These days, bringing data to the cloud and using it to enable collaboration is more compulsory than voluntary. But many companies are asking questions about the correct path to take and the right ‘dosage’. Eplan now offers support and has developed Store Share View, an in-house solution based on Microsoft Azure that brings Eplan projects to the cloud. At the same time it is also the foundation for future cloud-to-cloud connections. At Hannover Messe, Eplan presented the part of Store Share View with which projects can be viewed, reviewed and commented upon via redlining workflow. From this point forward, the solution provider plans to accompany its customers step by step on the pathway to the cloud. Users benefit from a central data source that makes Eplan data available to everyone involved in a project (including for downstream processes). Access to the data is universal: from every end device, from every location, and independent of an Eplan installation.
The name Store Share View reveals what awaits customers on their journey to the cloud: Eplan projects can be saved in the cloud (store) and are available for all project participants (share) to see (view) at any time. It does not require any installation, not even the traditional viewer installation required previously. Log in, view the project, make comments using the redlining function, and mark the work progress – it is this easy for users to take their first steps in the cloud project environment. The system is designed so that all the necessary project information is available in the cloud as a central information source. The engineering knowledge remains protected from unauthorised access by managing the access options. Rights assignment itself resides with the customer’s respective department.
This is just the first step that Eplan users take to the cloud, but it is a very important one.
In the past, when providing schematic information to downstream departments (such as control cabinet engineering or commissioning) many pages of documentation had to be printed on paper. A paperless workflow is more cost-effective. Another decisive aspect is the possibility for collaboration. With Store Share View, external participants may also access the data if they are assigned access rights. The infrastructure for collaboration is available through the cloud and a department need no longer go through an elaborate project handover process. Suppliers can simply use a web browser to read the current project status. Another practical benefit: only current data is available and changes are documented by way of a managed redlining workflow, meaning that sources of errors are eliminated once and for all. Collaboration with suppliers therefore becomes easier, also optimising workflows.
Connections to PDM/PLM remain
If a company wants to get new software, there is one question that usually pops up first. What happens to my current connections to IT infrastructures? Examples of this include the interfaces to PDM or PLM systems that generally must be updated or adapted. Eplan also considered this and existing connections to the Eplan platform remain unchanged. No conversion of existing integrations is required since the Eplan projects created in engineering are the source for Store Share View, making any changes to the data storage for the source project unnecessary.
Innovative operating concept
Aside from being functional, software should also be easy to use and support all of a user’s requirements. Eplan has also taken this into account: whether using a touchpad, a mouse or an active pen, all technologies can be utilised from PCs to touchscreens through to mobile devices. This ensures flexibility as engineering becomes increasingly globalised. Due to the 24-hour availability of cloud services, every project participant can access the data anytime and from anywhere in the world.
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