5 Things SharePoint can do for your PLM

SharePointI had chance to write about different aspects related to SharePoint and Product Lifecycle Management. Since many of the organization are having SharePoint these days, I wanted to provide some initial guidance to the users with regards to what they can do with SharePoint? So, I decided to put five things you can do for practically with SharePoint to improve your working environment.  These things are not related to any specific topics in your PDM or PLM systems. Therefore, I don’t see a specific problem related to competition with product development systems (PDM, PLM) you are using.

Manage your work documents

This is something that should be simple and straightforward. I’m sure you store files on your disk. For whatever reason – either you don’t have “document management system” or you consider this system is not useful. The simplest thing you can do is to replace your local or shared disk with SharePoint folder or workspace. This is easy and natural move. Immediate benefits are as following – organized folders, additional attributes, versions and access from any location.

Organize your intranet environment

SharePoint provides a concept called Sites. In addition, you can use concept MySite. This is simplest way to connect all your links, materials, and online resources inside company to one place. Access to address books, calendars etc. Everything will be easy. You will need minimal help of IT to have this environment connected to your organization’s systems, but benefits will be huge. A single starting point for work you are doing. You can also connect your mails and messaging systems to the SharePoint folders too.

Collaborate with co-workers

Folders, Shared Documents, Tasks, Workspaces. All these capabilities will allow you to work more efficiently with your colleagues. You can use shared workspaces, sites. In addition, seamless integration with Office Communicator will allow easy contact with people in your organization and outside.

Manage your team activity

You can create team sites and workspaces, wikis and blog sites. This is ultimate way to improve collaboration in your teams. Basically, SharePoint provides it out-of-the-box. You just need to configure and use it.

Search

This is last, but very not least. You can search for everything I just mentioned before. SharePoint (depends on version) will provide you easy access to documents, mails, messages, tasks, contacts and any other information you will keep and share on SharePoint.

I hope you find this information useful. I tried to focus on capabilities that often not covered by traditional PLM environments. Most of them are not requiring special integration with your PDM/PLM or can be done easy by IT or professional services. In the future posts I’m planning to discuss what best practices you can use to make additional adjustment of a SharePoint system with your PDM and PLM.

Please share and discuss with me your SharePoint experience.

Best, Oleg

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  • matt

    Oleg,
    great article, but you only named the “tasks” without pointing out its parent, the far more powerful “lists”. As they can have relations, connect with MS Excel and MS Access they can provide a single-source “Excel for Teams” solution. I believe Sharepoint with lists can act as a nice and easy, yet unstructured entry point to introduce simple PLM processes.
    regards,
    Matt

  • Oleg,
    obviously you are not forced in your work life to use Sharepoint. A perfect tool is something else.
    Perhaps I just don’t like all the tasks that ten diverse projects using Sharepoint assign to me – all those emails – just leave me in peace ! Life is too short. Well perhaps I should really be looking on the positive side – at least it is not Lotus Notes.
    Martin
    p.s. enjoy your holiday – take a break from this PLM stuff – ignore the emails – switch off – junk the tasks that come streaming in.

  • Matt, You are right. Lists are more generic. I just wanted to point out on some specific example. Best, Oleg

  • Martin, In my view designers of SharePoint definitely had Lotus in mind when designers SharePoint folders and lists. This is much more useful and step forward. With regards to mails- this is good point. But nobody succeeded until now to offer something that can do better compared to mail and mail too. Otherwise you need to live in both world and nobody like it. – Thanks! Oleg.

  • enowned

    My experience with Sharepoint has been disappointing, mainly because although there are are some good ideas, it just doesn’t scale to the enterprise level. I’ve moved a number of former Sharepoint customers to Liferay with pretty good results (aka Sun Web Space Server). I think you will find, in comparison with a real PLM implementation, though, the capabilities of a social networking portal are limited.

  • Hi Enowned, Thank you for your comments! What were top issues that dissatisfied you with SharePoint. I agree, SharePoint may have advantages and disadvantages, but current version (2007) is pretty impressive from features standpoint and usability. What is your view on this? Thanks, Oleg