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What I would change about GrabCAD Partner Spaces

I’ve been playing around with GrabCAD Workbench Partner Spaces. If you’re not familiar with how they work you can read up on them here.

A Partner Space is a folder in your Workbench project that is used to show a selection of files to a Partner. Partners can view files in the Partner Space, but cannot see any of the other files in the project. This allows you and your collaborators to work privately on a project and deliver files when they are ready.

So basically, you can copy a file from your project folder into a partner folder (and think of partners as a supplier, machine shop, customer, etc). The copy isn’t really a copy, it maintains the link back to the original so changes stay in sync. Partner Spaces allow you to add comments to the file for your partner to see. This allows for some level of collaboration between you and your partner.

After using Partner Spaces for awhile, I came up with a list of things that I would change if I could wave my magic user interface wand. In reality, I know GrabCAD is very good at reading blogs like mine and taking suggestions to heart… so I’m waving away.

Here’s my list in no particular order:

    • Folder structure: A minor annoyance, but I would indent the sub-folder partner spaces below the parent Partner Space folder.
    • FolderStructure
    • Partner Space folder intelligence: When you create a Partner Space, it’s just a folder name. It would be nice to be able to assign contact information or any other pertinent information to keep track of the partner. A project with a lot of partners can get unwieldy.
    • File attachments: Yes you can add parts and drawings, but what about material specifications, or other required documents needed to properly fabricate or document the design? It would be nice to be able to attach these type documents in a nice, clean way where they don’t clutter up your partner space folder.
    • Quantity: Adding a model is great, but how many are you ordering? 1 or 1,000? Why not tell them right in the interface. Yes you can do with with a comment, but how awkward. This might not work for every space… see next item below.
    • Type of Partner: Is the space for a supplier or a customer? The requirements for both may be totally different.
    • Disable download: This should be an option.

If things change or I think of more, I’ll add some comments to this post.

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Permanent link to this article: http://cadtoolbox.com/2014/01/30/partner-spaces/

7 comments

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  1. Blake

    Hi Thomas,

    When we launched Partner Spaces, we were well aware that there were many directions it could go. We asked ourselves questions like: do we need different types of spaces for customers and manufacturers? Now that we see how folks use it and have great feedback like yours, we can make our next round of improvements.

    Everything you are suggesting is consistent with our product plans. Your mentioning the here helps us prioritize better.

    RE partner types, what different capabilities do you see customer and manufacturer spaces needing? Are there other types of partners you collaborate with in Workbench?

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  2. thomas.rambach

    Think of these type of workspaces (just ideas):

    – Supplier (fabricator, machine shop, etc)
    – Customer
    – Regulator (government organization)
    – Internal customers (purchasing, manufacturing, shipping, etc)

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  3. Blake

    Excellent I don’t think we’ve considered “Regulator”.

    Do you see a different behavior for each type of partner space, or would this be more for organization? What if you could have folders of partner spaces? Would that be enough?

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    1. thomas.rambach

      It really depends on what additional functionality you might provide. As is now you could simply have different folders for each type but if you were to add functionality such as ability to prevent file downloads, or other specific features this maybe something you would want to do on a per Partner Space basis. In reality, I don’t see any real difference between the 4 I mentioned, as long as you can customize on a per folder basis to how your organization would use them.

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  4. Blake

    Perfect. That’s consistent with our thinking as well. Just wanted to make sure we weren’t missing anything!

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  5. Roger

    Hi Thomas,

    Regarding file attachments, would it suit your needs if you can upload other files to each partner space folder? Say one Partner Space is for a supplier, you or the supplier can upload the spec sheet to the relevant folder.

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    1. thomas.rambach

      I’m not sure I follow you.

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