» Archive for July, 2007

Collaboration 3.0 – A Way to Work Without the Hype

Friday, July 27th, 2007 by Jonathan Spira

Two weeks ago we began our look at Collaboration 3.0 (which was continued last week as well).  In an age of This 2.0 and That 2.0, where such terms become meaningless, it behooves us to look at technologies in the marketplace that have the potential to dramatically influence how we work and conduct business while also having a positive impact on the bottom line.

We coined Collaboration 3.0 in part to poke fun at the 2.0ers but the reality is that Collaboration 3.0 describes a very high level of collaboration, where multiple companies across the globe work together as if they were all part of one giant enterprise.  The tools that such collaboration requires are extraordinary as well.

Indeed, companies can even achieve extraordinary results through the use of fairly early Collaboration 3.0 technologies.  Our poster child for this is Boeing and its 787 Dreamliner aircraft program.  By bringing customers and partners into the process from day 1, and developing the platforms to support extensive interaction, Boeing cut 18 months out of the development and production cycle.

The use of Collaboration 3.0 also had a transformative effect on Boeing’s business.  In many respects, Boeing moved from being a traditional aircraft manufacturer to a model that more resembles a systems and design company cum supply-chain integrator.

Ironically, at the same time, competitor Airbus was struggling to use Collaboration 1.0 technologies – and not doing terribly well at that.  Different parts of Airbus working on the same project were using different and incompatible versions of design and PLM tools.  This resulted in significant delays in the Airbus A380 program and an expected ca. €4.8 billion loss.

The proof is in the bottom line.  The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the most successful launch of a new aircraft in history.  To date, 47 customers have ordered 677 airplanes worth ca. $110 billion based on current list prices.  The Dreamliner’s competitor, the Airbus A350 XWB, has struggled through three redesigns and industry criticism for not meeting fuel economy and passenger comfort goals.  It has garnered only 154 firm orders.

This concludes our initial look at Collaboration 3.0 but we would like to hear from those of you who are starting to deploy Collaboration 3.0-like technologies.  E-mail me at collab30@basex.com.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

Meet Collaboration 3.0

Friday, July 20th, 2007 by Jonathan Spira

Last week we began our look at Collaboration 3.0, a term we coined to describe a very high level of collaboration, where multiple companies across the globe work together as if they were all part of one giant enterprise.

Our story began with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which was designed and built using Collaboration 3.0 principles and technologies.  Parts for the aircraft were designed concurrently by partners located in 11 countries and then assembled virtually in a computer model maintained by Boeing.

What we now think of as advanced collaboration (i.e. Collaboration 2.0), where we meet in online workspaces or share documents, is nothing compared to designing a complex piece of machinery such as an aircraft where two or more parts that are being independently designed will eventually be attached to the same product.  Concurrent design entails far greater complexity than one might imagine; Under the leadership of Rick Mutter, Boeing’s 787 chief IT architect, Boeing and its partners had to completely restructure their design and manufacturing processes.  Many had to replace existing software in order to use the same product lifecycle management software from Dassault Systémes, Catia.  But that was only part of the solution.

Boeing deployed Citrix Presentation Server to enable the company’s designers and engineers to collaborate remotely with partners in virtual team workspaces.

This was not an out-of-the-box deployment as Presentation Server is designed for text, not graphics.  Boeing and Citrix had to contend with low bandwidth and high latency issues to ensure a viable solution.

Other challenges related to data security.  No data was to be stored on local clients and users required secure access to the Boeing intranet for Unix workstations in addition to Windows machines.

Next week, as we continue this series, we’ll look at how Collaboration 3.0 impacted Boeing and the 787 Dreamliner program.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

Collaboration 3.0

Friday, July 13th, 2007 by Jonathan Spira

Web 2.0, Business 2.0, Collaboration 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, Wherearewegoing 2.0… The list goes on and on.  But the designation 2.0 doesn’t really indicate a mature product.  If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from Microsoft, time and time again, is that it’s version 3.0 that counts.

Indeed, what we consider to be Web 2.0 and such is child’s play compared to the early Collaboration 3.0 processes and technologies that a few leading companies have been quietly deploying.

Boeing is one such company.

This past Sunday (the date was 7/8/7), Boeing unveiled the revolutionary 787 Dreamliner aircraft to a global audience, said to have reached 100 million viewers.

Before the aircraft was even approved by Boeing’s board of directors, the company had created an online community, the World Design Team, literally comprised  of hundreds of thousands of people around the world, to solicit input on what they wanted to see in the new aircraft.  Boeing surveyed members of the community incessantly.  “Tell us what you want when you fly” was its philosophy.  The WDT’s input had real impact on the actual design of the aircraft.  But Boeing didn’t stop there.

Boeing brought its suppliers in as partners during the initial design phases, with a goal of collaboratively designing the parts and then building them.  This was fairly ambitious and a project of far greater scale than had ever been done.  70% of the aircraft is not just being manufactured but also designed by Boeing’s partners in collaboration with Boeing around the world.

Parts for the aircraft were designed concurrently by partners located in 11 countries and then assembled virtually in a computer model maintained by Boeing.  What we now think of as advanced collaboration, where we meet in online workspaces or share documents, is nothing compared to designing a complex piece of machinery such as an aircraft where two or more parts that are being independently designed will eventually be attached to the same product.  Concurrent design entails far greater complexity than one might imagine.

Next week we’ll take a more in-depth look at how Boeing achieved this.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

How to Collaborate Around the Fourth

Friday, July 6th, 2007 by Jonathan Spira

I recall that, when I was a university student in Munich (for the curious, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität) and the Fourth of July came around, I would occasionally get asked by American visitors whether Germany had a Fourth of July.  No, I would patiently explain, we skipped from the Third right over to the Fifth.

Having a major U.S. holiday in the middle of the week makes it interesting to get work done, collaborate with colleagues, set up external meetings, and such.  One would assume it’s a good week to go away, nothing much will happen.  Some people were off at the beginning of the week prior to the holiday; some worked Monday and Tuesday and started their weekend on Wednesday.  Naturally I needed to meet with a group of people from both sides and this just wasn’t going to happen.

Despite all appearances, it wasn’t a quiet week.  For one thing, the Apple iPhone had just been introduced at the start of the weekend.  The press was full of articles about people standing in line outside Apple and AT&T stores, and then continued with articles about long wait times to resolve phone activation problems, rogue store managers who were requiring iPhone buyers to make accessory purchases in order to get an iPhone, and on Monday, a fairly significant network outage (AT&T’s EDGE network apparently couldn’t handle the increased traffic).

Research in Motion had a happy Fourth up in Canada.  After eight years of trying to obtain permission to sell BlackBerry devices in China, the company announced it had finally won approval.

Blackstone announced a $20 billion deal for Hilton, one of the world’s most storied names in the industry and a Japanese clothing company made an unsolicited $900 million bid for Barneys (now owned by Jones Apparel).  Samsonite announced it will go private in a $1.1 billion deal.

You’ll see some other interesting news below.  All in all, it wasn’t that quiet a week.  Oh, and if anyone needs to meet with me, my 10:30 meeting on Friday just cancelled, something about going fishing.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.


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