Greenfield
Factory Automation
Bassett
Batch Processing
Hand
Process Automation
Reynolds
Packaging Automation
Campbell
On the Edge
Factory & Machine Automation Playbook cover
This one-of-a-kind Factory Automation Playbook is packed with best practices, practical tips and pitfalls to avoid on a wide range of topics, from defining project objectives to selecting components to implementing technologies that can make your automated systems smarter and more productive.

 

Tools Provide Global Collaboration

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Managing today’s manufacturing enterprise is impossible without collaboration.

Not only have managers discovered that work cannot be accomplished in sequence from department to department, but now, most companies have employees located in facilities around the world who need to work together in real time. New technologies are required to enable widespread collaboration.

Microsoft Corp., the Redmond, Wash., software giant, has developed one technology that is rapidly gaining adoption. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is a server program that is part of the 2007 Microsoft Office system. The application can be used to facilitate collaboration, provide content management, implement business processes and supply access to information.

According to Microsoft, SharePoint enables the use of current social networking technologies popular on the Web, such as “Wikis” and “blogs.” Wikis are collaboration sites where multiple contributors can develop and edit documents. Blogs are Web sites that emphasize distribution by the publish/subscribe technology called Really Simple Syndication (RSS) and allow comments on a post. The technology also allows users to create personal portal Web sites to view the collaborative material. SharePoint includes people- and content-search on the site.

An example of how Office SharePoint Server 2007 works, according to Microsoft, involves PowerPoint presentations. Someone on the team can create a slide library on a SharePoint Server site and allow other users to pick specific slides for their own presentations. They can receive notifications and updated versions when the slides have been modified.

The application provides a single workspace for teams to coordinate schedules, organize documents and participate in discussions. Team members can author and manage documents, and require document checkout before editing. They can also provide the ability to view past revisions and restore previous versions, and provide the ability to set document-specific security. Users can further view and update calendars and contacts through integration with Microsoft Office Outlook 2007.

SharePoint works through a technology called “metadata,” which is a word or phrase that is associated with each document or other piece of content on the site. This metadata is searchable, and if it is an accurate representation of the information contained within the document or content, then it enables good content management. SharePoint 2007 allows organizations to define their metadata.

According to SchemaLogic, a software application development company located in Kirkland, Wash., Microsoft limited the scope of content type metadata in SharePoint to the site collection level—logical groupings of sites. In many deployment architectures, that number could be from tens to thousands. The Microsoft limitation, in SchemaLogic’s view, lacks central management, causing little consistency or accuracy of metadata across an enterprise-wide deployment.

Most organizations have multiple systems in addition to SharePoint, creating complications and limiting the ability to achieve true enterprise-wide content access and exchange. Additionally, SharePoint limits the structure of metadata to small flat value lists. Organizations using more complex structures to add relevance and context to metadata will not be able to manage those linguistic structures in SharePoint. Finally, metadata requirements continually develop and change across the enterprise during collaboration in SharePoint. Without tools to manage this evolution, changes cannot be made fast enough to meet the dynamic needs of the organization. SchemaLogic offers a solution to that problem.

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Update and synchronize

The SchemaLogic Connector for SharePoint 2007 enables companies to manage and connect the metadata structures that describe corporate information assets stored across multiple SharePoint sites and other systems. The Connector continuously updates and synchronizes the metadata across multiple sites and throughout diverse systems. This structure aligns all SharePoint sites across the organization, providing a consistent foundation for unified information access.

Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 offers a way for companies to establish and configure a custom content sharing and collaboration site in the Internet or its intranet. Careful planning and the adoption of third-party plug-ins can help companies save many dollars by serving the right documents.

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