live Meeting). We use
WebEx and it saves us and our clients considerable time and money. You
can use a cheap Web video camera to look at components and at the same
time share a session of Pro/E. One final stat: in the last 3 months,
over 50% of the participants in our WebEx meetings have been located in
China.

David MacKenzie
ITE