Recently we have seen quite a buzz about the ‘ZERO files’ capabilities from DASSAULT SYSTEMES. For example, Engineering.com recently published a video interview with ENOVIA CEO Andy Kalambi which zeroes in (pardon the pun) on reducing BOM errors. And General Electric’s Jeff Erno explains in this YouTube video the value of zero files to an engineering organization. Not to mention all of the international press (Korea, Japan, India…).
So what is it?
‘Zero files’ is enabled by the DASSAULT SYSTÈMES 3DEXPERIENCE data driven architecture and enables companies to collaborate more efficiently, with less errors and more security. It is a generational change within the Product Lifecycle Management domain which enables applications like ENOVIA to provide extended value to thousands of customers around the world. While the benefits are clearly attractive, it’s not always easy to understand how this works and what it means to an individual. Let’s break it down by addressing some commonly asked questions:
Question #1: Is the notion of ‘zero files’ achieved in other disciplines?
Answer #1: Yes. In fact, many people interact in file-less environments today for both personal and business activities. Here are a few examples:
- Movies: In the not so distant past, one would rent or by DVDs (basically movie files) and use their players to watch movies at home. In the zero-files world, we stream movies from service providers such as Hulu and Amazon.
- Banking: When is the last time you balanced your check book by comparing the paper or PDF bank statement against your home ledger? In the zero-files world, bank registers are validated by viewing on-line statements and matching them with home records for accuracy. You need not wait until the end of the month to view your credit card statement; in a data-driven world, transactions are posted and viewable shortly after purchase.
- Document authoring and editing: Tools like Google Docs operate in a ‘zero-files’ environment. For example, if multiple people are working on a spreadsheet, they do not need to save the file and email it to the next person for their edits; rather, they all collaborate on an on-line workbook simultaneously (without having to check-in / check-out their files). Tools like Google Docs are prolific in the college environment and have started to become more popular in the workplace.
- Enterprise Applications: Tools for CRM and ERP have long operated in a ‘zero-files’ environment. This has enabled a higher degree of scalability and collaboration to occur while securing intellectual property.
Question #2: What makes a ‘zero-files’ environment more secure than using a file-based PLM tool?
Answer #2: Even though your data may be secured by a file-based PLM system, local files are placed on the user’s desktop. This leaves the door open (even for well-meaning employees) to distribute your company’s files freely via email or web based file sharing sites. This is a much larger issue than most people realize. A recent study shows that 40% of companies that have a PLM system in place still use public email / web storage tools to distribute CAD files within their own company. More than 70% use public email / web storage tools to distribute CAD files to suppliers and vendors. In a zero-files environment, the data that is provided to the client workstation is abstracted so that it may not be saved and re-distributed via other tools.
Question #3: I understand that zero-files can be achieved with CATIA V6. Does that mean that the zero-files environment will not support file based applications (such as legacy CAD tools, etc.)?
Answer #3: While it is true that the zero-files environment provides maximum benefit when the authoring application, it is a fact that many enterprise applications operate in a file based manner. Driven by the 3DEXPERIENCE PLATFORM, ENOVIA provides the ability to manage files from these legacy applications.
It’s also worth noting that zero-files applies to more than CATIA V6; requirements management, purchase orders, quality and issue management are some of the many data types in ENOVIA that operate in zero-file files environment.
For Multi-CAD solutions, ENOVIA provides the unique capability of creating hybrid digital mock-ups based on lightweight representations – which are data driven. This means you have the advantage of zero files while using lightweight representations from other CAD systems. The system maintains a relationship to the originating CAD authoring tools while enabling the benefits of zero-files for design reviews and mock-ups.
Questions or comments? Contact our user experience experts at firstname.lastname@example.org