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Rich options expand the collaborative horizon

Ratings features such as "trending" indicate to community members when a topic or an individual is receiving a high level of attention. "Users can then follow that topic or person in their own activity stream if they wish," Gross explains. Topic areas can be top down or set by users who have the appropriate permissions. Apps are also available through which users can monitor Twitter from within Jive.

The increasing use of the social business environment for work is indicative of a paradigm shift away from document-centric collaboration to activity-centric collaboration. Documents will, of necessity, remain paramount in the context of some activities such as records management and archiving, but in terms of where workers spend most of their time, office applications such as word processing may no longer be the default environment, particularly in view of the clear trend toward mobile work.

Collaborative design in global manufacturing

Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks was founded in 1995 to bring affordable 3D engineering design to the market at a time when 2D was standard, and many designers were still using paper. The company tapped into the demand for collaboration early on, providing e-drawings and a viewer that made it easy to share files. It later expanded SolidWorks' capabilities, moving into product data management (PDM) solutions, a process for managing all the data associated with a product, typically including technical specifications, parts, drawings, data sheets and assemblies.

"As the SolidWorks software became more powerful," says Rich Allen, manager of PDM product management, "demand grew for a fully collaborative product to support global engineering and manufacturing."

One company that is making use of SolidWorks Enterprise PDM is FLSmidth, a manufacturer of cement plants and production equipment. The company licensed 400 seats to allow collaboration among its engineers worldwide, and plans an expansion to 4,000 users. SolidWorks Enterprise PDM also allows storage of FLSmidth's 2D drawings in IBM Documentum and integration with the ERP and Web-based transmittal systems. The Enterprise PDM aspect of SolidWorks can be accessed via a Web client or a VPN, and the changes made in one part of the world are synchronized so that the next users to work on the design see the updated version. 

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