“We already have a system to manage documents (and/or data) and we don’t understand why the engineering team thinks they need yours.”
I’ve heard statements like this many times over my career. And the reasons behind it make sense. It usually comes from someone on the IT or management team that believes that they’ve already spent the money to “solve” the engineering information management problem.
After all, there are a lot of systems that manage documents or data in one way or another. Most vendors of general purpose systems will say that they can manage engineering documents. And they can, but in a very limiting manner when compared to systems designed for EIM. (See the third bullet in the list below)
Engineering data is an amalgamation of documents and data (with some formats found only in engineering) the interrelationships of which can be far more complex and much larger in size than common business documents. In addition to these interdependencies, this content is created by sophisticated engineering applications that can imbed objects and link to external databases that carry important information about the asset that will be used in construction and operations. And, oh yeah…this content is being authored by a team, rather than an individual, and that team is frequently separated spatially.
A few years ago I wrote a short white paper on this subject and it’s due for a refresh. I’m planning to address this overdue update through a succession of weekly posts here. The series will describe both the challenges that engineering information creates and why general IM systems fall short. Some of the topics will be:
- Engineering content is different, and the IM system must account for this
- Managing engineering vs. managing the results of engineering
- File format support isn’t enough; application and workflow integration is required
- Management of change
- Securing engineering content has unique challenges
- Publishing complex engineering information shouldn’t be limited to a lowest common denominator
- Information Mobility
If you have ideas or specific questions you’d like to see addressed, please comment.
Next week we start by looking at the complexities of engineering content and the unique challenges of managing it.