Racal Instruments, BAeSema and Rover are among the first companies to take advantage of software to reduce risks during the tender process.
The software, which was developed by the Department of Trade and Industry’s Computer Supported Co-operative Work (CSCW) programme, went on show earlier this month as part of a `virtual seminar’ involving participants at 10 sites.
Held over the Internet and by video conference, the event focused on the innovative use of technology to help companies work together to achieve common goals.
It marked the climax of the DTI’s Information Society Initiative (ISI) programme for business, which includes the three-year CSCW scheme.
According to Gareth Shephard, whose consultancy designed and co-ordinated the CSCW scheme, all the companies are using one or more of the four programmes developed by CSCW participants. These comprised 29 companies and 13 universities and business schools.
Rover and BAeSema are using the CSCW on-line design journal to collaborate with other companies on projects. More engineering firms could benefit from the software said Shephard, as an increasing amount of their business is won through tender.
This involves speculative and collaborative work, which the software facilitates. The CSCW risk analysis programme, said Shephard, is saving BAeSema millions of pounds in defence bids, where costs can be high. Other programmes include an up-to-date catalogue of a company’s component or product capability so that its sales force can sell more off the shelf items and a bid document which can be altered flexibly.
Launched last February, the ISI programme is aimed at helping British businesses, especially small and medium sized companies, to thrive in the emerging information based economy.
The results of the on-line debate can be found on: http://www.isi.gov.uk/cscw.