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Microsoft Proof of Concept (POC) Solution for Collaborative Product Development (CPD) with SharePoint Server 2010


Project Description

The Microsoft POC Solution for CPD with SharePoint Server 2010 is a Reference Architecture for enterprise PLM that enables people involved in the product development process and lifecycle to access commonly used and required information stored in line-of-business systems such as Product Data Management (PDM) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) quickly and easily using only SharePoint.

The solution is not designed to replace PDM or PLM, but rather act as a companion. Its primary purpose is to extend the reach of information to people who may not have access to PDM or PLM, or for those who simply desire a simple and fast way to access pertinent information and to facilitate collaboration for work-in-progress scenarios with others.

The benefits of using this solution are as follows:

  • Frees up PDM and PLM users from time consuming requests for information by extended team members
  • Does not consume any PDM or PLM licenses yet can conform to security policies in those systems
  • Allows anyone with permission to access pertinent information by browsing or searching
  • Makes 3D information broadly accessible and available with mark-up/comments
  • Facilitates the creation of collaborative workspaces for work-in-progress activities
  • Automatic documentation creation for accelerated authoring and sharing
  • Enables process centric workflows such as engineering change orders (ECO)
  • Remains in-sync and up-to-date with the master PDM or PLM system ensuring information is accurately and timely represented.

This project was initiated to demonstrate how such a solution can be designed and implemented within an Enterprise, and act as a starting point for developers and integrators wishing to customize a solution for their own needs. As such the solution code is available via this site as open source software.


  • Non-PLM user
    • Browse bookmarked parts & assemblies
    • Collaborate with team members
    • Invoke a change order for a product, assembly or part
    • Manage documents between systems
    • Search for (and find) parts, assemblies and attributes
  • PLM user
    • Engineering dashboard with product data exploration
  • Product Management
    • Monitor product performance
    • Perform analyses on demand


  • Ability to view all PDM/PLM parts and associated meta-data
    • As a SharePoint list
    • As consolidated data in a SharePoint webpart
  • Find PLM and SharePoint based information using industry terminology and natural terms utilizing SharePoint search
  • Tag parts and assemblies using SharePoint tags such as “I like it” for traceability and updates
  • View and markup parts in 3D via a custom webpart utilizing Silverlight and ActiveX
  • Automated creation of part specific workspaces based on a SharePoint site template that contains pertinent information such as
    • Automatic Excel workbook creation containing pertinent part information using OOXML
    • Persistent links to the workspace based on part version
  • Invoke work-in-progress business processes using InfoPath forms and Windows Workflow Foundation within SharePoint

For a more detailed description of the benefits and walk through of several use cases, there is a PowerPoint presentation.  For details on how the various components work please view the overview documentation.

SharePoint PLM Joint Development Partners

The Microsoft POC Solution for CPD with SharePoint Server 2010 is a collaborative development initiative with Actify, Aras, Microsoft and Razorleaf.

Kit Contents

  • Documentation on how to setup and configure SharePoint with the code provided in the Source Code section
  • Best practices, webparts, templates, tools, and source code
  • Silverlight code and ActiveX control for 3D CAD viewing
  • Includes a Cube that crawls a Bill of Materials hierarchy (unbalanced hierarchy with no uniqueness)
    • Dimensions include Bill of Materials, Product Line, and Time
    • Measures include Product Costing, Part Count, Field Failures, and Engineering Changes Status

Release Status

  • Kit build 3 

Platform Requirements

  • SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise
  • SQL Server 2008 including Analysis Services
  • Excel 2010
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 with .NET 3.5
  • Visual Studio 2010
  • Windows (Win7, Vista, XP) and .NET 3.5
  • IE7 or IE8 with Silverlight
  • Aras Innovator V9 Aras PLM Download
  • Actify .3D File Converters Actify

SharePoint PLM POC 

Solution Screenshots


SharePoint web parts for task notification, links to common assemblies and parts and shared documents can be easily configured on your home page to make navigation and information gathering very easy and efficient.


Search is customized to help finding related parts, documents and sites fast.


Track parts and assemblies using tags.  The I Like It option that comes standard in SharePoint 2010 makes capturing and using these tags very convenient.


The structured browser is the heart of the information gathering process.  With it navigate assemblies , create part specific work spaces, retrieve part/assembly attribute information from the PLM system.


View documents using the document tab.


View associated change orders created against the part/assembly.


View a list of change requests for the part/assembly


View the part with a SilverLight enabled 3D viewer.


Use the workspace creation to capture additional information, like meeting minutes, use Excel to do analysis of the automatically generated bill of material, customize it to include other web parts as required.


Use dashboards to quickly understand project status.

Whitepaper: SharePoint and PLM
Razorleaf - by Jonathan Scott and Derek Neiding - November 2009

Product, Project, Process, and People: The Four Ps of PLM Analytics Technology
Technology Evaluation Centers - by Kurt Chen - September 2009

MS SharePoint 2010 – Is it good for PLM?
PLM Think Tank - by Oleg Shilovitsky - July 2009

Open Source PLM?
DEVELOP 3D - by Martyn Day - April 2009

Aras Changes PLM Industry with Open Model
Desktop Engineering - by Anthony J. Lockwood - June 2008

Implementation Consulting Services
If you require assistance with solution implementation, systems integration, data migration, process reengineering or training for SharePoint PLM, expert resources are available from Razorleaf (joint development partner on this open source project).

Razorleaf Corporation

Additional Info
More about Actify, Aras, demos, documents, etc.

Last edited Oct 14, 2010 at 3:03 PM by mlind, version 53