Prior to the Daratech 2001 Summit Conference (February 26–28, 2001), I asked an editor who planned to attend to count how many times she heard the word “collaboration” during the three-day event. From what I’ve heard since the Summit, collaboration was the word of the hour, minute, second, and presentations. What’s the mania about collaboration? In my judgment, the word/idea/phenomenon has taken on the same popularity as other buzzwords such as concurrent engineering from the 1990s, and more recently, dot-com and Internet-based come-ons that have garnered just as much hype.
With that in mind, we asked several executives how they think the collaboration landscape will shape up in the next year or so. Will companies base business models around collaboration, or will the concept siphon off just as the dot-com frenzy did at the end of 2000?
Are engineers and designers simply using email as a collaborative tool or are they utilizing more sophisticated means of exchanging engineering data to achieve their time-to-market, time-to-money, and customer requirement goals?
Yuri Kizimovich, 3Ga co-founder and CEO (www.partbrowser.com), says it’s imperative that vendors and their customers understand how collaboration will mutually benefit them. “In the product development process, collaborative reviews are used to help streamline the decision-making process and ensure that an engineering change is required. By associating the effects of engineering requirements as a way to measure the effectiveness of an engineering change, design teams can collectively evaluate what makes a particular design configuration optimal. This evaluation cycle is still missing from today’s collaborative offerings.”