Do We Need Personal PLM?

Do We Need Personal PLM?

I’ve been observing a significant increase in the availability of personal services in today’s software and solution offerings. Many examples of social design are focusing on the ability to design products with a “personal touch”. In addition, there is a very strong trend called “personal web”, which is collects content, tools and capabilities from the Web that has configured and focused on a particular user. It started from personal pages and configurations and continued to provide tools for tags, categorizing, sorting, searching and re-assembling (aggregation). People create a customized environment and tools are focused on the same process.

Now, how can this be related to Product Lifecycle Management? In the past, we considered PLM as an enterprise system that focused on business processes and followed product kifecycles from the earliest idea time through to disposal. Is there a place to inject “personal PLM” into current concepts of PLM? Does it make sense for PLM to put spotlight personal activity rather than the overall process? Don’t get me wrong J… I’m not saying that processes are bad in general. I’m just saying that processes need to happen, but people need to focus on their personal activities and the content that they need to create.

So, what is the idea? I was looking at some of the today’s examples of personal web in the areas of community building, self learning, and library management. I find this example of PLE (Personal Learning Environment) as interesting as the prototype of a personal PLM system.

Bellow one of the examples of PLE

Another example of personalization is the creation of widgets and tools that allow you to aggregate PLM content differently. Take a look on the following example of pageflakes (a system that lets you aggregate content from different Websites).


Product Lifecycle Management Tools today (even those tools that aren’t referred to as PLM) provide a very traditional set of tools focused on design (i.e. CAD), engineering (i.e. BOM), simulation (i.e. CAE) and other domains. If we can find a way to re-aggregate capabilities provided by these tools using modern SOA technologies to create a personalized combination of tools or a working environment, we can significantly improve the way people work today in product development 


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  • François


    It is funny (?) to see that your reference at edtechpost is showing mostly diagrams, and mostly mind maps. In the same time, PLM vendors continue to provide GUIs based on tables. They should learn that there are new ways to display things that people like to use.

  • François
    Thanks for your comment! Indeed, I think PLM can think about alternatives to present information. And yes, today most of PLM vendors present table based user interfaces (similar to other enterprise software vendors). But you can see DS 3DLive as good example of non-table based UI. Have you had experience in creating something in PLM domain that have UI different from table based? can you share references to this?

  • François

    Yes, we developped a viewer of product structure using a mind map. The advantages are the following:
    – aggregate a lot of information into one display
    – very low learning curve for the user (a question of minutes!)
    – can be used by printing or directly on the screen

    Do you know the spider view in the fat client of matrix? If yes, imagine that is is not a mono level view but a multi level view, and you have it! The interest of such display was never understood by any IT guys, I still don’t know why.

  • François,
    I know spider map in ematrix. This UI becomes very busy if you have many objects in the one level. You can see that 3DLive is doing similar stuff for product structure and sometime beyond in 3D.
    How, you think, possible to present value for IT about such UI? Do you have any public material to view what you developed?

  • François

    No I have not any public things. You raise exactly the same point as IT guys, and you are right, if you adress any single object, then you report all connected objects you get many objects, which is not readable, only with one level. The point is that we adress only product structure, which limit the number of class to report (for example part, ECR, ECO, BOM links). The approach suppose for sure you make an analysis about what is really needed and what is not.
    The second drawback reported by IT organizations is the needed memory in the GUI to display such information (the more object you have, the more RAM you need). We manage in our tool BOMs with 200 parts and 10 levels without problem on a laptom with 1Gb RAM.
    But the question for me is not to try to present value for IT, but to address a user business need. Usual data is not a hierarchical structure of data, like displayed using a tree view, it is a graph with several entry points. The user, first, need the full view, and second is able to read very quickly this graph representation. Especially the guys who need to read only, which usually are 80% of the users of the system.
    Last but not least, 3D is not a question, 2D is enough for such purpose. I would be interested to views things you are talking about. Could you please send me some screen capture?

  • François,

    Thank you for sharing this information. More precisely what do you mean by “able to read very quickly this graph representation”?

    With regards to 3DLive you can see screen here – But in generally you can find lots of information and videos on and youtube – for example the following –

    Regards, Oleg

  • IMHO you’ve got the right aswner!

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