New IDC Manufacturing Insights Report Reveals Visualization Technology Critical to Improving Product Decision Making ; Visual Information Can Help Manufacturers of Complex Products Improve Comprehension and Effective Participation Throughout Product Life-Cycle

FRAMINGHAM, MA – July 13, 2010 – IDC Manufacturing Insights today announced the availability of a new report, Methods and Practices: Visual Information for Effective Collaboration in Product Life-Cycle Management (Document #MI223638, June 2010). The research presented in the study reveals that organizations can improve and extend their decision-making abilities by intensifying the use of visually presented product-related information.

"Visualization is an effective method to synthesize different data sources and make them accessible to broader communities of decision makers for cross-disciplinary decisions, and even more so when experience, skills, culture, or language differences might play a crucial role in deteriorating the fidelity of such decisions," said Joe Barkai, practice director of the Product Life-Cycle Strategies service at IDC Manufacturing Insights. "Product-related information, presented in a rich visual context and shared across widely accessible and easily usable collaborative interfaces, can contribute to making more effective product-related decisions that can positively impact the complete product life-cycle, from concept to decommission."

This study reveals that designers and manufacturers of complex products are finding it increasingly challenging to make effective product-related decisions. Expanded technical complexities across engineering disciplines, elongated and dynamic supply chains, a growing shortage of experienced workers, relentless schedules, and budgetary pressures have contributed to creating an environment that challenges traditional decision-making methodologies, means, and tools. However, manufacturers find that presenting complex, multidisciplinary information using visual methods helps level the playing field for decision makers of varying skills and across corporate disciplines, resulting in better and faster decisions.

Key findings of this research include the following:

* Visual information adds significant value by connecting knowledge workers and corporate disciplines that once lacked a common platform for interaction. Visual information is a means to convert, unify, and abstract dissimilar information sources.

* Product firms should use visual information to improve comprehension and effective participation from throughout the product life-cycle, providing a leveled decision-making playing field for all stakeholders. Creating this environment will expand the decision-making population, allowing groups once left out of product decisions to provide their input and experiences.

* Visual decision making is not an isolated activity. Visual decision making should be augmented by the use of collaboration activities and decision-support tools such as social networking, business analytic tools, and leveraging organizational knowledge and best practices.

This IDC Manufacturing Insights report examines some of the challenges manufacturers face in making effective product life-cycle related decisions. The report discusses how organizations can improve decision-making capacity by increasing the pervasive use of visual information. It explores how product-related information, presented in a rich visual context and shared across widely accessible and easily usable collaborative interfaces, can contribute to manufacturers’ ability to make more effective product-related decisions that can positively impact the complete product life-cycle, from concept to decommission.

The research report concludes with a series of short use cases that demonstrate the application of visual information to improve decision making at product companies.

For additional information about this study, or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with Joe Barkai, please contact Sarah Murray at 781-794-3214 or sarahbethmurray@gmail.com. Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contact insights@idc.com; reporters should email sarahbethmurray@gmail.com.

About IDC Manufacturing Insights

IDC Manufacturing Insights provides business and IT decision-makers with fact-based research and analysis to inform and support critical business decisions. The global independent research and advisory firm closely follows processes associated with the design, development and distribution of goods across markets including Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, High Tech/Electronics Manufacturing, and Consumer Packaged Goods. IDC Manufacturing Insights' research and analysis is critical for end-users, as well as hardware and software suppliers, and technology service providers. International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology market. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology, media, research, and events company. For more information, please visit www.idc-mi.com [http://www.idc-mi.com], email info@idc-mi.com, or call 508-988-7900. Visit the IDC Manufacturing Insights Community at http://idc-insights-community.com/manufacturing [http://idc-insights-community.com/manufacturing].

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