Electronic collaboration isn’t just for engineering anymore.
Oracle acquired Cimmetry Systems, the makers of AutoVue enterprise visualization software, as part of its acquisition of Agile Software. Oracle’s AutoVue solutions provide a Web-based capability to natively view, mark up, and collaborate on documents throughout the extended enterprise without requiring investment in specialized computer-aided design (CAD) tools and without compromising security or precision. Profit spoke with Dave Flame, Oracle vice president, technology global sales support and AutoVue global sales, and Paul Giaconia, Oracle group vice president, AutoVue application development and product strategy.
Profit: What is AutoVue?
Giaconia: AutoVue focuses on what we call enterprise visualization, which speaks to a basic business problem that we’re trying to solve. AutoVue is a document-agnostic solution that allows you to securely read, view, and enable annotation and collaboration on virtually any document, regardless of the software tool that was used to create it.
Flame: Customers leverage AutoVue in three ways: to enable significant improvement in engineering processes, such as the iterative design, review, and approval process; to enable significant improvement in broader business processes that utilize technical content, such as supply chain, call center, logistics, and asset management; and to address the unique operational and security needs of business-critical and highly confidential technical content.
Profit: What business challenges does enterprise visualization address?
Giaconia: Many companies have invested heavily in desktop tools aimed at improving productivity. Examples are things like CAD or electronic design automation, or even office automation tools. While those investments have helped improve individual productivity, they don’t work on a larger scale because each of those tools has a proprietary document format. In order to share documents electronically throughout the organization, you have to have many copies of the tools themselves, which is expensive and impractical. Take the U.S. construction industry, where such collaboration is essential. There are estimates that this industry in the U.S. alone wastes about $16 billion a year on this problem. The industry would like to seamlessly be able to share engineering and installation drawings, specifications, and project plans across the entire design and supply chain, but because tools used to create these documents are proprietary, organizations are severely limited in being able to share information electronically. AutoVue solves the problem and eliminates the waste.
Profit: How is AutoVue used?
Giaconia: Let’s say you’re in the oil and gas industry, and you want to share a facilities drawing with maintenance suppliers. With a traditional solution, you would have to equip your supply chain with very expensive solutions to do that. With AutoVue you just do it over the Web. AutoVue improves productivity by enabling the access of specialized documents throughout the organization without expensive tools. This product drives dramatic improvement in design, review, and approval processes and in the collaborative process inside the company and with the extended supply chain.
Flame: AutoVue can also drive process improvement in broader business processes, especially in technical content management. Oracle is already strong in the enterprise content management space—think of Oracle Universal Content Management, Oracle Beehive, and Oracle Database. But right now, businesses are used to a paradigm of content management that involves checking documents out and checking them back in to control versions. Yet in some cases technical documents are really large, and moving them around on the network is costly. Other documents include proprietary information, and for security reasons, you might not want them being downloaded onto a desktop. AutoVue delivers a faster and more secure way to accomplish sharing and editing of technical documents.
Giaconia: Historically, this type of product has been most useful in organizations that deal with product lifecycle management. But, for example, maintaining a piece of capital equipment can be done much more effectively if employees have access to related engineering drawings. An asset lifecycle management solution that has visualization and collaboration attached to it enables you to do a much better job of diagnosing problems and performing maintenance activities.
Oracle has applications that span entire product lifecycles, from ideation to retirement. Attaching AutoVue functionality to the right business flows or processes will be a great complement to Oracle’s applications.
Profit: How can AutoVue benefit existing Oracle customers?
Flame: AutoVue provides significant value to Oracle’s applications business, because it provides unique new capabilities as a standalone solution and magnifies the value Oracle customers receive from complementary applications such as customer relationship management, asset management, and product lifecycle management. Today, there are a lot of fragmented approaches to enterprise visualization, and Oracle can lead in this area by enabling easy, less costly, and secure enterprise collaboration and making this available to a wider population of business users. Enterprise visualization applications have served the engineering community really well. Now Oracle customers can use them to drive process improvements in manufacturing, supply chain, asset management, field service, and other business lines.