While I am a champion of Software-as-a-Service and I spend a lot of my time looking at SaaS-based solutions for construction collaboration, I appreciate there will always be people for whom keeping things within the company IT infrastructure, or paying once up-front rather than by pay-as-you-go subscription, is preferable. For such people in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) sector, there are, for example, MS SharePoint-based solutions (eg: Cadac Organice – post), and Union Square’s Workspace (post).
Other on-premise document management solutions are also available, and while not AEC-specific may still be applicable. Last week, for instance, I had a chat with Steve Stevenson of Northamptonshire, UK-based Document Genetics about its infoRouter system. In his words:
infoRouter provides a collaborative document portal which connects information to employees, wherever their location in the world. Whether working in words, pictures, audio, or video, infoRouter can manage any type of document or file including engineering documents such as CAD drawings, change requests, process instructions, etc.
I have highlighted a key phrase. For those involved mainly with internal management of information – say, for facilities management – such a LAN/WAN-based browser-accessed solution might be appropriate, particularly for long-term use. But where, say, a single project involves numerous, geographically dispersed collaborators from multiple organisations, businesses may need to look at extranet-type platforms that enables pan-project team exchange of information for the duration of the project.