Query this: Advanced search brings blue-sky simplicity to an enterprise PLM environment

It’s getting easier to conduct such searches within enterprise systems as vendors add in more refined functionality. For one, Aras, a Microsoft enterprise open-source software solution provider, says new options allow access to cloud-based search services in Microsoft Live Search and GlobalSpec’s Web-based engineering part, product, and specification database.<br/>

02/23/2009



Internet search capabilities are so pervasive that even elementary school children know how to find answers to questions like “Why is the sky blue?” or, “What was Mickey Mantle’s lifetime batting average?”

Adults in the workforce have similar expectations for their enterprise systems. The difference is their searches fall along the lines of, “What were third-quarter sales?” and “What is this plant’s capacity?”

It’s getting easier to conduct such searches within enterprise systems as vendors add in more refined functionality. One such vendor is Aras , a Microsoft enterprise open-source software solution provider that recently embedded advanced search capabilities within the Aras Innovator suite for enterprise product life-cycle management (PLM). Aras counts industry leaders such as Motorola and Lockheed Martin among its customer base.

“Every engineer understands how tedious and time-consuming it can be to search for parts,” says Marc Lind, an Aras VP. “These advanced search capabilities allow users to be more efficient and productive, and bring products to market faster.”

The new Aras search functionality has additional “software-plus-services” options so queries submitted in the Aras solution access cloud-based search services in Microsoft Live Search and GlobalSpec’s Web-based engineering part, product, and specification database.

This combination has substantial potential, says Lind, considering that GlobalSpec’s PartFinder and SpecSearch will give users access to a library of more than 24,000 OEM and distributor product catalogs spanning more than 177 million parts in 2.3 million product families.


“Engineering professionals used to spend three to five days searching for the right part at the lowest cost. Now, if they know their specs, that search time is reduced to three to five minutes.”— Marc Lind, VP, Aras

Additionally, full text searching on GlobalSpec’s Engineering Web vertical search-engine index covers millions of pages of product development content—e.g., engineering articles, technical research papers, material properties, product patents, and standards.

Equally important is that Aras also provides Microsoft’s Windows Live Search for instant access to the Internet. Enterprise searching using Windows Search 4.0 includes multi-language support for Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.

“Accessing research and reference materials on a given topic is a necessary part of the day-to-day activities of engineers and other technical users,” says Leigh Watson Healy, chief analyst for Outsell , a Burlingame, Calif.-based research firm. “With mounting competitive pressures within the research and design communities, it’s even more important that these professionals have a resource like GlobalSpec, where they can access content that specifically meets their career-related needs without poring through the information clutter picked up by consumer-centric search engines.”

And once information is found, Aras says users can save their searches to My Saved Searches for instant reference. Complicated searches commonly conducted across the enterprise can be saved and shared with all users without creating custom reports. The result is quick access to information such as currently active engineering change orders, and supplier qualification status.

“Engineering professionals used to spend three to five days searching for the right part at the lowest cost,” Lind concludes. “Now, if they know their specs, that search time is reduced to three to five minutes."







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