Windchill ProductPoint: A new class of application?

Some of you may be familiar with my tendency to call most of today’s PLM systems as still being too hard to use and getting in the way of the typical design engineer.

I recently had the opportunity to get a close look at ProductPoint, with some of PTC’s technical experts. I was impressed with its ease of use and connectivity to Pro/ENGINEER.

Windchill ProductPoint appears to be the beginning of a new class of products that build on the lessons learned by the latest developments in social networking. In fact, we are beginning to see an interest in what is being called “social product development.” What does this actually mean? No crisp definition yet exists but Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and its ilk seem to have opened up a vast desire to connect with others instantly. This differs greatly from typical engineering processes, whereby a product developer designs in his cubicle, then after a relatively large amount of time, shares his design with others for comments, criticisms, and feedback.

Windchill ProductPoint gives SharePoint reach into the world of Product Development. Sharepoint, Microsoft’s technology infrastructure for collaboration, has already been well adopted across manufacturing companies as a backbone for Office applications, primarily for document sharing and management. Windchill ProductPoint, now enables SharePoint to understand and store complex CAD data. A future release of Windchill ProductPoint will go further and support the sharing of information among other Windchill-based systems.

If you have a Pro/ENGINEER installation and do not have a Windchill PLM solution installed, we advise installing ProductPoint immediately. The benefits to using ProductPoint will seem to transport your organization into the modern era. The costs are moderate, the installation straightforward, and the administration of product data will provide huge benefits in your daily operation. Not only will it improve the management of your critical product data, but it and SharePoint will also improve other related day-to-day operations. We all know that engineering information is just a piece of the information required to design and release products. ProductPoint will also allow and the maintenance of related documents such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and pdf files – all able to now be easily managed, revision controlled, AND accessible to your entire organization, locally and worldwide.

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