Productivity vs. Secure Access to Information

Today’s enterprise is conflicted with providing open, easy access to all the information needed to design, build and support its products while also protecting and securing information.   One way to overcome this challenge is by using complex security policies that restrict access to individual systems. This requires stakeholders in the enterprise to deal with the information access in multiple systems and users to be familiar with multiple systems, leading to unclear and generally difficult to manage information access.

One approach is to take advantage of an aggregated view of multiple systems, which enables a single point of entry to navigate and find the information required by the consumers of information in the enterprise. The first attempt is often an enterprise search portal. This certainly can provide the aggregated access, and may allow some level of security. However, it may not combine the information in a usable form for those needing to interact with the information. Enterprise search lacks context relative to the product structure and needs to present information in a globally consumable form.

Another approach is to segment the information access problem by targeting specific user communities. For example, target the community of product operations; these are information consumers that must share cross-domain, related information in areas such as engineering, manufacturing and supply chain. Focusing on these areas, it is possible to combine data from across the systems in these domains, including PLM, ERP, PDM, CAD, QMS and various other specialized systems. Once amassed, a security policy derived from the product structure (the hierarchical structure BOMs linking products to assemblies to components) can be enabled and linked to a comprehensive, yet manageable security policy. More often than not, information consumers in the various domains are required to see information related to a product, assembly or subsystem they are assigned to. They need to navigate all of the related information in the hierarchy to make informed choices about production, design, cost, reliability, supportability and/or service.

So far, the mentioned approach will aggregate the information and secure it. However, to make the user community productive it must be presented in the appropriate form – unfortunately the one-size fits all approach of Google-like result is not appropriate. Instead, information must be presented in a navigate-able form, allowing users to easily walk through product structures, compare assemblies, find alternative items and organize data for downstream tools and processes.

Perception’s Encompass provides access to these information sources across multiple systems, potentially in multiple domains. Encompass has specific capabilities to deal with product structures such as Bills of Material, and their interrelationships. With Encompass, its simple task to define a security policy that utilizes the product structure as key component of the information access policy. The security is implemented at the indexing level. This ensures protection of the data, along with exceptional search speeds. Both of these are capabilities enable knowledge workers to interactively navigate the information productively, and securely.

Productivity is enhanced and information consumers are able to access what they need, in a useful form to make decisions, while not being overtly impacted with information access issues. The Enterprise is able to maintain a security policy that maps business needs with the agility to support changes in the business and without directly impacting less flexible systems.

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