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Designers Want Single, Searchable Source for Validated Technical Data

By DE Editors

For engineers it is increasingly difficult to quickly find accurate and trustworthy technical information, a recent survey from The Parthenon Group found. Navigating multiple sources of information, finding best practices, securing approvals and permissions, along with the difficulty in validating the accuracy of the information, topped the list of frustrations of engineers polled in the “Engineering Tools and Information Spring 2012 Survey,” sponsored by Knovel.

Parthenon Group surveyed more than 600 engineers working in the aerospace and defense, engineering design and construction industries about their use of technology, their information needs, and their satisfaction with various providers of engineering information and tools.

The survey identified a number of challenges that engineers face as they aim to improve how they find and interact with critical data. Access to searchable materials properties, regulations, codes and standards topped the list of information categories engineers seek online. Searching multiple sources to find accurate engineering data needed for critical decisions during the design process was listed as a top frustration, and the ability to extract and interact with data is an increasingly important aspect of engineers’ searches for new tools.

Three distinct clusters of design engineers, defined primarily by their differing needs for engineering tools, were highlighted in the survey:

Process-Focused. Process-focused engineers rely heavily on workflow and collaboration tools. Their top productivity needs are electronic workflow approval tools and collaboration tools to identify experts within their organizations (34 percent of engineers surveyed).

On-the-Go. On-the-go engineers rely heavily on mobile tools. Their top productivity need is for engineering-focused mobile applications for tablets or smart-phones (48 percent of engineers surveyed).

Integration-Focused. Integration-focused engineers seek better ways to analyze and integrate the data. They look for best practices and other forms of institutional knowledge. Their top productivity needs are for integration between technical information sources and engineering software and for better ways to interact with and extract data and formulas from technical information (18 percent of engineers surveyed).

For more information, visit The Parthenon Group.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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