Expanding Collaboration to External Partners: Using Vault to Share Data with the Outside World

IMAGINiT Technologies

The manufacturing sector uses Autodesk Vault Professional heavily for process control, continuity of information flow, and internal collaboration with teams assigned to the same project. Organizations can also use Vault to facilitate collaboration with external resources, such as vendors or customers. Based on our experience, however, relatively few companies are using Vault in this way.

We've seen Vault used to support three types of external collaboration:

  1. Gathering Feedback. With Autodesk Viewer, teams can share a visual representation of a component or a product with the shop floor, vendors, or customers. Gathering feedback is fast and easy.

    Autodesk Viewer allows reviewers to access information anywhere, on any device. Since only a browser is needed, no software needs to be installed. To add comments, reviewers sign in. Each time a comment is added, the design engineer receives an email notification. The visual representations of products and components are more robust than a pdf, but they are general enough to protect a firm's intellectual property.

    The Shared Views tool is a subscription benefit for Autodesk Vault Workgroup and Professional. Access to Shared Views can be assigned to users in contract management. External reviewers don't need any licenses.
  1. Delivering Design Files. Autodesk Drive enables teams to deliver design files to customers and suppliers. It includes viewing capabilities, as well as design references such as where information is used and drawings tabs. Autodesk Drive supports over 60 types of Autodesk and third-party files.

    Autodesk Drive is included in subscriptions for Inventor, Vault Workgroup and Professional. It provides CAD-aware 25Gb cloud storage for individuals and small teams. Users can view and organize files stored in Autodesk Drive right from their desktops.
  1. Collaborating on Designs. Fusion Team supports automatic and secure bi-directional exchange of 2D or 3D CAD design data between Vault and external parties such as customers, supply chain partners, or design contractors. Firms can selectively decide which types of data to share with external collaborators. Project Sync functionality is only available with Vault Professional. Fusion Team is a more intuitive and visual user experience than other file sharing tools, such as Dropbox or OneDrive.

If you are interested in using Vault for external collaboration, a good first step is to implement internal data controls. One best practice is developing a Revision Control process to manage changes to files. Data should be secured by folder. Release files are locked and can't be edited without starting a new revision. In addition, the revision history can be audited.

Vault is a great way streamline information flow between all key stakeholders, whether they are inside the organization or external partners. To learn more about how to connect your Autodesk Vault software to the outside world, view our on-demand webcast.

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