With its latest software release, Ptech Inc. says it has not only made enterprise architecture projects more collaborative for end-users, but the company has also made sure collaboration is easy on IT and network administrators.
The Quincy, Mass.-based software firm in April unveiled the TeamWork platform for collaborative computing. This addendum to its existing FrameWork software makes it simpler for teams designing corporate analysis templates to work together.
But John Cerrato, Ptech’s chief product officer, said FrameWork has certain limitations.
For example, a company might use the program to catalogue its IT projects. But if user A makes a change to the “Master KnowledgeBase” – the top-level template stored on the FrameWork server – that does not correspond with the work user B did just moments earlier, the conflict is tough to resolve.
“You would have to go through to figure out what changes you had to make to get the conflicts resolved, or go back to the person who exported the changes and say, please make these changes and re-export it,” Cerrato said.
TeamWork addresses this problem with automatic updates between users at the beginning and end of each session, Cerrato said. The process means users can work independently – as opposed to alone.
“In reality, there are times when people do need to be able to work independently for some period of time,” he said. “You need to allow people to complete their work and then…figure out how their work should be integrated.”
As for TeamWork’s affect on IT and network management, Cerrato said Ptech kept in mind the administrators’ roles when developing this software.
For example, the file transfers between clients and the FrameWork server cause no network bottlenecks. “Because it’s not real-time, it will have a fairly minimal impact on network traffic.”
As well, the project team leader can denote at the beginning of each project which user can access what parts of the KnowledgeBase. That way IT can keep people out of the places they aren’t supposed to snoop.
TeamWork also allows off-site workers to access and amend the Master KnowledgeBase, but this function requires a secure tunnel between the client and server. Cerrato said Ptech is considering adding to TeamWork’s next release a function whereby users can connect via the Internet.
Cerrato said TeamWork was designed to make enterprise analyses – strategic plans, process development and data architectures – that much simpler. One industry analyst said collaborative programs like this are beneficial, regardless of concerns of their effects on IT and network management.
“Anything that is going to be utilized by multiple users simultaneously, where you require permissions and there are security issues, that certainly does add to administrative overhead,” said Alister Sutherland, an analyst with IDC Canada in Toronto. “But assuming it’s an elegant solution and assuming your network is well defined and administrated, there really shouldn’t be too much of an issue.”
The TeamWork program is priced at US$16,000-per-year for five users. FrameWork, which is required for TeamWork, starts at approximately US$18,000-per-year. For more information check Ptech’s Web site at www.ptechinc.com