Insanely Configurable Autodesk PLM 360 – Part 2Featured, Reviews Friday, March 9th, 2012
<< Part 1
PLM 360 uses the concept of workspaces. Think of workspaces as modules. Just like any business software there is a module for customers, another for employees, and so on. Workspaces in PLM 360 work the same way. PLM 360 comes with 35 prebuilt workspaces, all of which can be accessed from the “Main Menu”. These workspaces cover pretty much all the business processes of an engineering business.
You can add your own workspace as well. In fact, I will have to. There is no way I am going to be able to squeeze a blog into any of the existing workspaces in PLM 360.
Before I create a new workspace, let’s understand some other concepts in PLM 360 related to workspaces.
Items in a workspace are basically records of data pertaining to that workspace. For example, an item in the customer workspace will be a customer record, containing the company name, address, phone number, key contacts, etc. Its pretty simple actually. However, it is important to note that items need not represent indicate data of things only, or what is technically call master data records. They can also represent events. For example, a workspace item in the Change Request or Design Review workspace will be actions that describe a process or a workflow.
As the name suggests relationships are connections between various items. Items can be in the same workspace or in different workspaces. Relationships can be as simple as a connection between two items or one-to-many connections where an item is connected to many items. To visualize these relationships PLM 360 comes with a Relationship Browser which shows what they call a “constellation” view of all relationships of an item. The following image below shows how the relationships that a Change Order item has with other items in the PLM system. Hovering the mouse over the circle pointed to by the red arrow pops up details of the related item with links to browse to its various properties.
There is something I need to say about the web technology that Autodesk has used here. The Relationship Browser shows flashy animations of the “constellation” items moving around and reorienting themselves as you click on them. This is done using Flash, something that does not work on Apple iOS devices. So out of curiosity I logged into my PLM 360 instance on my iPad to see what the non-Flash version of the Relationship Browser looked like. To my surprise I found no way to fire up the Relationship Browser at all on my iPad. To invoke the Relationship Browser on a desktop you click the button highlighted by the red arrow in the image below.
But on the iPad that button was missing altogether. Which is not a very good thing for people with iOS devices. I took this up with Autodesk and they confirmed that there was no non-Flash version of the Relationship Browser and that they were looking at alternatives.
In the next part of this series we will create a new workspace for the blog.
Part 3 >>