I think we all know that engineers use a lot of different information to make design decisions. And the big question is, how do they find that information, and how do they access it? Well, this year, we conducted some research to look into the answers.

There are a lot of progressive new approaches to finding and accessing information, and we were curious to see how widespread they were adopted. As it turns out, the new approaches are not very widespread.

We found the most frequently used approach today is basically a gopher type method. With this method, an intern or lower-level staff employee goes from person to person, or department to department, physically walking around, collecting information, and then showing up at the next meeting.

The next common method is where employees use multiple logins to access many different systems such as procurement, PLM, ERP, supply chain management, and even spreadsheets. Employees have to keep track of all the different logins, keep them secure, and remember them. A lot of organizations that go with this approach end up with the gopher approach. Instead of physically going around from department to department, the gopher may log into different systems, collect data, and put it in a presentation. That happens pretty frequently too.

The next one is sticky notes, and it is pretty frequent.

Enterprise Insights Engine is also widespread and is a new, progressive type of approach. You have one solution that connects and aggregates all the data in the enterprise systems, databases, and spreadsheets. The enterprise search solution allows remote access to search the data with one login. Rather than sending someone physically around from department to department, collecting static information, you can access dynamic and live information as it is changed. This approach is far more productive and has significant advantages. 

So there are lots of other ways that people are looking and finding information today. There is some progress, but boy, there’s a big opportunity for improvement for a lot of organizations.

That’s it. Take care and talk soon.