How to reinforce PLM by additional technologies – round #2 – Tagging


In one of my previous posts (Structured vs. Unstructured) I wrote about ability of PLM to bring additional advantages to users by leveraging technologies emerged in consumer market and web applications. In particular I talked about ability to manage flat view on product data. We are so regular to see all data structured and sometime to manage flat look on what we are doing brings excellent results. 

Topic I’d like to bring today to discussion is tagging. In context of data management – metadata tagging is most relevant in my view. Tag is non-hierarchical keyword associated with particular piece of information. In my view tagging can simplify way users can reach PLM-related information. You can tag things across regular information structures (Projects, Assemblies, Documents, EBOMs etc.). By using tags you can bring flat list of TODO actions for today pointing on different Item Masters, BOMs, Assemblies. 

Tagging is very popular in web 2.0 applications and used widely in blogs, web sites and wikis. is probably most known service to tag web links. So, I think it will be good idea to bring tagging to PLM applications.

What is your opinion on this? 

PS. I almost finished to write this post and worked on links when I’ve seen last product came out of SolidWorks Labs – Tagger. I liked way you can tag part of SolidWorks assmeblies. So, if you are SolidWorks user you can try to experiment with this and hope it will come in other applications too.


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  • Yann Malet

    Hello Oleg,
    Yet another interesting post thank you for this. I think that by pulling “tagging” as web 2.0 you took an excelent example very simple and well defined feature that can easily be implemented in a PLM system and that can bring huge added value to the ordering of data.
    In addition of this I think that a 3d company can take this concept and enrich it. Let me be a bit more precise, in the GIS realm we are starting to work on Geo-tagging. Geo-tagging give you the ability to localized any information you are managing. For example if you manage news or stories you might want to be able to localized them on a map or to do geo queries. I am sure you can imagine 3d tagging user scenario.

  • It is a good idea, but suffers one big issue. You require the user to do some that is both extra and not natural. Also what would they tag and where would these tags become evident? Systems that make effective use of tags require a structured data set, al la the blog. When you write a blog you are motivated because this is a way someone becomes traffic. But if you are an engineer checking in something, what is your motivation?

  • Chris, In PLM or CAD system you have enough structured sets of data. This is my basic assumption. On the other side there are cases when user interested to create set of data that crossing these structured sets (i.e. something belonging to particular project activity). Therefore I especially liked SolidWorks tagger that make selection in 3D model as soon as you click on particular tag. Regards – Oleg

  • Then are you thinking the system can auto_gen tags? The SW thing is certainly cool because it does lower the barrier to get somethign tagged. But I come back the the blog analogy. When someone writes a post they are motivated to tag because it increases the potentail to get a reader… But what is the designers motivation? To be clear I think the idea is great. There is not enough web2.0 approaches in Product Development and my feeling is the more freeform solutions the better the user up take.

  • Chris, i don’t see how tags can be auto-generated. User motivation is to capture and/or select something fast and have ability to return to this frequently. Oleg

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