At the risk of offending people who despise putting people into two groups, I have observed that when faced with a large problem possessing many variables and no certain solution, people fall into one of two groups. People in the first group get excited by the thrill of the challenge; people in the second group get a knot in their stomach and wish someone would ask them a simple one-dimensional question instead.
Most engineers fall into the first group, but the gung ho attitude often comes unglued when the topic turns from “increase the battery life” to “automate our engineering document management.” Let’s face it: nobody went to engineering school to learn how to streamline data and document management, that’s what business schools are for.
To ease your angst, the folks at Synergis Software have written a guide to help engineers sort out the issues when selecting a new engineering document management system (EDMS). Yes, of course Synergis hopes you end up selecting Adept, but the information in their guide offers straightforward guidance that will ease your pain no matter what buying decision you make.
The new white paper from Synergis Software is “Document Management Nuts & Bolts,” a technical guide to researching and evaluating engineering document management solutions. It is written to help product data management (PDM) and EDMS evaluators with two essential tasks:
- Preparing to ask the right questions when comparing vendor solutions;
- How to gather the right answers to work with your vendor for a successful implementation.
The paper breaks the task into six steps, and walks the reader through the decision making process for each step. “Nuts & Bolts” is a good name for it; the paper gets into the heart of the matter in a no-nonsense, straightforward way that will appeal to engineers.
I don’t want this to turn into a rehash of the white paper, so from my experience let me add a bit of perspective. Going from Windows Explorer to a modern PDM/EDMS is not trivial; it deserves significant planning and review of your company’s existing processes as well as your goals for improvement. As you work through the six steps in the “Nuts & Bolts” paper, remember the goal is to help people find and use valuable information faster. So always ask these four questions as you work through the evaluation process:
- Does this solution help our PEOPLE?
- Does this solution help our INFORMATION?
- Does this solution help our IT INFRASTRUCTURE?
- Does this solution help our MISSION?
Engineering document management is a mission-critical application. When implemented correctly, it impacts everyone in the organization, not just the engineering staff. Taking the time to carefully evaluate both the technical requirements and the business considerations will yield benefits every day for years to come.
Randall S. Newton is the principal analyst and managing director at Consilia Vektor, a consulting firm serving the engineering software industry. He has been directly involved in engineering software in a number of roles since 1985. More information is available at https://www.linkedin.com/in/randallnewton.