Engineering 2.0: Exploring Lightweight Technologies for the Virtual Enterprise
In a Virtual Enterprise setting, it becomes increasingly important to make sure that knowledge and expertise created in one discipline, domain or company is correctly understood and quickly utilized by other actors throughout the value chain. This paper discusses why lightweight technology seems like a particularly promising concept in this context, and why Virtual Enterprises could benefit from learning more about tag clouds, mashups, wikis, and other ‘lightweight’ technologies, as complements to the large-scale, arguably ‘heavyweight’, product life-cycle management (PLM) systems of current practice. The paper draws on data from a number of product development projects – ranging from the development of manufacturing tools and industrial drive systems, to aircraft engines and armored terrain vehicles. The paper identifies both the kinds of problem typically experienced in the Virtual Enterprise, in relation to knowledge sharing, and explores ways in which lightweight technology might be adapted to solve them.