While project data-management (PDM) systems are all the rage, other less
complicated, web-based communication technologies are springing to the fore.
Framework Technologies Corporation (Burlington, MA) offers one such PDM
alternative/compliment. ActiveProject 4.0 integrates e-mail with
project-communications management. It can handle large CAD file transfers and
viewing in real time.
Teams build and manage their own web sites with project-site templates from ActiveProject with a push of a button. To change or customize, a user drags and drops documents, drawings, photos, or CAD files into the site, with no webmaster required and no HTML programming. Anyone authorized can preview project information, download it, and comment with a standard web browser. One doesn't need a CAD package on his or her PC to view design drawings and make suggestions.
With release 4.0, users can do online reviews including markups, auto-drawing previews, and thumbnail representations, says Mark Pierson, vice president of product management for Framework. They can follow document history and view any related notations. "We treat every document the same, whether drawing or text or engineering change order," he says. "This is simpler and less expensive than any PDM system." Also, PDM packages can't add additional people, such as vendors, to the system easily without someone reconfiguring work flow and providing vendor training.