Editing Microsoft Office Documents within PLM Environment

The design solution was a Microsoft Office Connector for Aras Innovator product that enables users of Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook applications to create, store, edit, search and manage documents in Aras Innovator while working within the familiar, easy to use Microsoft environment. At the same time the solution provides administrators of Aras Innovator with sophisticated capabilities for document control and security, including need-to-know access, configurable automatic document numbering and naming conventions, optional use of corporate templates, and more.

aras
Customer: Aras

Client
Aras is the leading provider of enterprise open source Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software solutions. Freedom from licensing eliminates up-front expenses and per user costs while superior technology makes Aras the most advanced enterprise PLM solution suite available. Customers include Motorola, Freudenberg, GE, Hitachi, Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce, Textron and TEVA Pharmaceuticals. Aras is privately held with global headquarters in Andover, MA.

Business Challenge
Project documentation stored in PLM doesn’t consist only of design data, but also often includes documents created with Microsoft Office applications. Extending the PLM benefits of Aras requires an intuitive and convenient way to manage Microsoft documents in Aras Innovator PLM within Microsoft Office applications.

Solution
The design solution was a Microsoft Office Connector for Aras Innovator product that enables users of Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook applications to create, store, edit, search and manage documents in Aras Innovator while working within the familiar, easy to use Microsoft environment. At the same time the solution provides administrators of Aras Innovator with sophisticated capabilities for document control and security, including need-to-know access, configurable automatic document numbering and naming conventions, optional use of corporate templates, and more.
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Why AMC Bridge?
At the time Aras decided to start implementation of Microsoft Office connector for Aras Innovator, AMC Bridge had already successfully completed a number of development projects for Aras. Previous experience with the development of connectors for multiple PDM/PLM systems, in conjunction with the overall technical skills and reliability as a development partner, made AMC Bridge the perfect choice as a new product implementation partner for Aras.

Design Challenges
Key technical and operation challenges included:

  • Installation
    Microsoft Office Connector for Aras Innovator product must be installed client-side, so it is crucial that it be installed correctly in all environments supported by Aras Innovator.
  • Support for multiple versions of Microsoft Office
    Companies that use Aras Innovator may not always have the latest version of Microsoft Office, so Microsoft Office Connector for Aras Innovator had to be implemented so as to work with multiple versions of Microsoft Office, providing the same level of integration and feature-rich functionality even with older versions.

Implementation
At the start of the project, Aras provided detailed project specifications for the desired functionality. On receipt of initial project specifications, the AMC Bridge team thoroughly reviewed the documentation, clarified requirements with an Aras product definition specialist, estimated the time required for each task, and proposed a development schedule approved by the Aras project manager.
After project development began, the quality assurance engineer assigned to the project developed a set of test plans for the product, which were approved by the Aras project manager.
In order to keep everyone up-to-date on the progress of development and quality assurance, weekly conference calls were set up with the full team. These provided an excellent forum for resolving integration issues in a timely manner.
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Project development was accomplished in iterations, providing deliverables of the developed functionality on a regular basis. This made it possible for the quality assurance engineer to test each iteration, for product definition specialists to ensure that the functionality was properly implemented, and for user interactions to be continuously evaluated and improved.

AMC Bridge Performance
The quality of work delivered by AMC Bridge exceeded client expectations:

  • AMC Bridge provided quality results based on project specifications.
  • AMC Bridge proved resourceful at filling in gaps and providing experience-based solutions.
  • During stabilization of the solutions AMC Bridge proved to be quick and responsive, with short turnaround time.
  • Project development was completed well within schedule and budget.
Sep 25, 2013
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