While looking at the trend of Enterprise 2.0 software, I thought it would be interesting to see how PLM fits into this picture. Enterprise 2.0 is the term used to describe groups of social software products that follow the needs of enterprise organizations. I picked up several topics that, in my opinion, can successfully improve PLM software and bridge Product Lifecycle Collaboration to the Social Collaboration trend in the organization.
Linking to and leveraging existing communities: The ability to leverage existing communities will be critical for PLM software to fit into the future enterprise organization reality. Since the majority of PLM focus is about successful collaboration, it will be very hard to PLM to collaborate outside of existing communities. Of course, if PLM introduces one social community concept to product development, the situation might be different. However, successful adoption of the social community will be probably be on the short list for PLM in 2009.
The ability to establish social networks PLM users, especially consumers: This will be the right option for democratizing PLM. Product Lifecycle Management vendors will need to provide customers with an on-demand offering that will allow manufacturers to move organized social networks of customers around the products they manufacture. Establishment of these successful networks will allow them to be used for social marketing and social design methods, as well as to increase the capability of the manufacturer “to build for people”.
Large IT players will keep trying to enter the Social Software space:. IBM, Microsoft and (maybe) Oracle will try to establisha full suite of tools for social computing including development tools. IT organizations will be be pressured to move from fragmented solutions to platforms. This will also accelerate major vendors to compete with Open Source offerings PLM providers can use this time frame to make a strategic choice between bundling with one of the large IT providers or establishing a full stack of social software tools on available PLM platforms.
Microsoft will try to replicate SharePoint’s success in collaborating with the social software area:. While it’s unclear what the next SharePoint version will include, today’s version provides a solid collaborative background inside the organization. PLM’s strategic decision about how to leverage SharePoint’s collaboration with social software modules successfully will be the center of PLM 2009 debates.
Collaboration and Information Overload
We continue to produce much more information than we can absorb and handle:. The topic of Information Overload, especially competition on user focus, will become urgent. Users in the organization will not be able to keep their focus on all social and collaborative software, including PLM software. PLM will need to fight for collaborative and social focus within the organization.
This is a white space, in my opinion:. As RSS is very popular outside of the organization in the Web space, Enterprise Software is slowly adopting this capability. PLM software can consider RSS adoption to keep information syndication streams in product development and in the organization at large. This is quite a promising area, but can be very attractive for big “platform vendors”.
Social Business Intelligence
This is very a promising area:. Tools leveraging social information about product customers, PLM system users inside and outside of an organization can provide a strong stream of ideas for an organization looking to be successful manufacturer in today’s market. Predictions models, social polls and analyses can be leveraged by Product Lifecycle Management tools and demonstrate very fast ROI.
I think that the crossroads of Enterprise 2.0 and PLM software will be very interesting and inspiring for existing vendors and new software providers alike. Economical downturn will add a dramatic flavor to this activity in 2009.