The latest trends in software development definitely lean towards simplification. People tend to avoid complex stuff. I think most of us agree that we rather than expecting customers to read User Guides, we want to provide an intuitive user experience, and use 3D and CAD software focuses on simplification. As the use of this software becomes more natural in the customers’ operation, products that don’t require training will definitely leapfrog over products that require education and a high learning curve. So, with all these things on our mind, how we can make the next major shift in Product Lifecycle Management to becoming… yes, Invisible!
I’d like to figure a few core implementation principles that can help us make this invisibility a reality.
1. Cloud on our mind
We need to stop thinking about a “place to store our work”. Cloud (or corporate cloud) is a technical answer to “where to store”. This place needs to be big enough and widely available in order NOT to burden people about how to save their design, Bill of Material, Item etc.
2. Tagging and Classification
My design, product data, Bill of Materials and everything else I create during my job functions need to be tagged and classified. I don’t need to be part of this job. I already mentioned Tagging in my previous posts. I think, folksonomy-based classification combined with some automatic guidance will help us avoid “boring data entering” and other “data selection” procedures. In general, my work needs to be natural and focused only on <my tasks>.
3. Collaborative (Social) Networks in the Organization
We need to translate the benefits of social networks in the organization to the level of self-identification. These networks need to be created based on the organizational information and conceptual definition of processes. Mapping of people/roles/processes need to be done automatically. As soon as this happens, the issue of “workflow” management in the organization will disappear. The system will route tasks/messages without asking users additional and complex questions.
4. Natural Language Processing (NLP)
Last, but not least. Even after many years of computing, people still prefer communicating in their natural language. PLM needs to invest more in communication using natural languages, at least the written language (i.e. you can build commands to enhance/enrich/develop user experience on top of NLP tools).