Collaboration Insights from 200 Manufacturing Companies - Part II

The Goal

Have you ever heard the phrase “meet them where they are”? Sure, you have! But have you ever heard of a collaboration platform that successfully does it for everyone across your organization? Most manufacturers have not.  

This was the problem Anark set out to solve for manufacturers by developing Anark Collaborate, a modern content collaboration platform designed for manufacturers that combines file-sharing app convenience and communication app simplicity with a deep understanding of technical product data. 

The Theory

To do this, Anark needed to know the facts direct from manufacturers to validate that this was a problem worth solving. After all, PLM vendors have developed extensions to improve technical data sharing with non-engineering teams, while ERP and SCM vendors are doing the same in their applications. But none of these approaches meet the diverse manufacturing workforce and their suppliers where they are. In fact, they did the opposite, forcing compromises on the people that need the data the most. Meanwhile, the use of generic content collaboration, file sharing, and email spirals out of control as these tools meet people where they are, but remain disconnected from systems of record, and don’t support the technical data and processes that manufacturers need to operate.

Lifecycle Insights conducted research with 200 manufacturers to understand the state of technical content collaboration. Their work revealed the extent of the problem for manufacturers, the key capabilities required to solve the problem, and the value that could be gained by solving the problem.

The Solution Requested

The research asked manufacturers about an ideal solution to this problem. It was clear from figure 2 and other data in the research that manufacturers are looking to redefine collaboration around the following key capabilities:

  • Design data must load quickly and be viewed on any device. This made sense given the wide range of devices that non-engineering teams and suppliers have.  
  • Social collaboration tools in the context of product information. The problems above showed that generic communication and file sharing tools are creating issues. That means that comments, markups, and chat must happen in the context of product information, not in a disconnected system.
  • Bidirectional file upload, sharing and markup. True collaboration is not a one-way street. Everyone inside and outside the organization has files to share, markup, and discuss.
  • Traceability of file access and comments. 

Lifecycle Insights Research Capabilities

Figure 2: Ranking of Key Collaboration Capabilities for Manufacturers.  
Source: Lifecycle Insights Research – The State of Technical Content Collaboration. n=201 

While those four were the top-rated first choices of the manufacturers, several of the other capabilities could be argued as equally if not more important than those four. Are your top choices on the list? Is there something missing? The conclusion from these responses and others in the research is that technical content collaboration needs a fresh look. A redefined approach that doesn’t compromise these capabilities.

The Complete Results

With the complete 30-page research report, Anark had the facts direct from manufacturers to validate that this was a problem worth solving.  In addition to the data shown in Figure 2 above, the research provided detailed insight across:

  • Company and respondent demographics
  • Business processes and challenges
  • Internal and External collaboration and product data sharing tools and techniques
  • Desired technical content collaboration capabilities
  • IP security considerations 

Anark used this detailed research to strengthen product and go-to-market strategy as it prepared to launch Anark Collaborate, the world’s only content collaboration platform designed for manufacturers.

Get the Full Lifecycle Insights Research Report 

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