Design Collaboration with cFoldersbrings together all business partners who are participating in a collaboration – starting with the collaboration owner and his or her engineering and design partners, via suppliers and manufacturers, to sales partners and customers. Design Collaboration with cFolders provides the web-based cooperation platform Collaboration Folders (cFolders) in mySAP PLMwhich enables all collaboration participants to work together in virtual teams in both cooperative and competitive situations, regardless of where they are. Collaboration data structured in a hierarchy gives the user a quick overview of the collaboration. Different cFolders functions (for example, notifications, status management), the integrated WebEx conference tool, and SAP Back-End Integration for documents and product structures lead to an enhanced and accelerated exchange of information and communication flow. Using generic objects (that is, objects that can be used to map customer-specific business objects in a cFolders collaboration) facilitates cooperation for subjects that cannot simply be handled by document management or the exchange of product structure information.
The integration of cFolders as a virtual drive with the Microsoft Windows File Explorer allows data to be saved in cFolders straight from PC programs that are based on Microsoft Windows.
The (optional) integration in Collaboration with SAP NetWeaver allows access to data in cFolders via Knowledge Management (KM) and the SAP Collaboration Room. In this integration scenario, Collaboration with SAP NetWeaver assumes the role of a horizontal collaboration solution focusing on cross-departmental cooperation within an enterprise and cFolders assumes the role of a vertical collaboration solution for cooperation between enterprises in product development with external partners.
The most significant advantages of Design Collaboration with cFoldersare:
· Simplified engineering cooperation between internal and external team members no matter where they are located around the globe.
· Direct access to collaboration data that is always up-to-date.
· Improved and faster exchange of information and communication flow between all persons participating in a collaboration.
· Reduced unproductive time (less meetings and business trips), engineering errors (improved communication), and expenses (lower travel costs).
· Increased capacity due to a faster time to market (shorter design cycles, less redesign)
cFolders is part of the SAP cProject Suite 3.10 add-on. You can use cFolders as an independent application without any other (SAP or non-SAP) systems. In this case, you access the application via your internet browser (Microsoft Internet Explorer, version 5.01 or higher), and do not need access to any additional systems.
To be able to exchange documents and product structures between your cFolders system and an SAP back-end system, you also need the document management function (DMS – this corresponds to the SAP CA-DMS application component and is part of mySAP PLM and mySAP ERP) and the mySAP PLM Quality Management product structure browser.
You can also trigger cFolders processes from the Collaboration Projects(cProjects) scenario and the SAP Bidding Engine 2.00 (part of mySAP SRM 3.00).
Customers who want to use an enhanced WebEx meeting function need a separate WebEx user license depending on how frequently they want to use it.
The process above is a concrete example of the user roles collaboration participants can have and the (sequence of) steps they can perform.
1. The collaboration owner sets up a collaboration for a new piece of development.
a. The collaboration owner creates a structure with work areas, folders, subfolders, and folder objects (in particular with documents and data sheets).
2. The collaboration owner exports the necessary documents, bills of material, or materials from the PLM back-end system (this is normally an SAP back-end system) to cFolders (optional).
a. The collaboration owner assigns the exported objects to the appropriate cFolders objects.
3. The collaboration owner assigns partners and provides them with the specifications.
a. The collaboration owner assigns design partners to the collaboration.
b. The collaboration owner creates authorizations for the design partners in accordance with the access rights defined for them and provides them with the specifications (for example, gives the design partners read authorization for the folder that contains the specification document).
c. The collaboration owner sends notifications to the partners.
4. The first design partner sets up a design proposal in cFolders.
a. The first design partner draws up the required assembly according to the specifications.
b. The first design partner sets the design proposal up in a specified folder for which he or she has at least write authorization.
5. The collaboration owner subscribes to the folder with the design proposal.
6. A second design partner sets up a design proposal in cFolders.
a. The second design partner draws up the required subassembly according to the specifications.
b. The second design partner sets the design proposal up in a specified folder for which he or she has at least write authorization.
7. The collaboration owner initiates (using the WebEx conference tool) an online conference with the design partners and provides feedback.
a. The collaboration owner creates a meeting with the partners and informs them about this via (e-mail) notifications.
b. The collaboration owner starts the meeting.
c. The design partners participate in the meeting.
d. The collaboration owner gives the partners feedback.
e. During the online conference, the collaboration owner uses the integrated redlining function (ECL Viewer) to add comments to the relevant document electronically. The design partners can see these comments straight away.
8. The first design partner creates a new version of his or her design proposal.
a. The first design partner adapts the design proposal in line with the feedback.
b. The first design partner sets the changed design proposal up as a new version in cFolders.
9. The collaboration owner receives the changes automatically in a notification because he or she has subscribed to the relevant partner folder, and also sends notifications.
a. The collaboration owner receives the new version automatically because he or she has subscribed to the folder with the design proposal.
b. The collaboration owner checks this new version.
c. The collaboration owner sends a notification to the second design partner.
10. The second design partner receives the notification and makes the necessary changes to the subassembly.
a. The second design partner reads the received notification.
b. The second design partner adapts the subassembly in line with the changes made to the assembly (of the first design partner).
c. The second design partner sets the changed design proposal up for the subassembly in cFolders.
11. The collaboration owner releases the documents for further editing.
a. The collaboration owner releases the specifications and drawings for further editing.
b. The collaboration owner imports the important documents, bills of materials, and materials from cFolders to the PLM back-end system (optional).
The Web cooperation between the collaboration owner and design partners comes to a successful end. The system archives all important objects (documents, BOMs, and materials) in the PLM back-end system.