Autoweb on globalization: competing, surviving in a flat world

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., Aug. 14, 2006 -- The world is "flat" -- meaning that anyone, anywhere can perform a job for another company located halfway around the globe, says Stephen Koons, vice president of strategic business development for Autoweb.

The rise of the "flat world" or globalization, however, has brought about tumult as consumers pressure companies to bring competitive products to market faster and at reduced costs. Some see globalization as a threat as jobs are outsourced, but others see opportunities to increase revenues and recruit talented partners or suppliers.

To effectively survive and compete in the flat world, companies need to take advantage of new communications technologies and seek international collaboration, Koons notes. Autoweb is a global provider of engineering data management and exchange services and offers Web-based communications tools -- such as Workwise CX -- so firms can safely and securely communicate information across the world.

"The rise of China and India as developing economic powers and the high availability of information has created this so-called flat world," Koons says. "Access to the world's diverse and rich human resource pool has its benefits, but there are constraints of time and space that are forcing manufacturers to find ways to more effectively communicate and collaborate on projects."

The Internet offers companies the opportunity to be a truly global 24/7/365 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year) operation. Yet, teams working on a complex project could be spread across wide geographic locations while also using disparate computer systems. Many small-to-mid-size firms often feel that they cannot afford the exorbitant costs of buying the appropriate software and hardware to make this system work, but Autoweb provides Workwise CX -- a hosted, Web-based solution so its customers can avoid financial headaches.

"The whole reason an organization invests in hardware and software is to get usable, actionable information; a process called the 'value stack,'" Koons says. "Months and sometimes years go by before some of these solutions are fully implemented, resulting in thousands of hours of lost productivity. A hosted, Web-based solution allows companies to bypass the implementation period and start working almost immediately."

By using hosted, Web-based solutions, such as Autoweb's Workwise CX, small, mid-size and large companies can quickly take advantage of the computer tools that multinational corporations have used for years to reduce costs and increase efficiencies.

For example, three competing automotive manufacturers recently began collaborating on a hybrid-electric vehicle project that involves more than 1,000 people spread over 11 global locations. The companies needed a common system where every hybrid team member could store and retrieve data, with secure access regardless of what time zone they were in or what computer system they were using.

After evaluating and rejecting traditional hardware and software solutions, the hybrid team turned to Autoweb's Workwise CX because it offered a single tool for critical project functions such as calendaring, conferencing, document management and more.

"Autoweb is able to meet the three auto companies' stringent data security requirements," Koons says. "While this hybrid vehicle project just recently began, more than half of the project members are trained and are using Workwise CX.

"The project partners expect significant travel cost savings and anticipate a 15 percent reduction in their overall product-development time."

Autoweb's Workwise CX is a "federated space" that allows users to collaborate regardless of where they are located. They can create "virtual rooms" for specific business functions.

Based on UGS Teamcenter Community(TM), Workwise CX is available to users on a project-by-project basis in a secure, traceable environment. Product features include an on-demand data exchange that can move large engineering files quickly and securely.

"Through the 'access-from-anywhere' business model, Autoweb has helped thousands of companies achieve savings while avoiding the high costs of additional hardware, software and human resources," Koons adds.

About Autoweb

Autoweb is a leading global provider of engineering data management and exchange services, connecting engineering supply chains around the world via a secure, reliable and traceable communication medium. Autoweb is responsible for thousands of companies' most sensitive information. Its clients include General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Pratt & Whitney, BAE Systems, Bentley Motors, Delphi, Faurecia and thousands more. With more than 20,000 users in 45 countries, Autoweb links the global manufacturing community.

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