PLM and Enterprise Search: can we leverage it  in downstream applications?

PLM and Enterprise Search: can we leverage it in downstream applications?

The benefits of search solution are obvious. It helps you to find what do you need. Over the past decade Enterprise Search emerged to the level succeeded to provide a solution for indexing documents and additional information, mostly in databases, vaults, content management systems and ERP. PLM system provides a solution to search product information, since this information is well organized and indexed inside of PLM databases and vaults. Unfortunately, this product related information and documents is not available outside of PLM world. However, this information highly demanded by many people in the organization.

Enterprise Search solutions represented by two main groups of providers – traditional providers of enterprise search (Autonomy, Exaled and others) and general search vendors (lead by Google’s GSA) trying to get into the enterprise market. Microsoft, after FAST acquisition, provide an enterprise search solution as well as SharePoint and Express Search Server solution.

Gartner positioned top companies provided enterprise search solutions in their 2008 magic quadrant (bellow).

I think Enterprise Search can be connected to PLM system. By doing that Enterprise Search will  index product data, documents and will make it available outside of engineering department for all people in the organization.


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  • Dick Terleth


    you are right!! Some unstructured (Google like) search is required. Lots of PLM folks think that if you build a nice (product) structure, attach attributes to it, link documents to items you are OK and will be able to find everything again. In my opinion you are not. There is still a lot of information in the documents itself that can be unlocked.

    As a matter of fact I am a enthusiastic user of Google Desktop to find documents on my laptop.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we had some kind of Google to find designs based on CAD-geometry??? (I read about it sometime but cannot find it again..)

    Dick Terleth

  • Dick,

    In my view, search technologies are quite immature when we speak about such complex domain as product data. Enterprise search vendors and GSA are trying to improve search models, but without results. Some PLM vendors OEMed Enterprise search technologies. Google desktop is good. I compared it to Windows search on my laptop – Google is better, but it works well until you know what you are looking for.

    I remember few vendors introduced 3D visual search according to geometry -you can try to google it with these keywords. Some interesting (similar) development I see in Google ability to search in scanned documents and PDFs…

    Regards – Oleg

  • Dick

    I think reality is quickly catching up with users wishes; both unstructured search and geometric search are available today in Teamcenter.

    For unstructured semantic search we integrate Autonomy’s search engine (see them up in the visionaries quadrant) so that both metadata and file content is indexed and retrievable thorugh it. Results will be obviously filtered through the access rules.

    For geometic search, Siemens offers a leading technology called Geolus ( ), acquired a couple of years back, which is available standalone, or integrated in both Teamcenter and NX. You can make a rough outline of a model, or a similar 3D model in neutral format, and pass it to a database to retrieve “similar” parts. There is a demo on the web page, try it if you like.

  • Paolo, My point was about usage of PLM-origin data in downstream applications via Enterprise search. What you mentioned is more about how to use Autonomy’s technology inside of TeamCenter.
    Best regards – Oleg

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    Enterprise search providers