What is SharePoint?
SharePoint, specifically Windows SharePoint Services (WSS), is Microsoft’s technology infrastructure for collaboration and social computing. It is a ready-to-use application, but also a technology platform for the development of Web-based applications such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS). WSS is bundled with Windows Server.
What are the key capabilities and benefits of SharePoint?
Microsoft positions WSS, the base SharePoint offering, as a team-based collaboration environment that enables users to create workspaces and then author, publish, store, share, and keep track of information. WSS also supports creative forums such as blogs and wikis, and offers integration with and offline synchronization through Outlook. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) is a secondary offering that enhances WSS to enable it to act as a document management system for Microsoft Office user communities, adding portal, content management, search, business process and forms, and business intelligence capabilities. Microsoft touts SharePoint’s easy-of-use, rapid deployment, and low total cost of ownership as its key benefits.
Can I use SharePoint for PLM?
SharePoint, by itself, is not very effective as a PLM solution since it is based on a simple model of individual data files. Unfortunately, the complex file structures and configurations which are at the heart of mechanical and electrical CAD systems as well as technical documentation tools and other applications related to product development are not understood by SharePoint, so most product developers will find that SharePoint does not work well with the core product development tools they use each day. Of course, SharePoint offers none of the more advanced PLM concepts like bill of material (BOM) management, configuration and change management, component and supplier management, or visualization and digital mockup, and many others.
What is Windchill ProductPoint?
Analogous to how MOSS enhances WSS functionality to meet the document management requirements of more sophisticated Office users, Windchill ProductPoint enhances Microsoft SharePoint with richer capabilities to enable teams to manage and share complex and structured product development information. Examples of complex structured data common in product development include MCAD, ECAD, technical publishing, embedded software, and math and simulation tools.
What are the key capabilities and benefits of Windchill ProductPoint?
Windchill ProductPoint key capabilities include:
- Social product development, to extend social computing and associated Web 2.0 technologies to the product development arena
- Multi-CAD support (CAD data sharing, CAD vaulting, CAD file management and work group collaboration), including support for Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0, AutoCAD and Mathcad
- Product visualization capabilities to display thumbnails of CAD content, and allow non-CAD users to view and markup CAD data within a simple web browser.
Windchill Portlets for SharePoint and Windchill PLM Connector are optional capabilities that create a tight bi-directional integration with Windchill; Portlets expose Windchill information in SharePoint and Windchill PLM Connector is used to exchange data with Windchill in a way that respects configuration management principles.
Windchill ProductPoint key benefits include:
- Concurrent engineering and data reuse enabled by vaulting and versioning of CAD data, which offers advantages over network drive-based storage systems and FTP sites.
- Minimal learning curve, and rapid deployment due to familiar Microsoft environment.
- The ability to complement existing implementations of Windchill product lifecycle management solutions.