A revolution in IT is underway, pressured by four strong currents: big data analysis, the cloud, mobile devices, and social media. Because of the momentum of these trends, some engineering software companies now push their customers to port every bit of design and engineering data to cloud technology, so it can be reorganized for greater efficiency.
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) products take this approach; they scrape every engineering document for every bit of information, and reassemble the pieces in a new database. According to this philosophy, the key to efficiency is data granularity; the more one breaks design information into its individual pieces the more efficient the organization becomes. A small army of consulting firms make a good living doing this for PLM customers.
But as the old adage states, the devil is in the details. Is a drawing or a 3D model just a geometry database that needs the information within to be extracted? Is every cell in a spreadsheet really longing to be liberated and moved to a PLM database? Does efficiency require scrambling the existing paradigm and changing work flow? No doubt, cloud technology has tremendous value when used correctly; the question becomes how to use it wisely.