The “Engineering Tools and Information Spring 2012 Survey,” conducted by The Parthenon Group and sponsored by Knovel, finds that engineers are increasingly challenged by locating and validating technical information, accessing best practices information, and securing approvals and permissions.
Parthenon Group surveyed more than 600 engineers working in the Aerospace & Defense and Engineering Design and Construction industries about their use of technology, information needs, and satisfaction with engineering information and tool vendors.
The survey identified a number of challenges that engineers face as they aim to improve how they find and interact with critical data. Findings include:
- Access to searchable materials properties, regulations, codes and standards topped the list of information categories engineers seek online;
- Searching multiple sources to find accurate engineering data needed for critical decisions during the design process is a top frustration;
- The ability to extract and interact with data is an increasingly important aspect of engineers’ searches for new tools.
“Our research indicates that the lost productivity associated with assembling and validating technical information from multiple sources is a major pain point for engineers,” said Terry Bradshaw, Senior Principal at The Parthenon Group. “This is good news for Knovel, whose users regard it as a comprehensive source of trusted technical information and the best one-stop-shop for materials data and best practices, two of the most important types of content in the engineering workflow.”
The survey highlighted and focused on three distinct “clusters” of design engineers, defined primarily by their differing needs for engineering tools:
- Process-Focused engineers rely heavily on workflow and collaboration tools. Their top productivity needs are electronic workflow approval tools and collaboration tools to identify experts within their organizations (34 percent of engineers surveyed).
- On-the-Go engineers rely heavily on mobile tools. Their top productivity need is for engineering-focused mobile applications for tablets or smart-phones (48 percent of engineers surveyed).
- Integration-Focused engineers seek better ways to analyze and integrate the data. They look for best practices and other forms of institutional knowledge. Their top productivity needs are for integration between technical information sources and engineering software and for better ways to interact with and extract data and formulas from technical information (18 percent of engineers surveyed).
“Customers tell us that Knovel is a must-have during product design and development,” says Chris Forbes, CEO of Knovel. “Whether engineers need to get smart on a topic during heavy lifting at project launch, find materials or document decisions in a report, the ability to access validated technical information — and easily export that information into their work — is a significant benefit and time saver. By reducing time spent searching and increasing the quality of information available, Knovel significantly improves efficiency throughout the engineering process.”