Electronic Design

Enterprise-Level Application Streamlines Engineering Management

Enterprise-level applications are all the rage lately and are available for just about every functional group within an OEM organization—except engineering. Intersect Software, Sterling, Va., hopes to address this need with the technology embodied in its forthcoming Crosspoint enterprise-class application for engineers.

The application, which is currently in beta trials, targets organizations with an engineering workforce of 300 to 25,000 or more. It reaches beyond traditional project-management tools by reducing, and in many cases eliminating, the time engineers spend on mundane, universal administrative tasks (see the figure). Specifically, it addresses three areas.

The first is what the company calls team-to-team contract choreography. This aspect of the tool manages the intricate relationships, information sharing, and "contract" deliverables of the design and development process, both within teams and across multiple team boundaries. It enables team leaders to quickly create, update, stay informed about, and choreograph the assignments they've given to team members as well as their interaction with other teams within the overall design effort.

Second, the tool manages administrative processes. It keeps track of conditional instructions, dialogs, and reassignments related to tasks. For example, it enables engineers to quickly post the status of their work and automatically sends notification of the status to the affected parties. This lets team leaders create and distribute instructions to designers, makes it quick and easy for those instructions to be followed, and ensures compliance with critical administrative functions. The distribution of instructions is associated with roles, not individuals' names, so adjustments for reassignments of personnel are automatically made.

Third, the tool develops an engineering "yellow pages" that allows users to quickly and easily identify and communicate with people who have specific skills. It captures what people do, when they did it, who they did it for, which project they worked on, and other key information that helps match individuals with a need.

The application, which runs under Windows and Unix, is currently undergoing paid beta trials and is in use at Intersect itself. A six-month trial costs $100,000 for an unlimited number of users. Pricing after the trial period is on a pay-as-you-go basis of $100/month for each named user. Organizations can convert to a single-payment license at any time.

For more information about the Crosspoint application, point your browser to www.intersectsoft.com.

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