How To Visualize PLM Excels using Microsoft Pivot?

If you haven’t had chance to see Microsoft Live Lab Pivot project, please do. I found this approach as somewhat very interesting. The idea of data visualization is not new. However, the key question is how to make it simple? My view is that “collections” of data are a very strong and simple presentation abstraction worked well in many cases such as – SharePoint lists, Excel and many others. You can see trends towards simplification of user experience in Facebook and Twitter too.

When Pivot is still prototype and Lab product, I bet play around can give you couple of fresh ideas of what you can do with your PDM/PLM experience. The biggest amount of engineering data today is concentrated in what I’m calling “Corporate Strategic Excels”. So, maybe Pivot will be the right way to present Engineering and Product Excels to us?

What do you think?

Best, Oleg


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  • Oleg

    This is interesting. such tools could be effectively used to see/maintain/modify product structures easily. This is also possible with GWT.

    For e.g you can show product structures something like this

    There is one more similar library but I cant find it in my bookmarks written with GWT

  • Prashant, The “star way” you presented used by multiple old PDM’s UI (including MatrixOne)… Today, you can see almost the same concept in 3DLive (but obviously in 3D). Do you see advantages in such presentation? Best, Oleg

  • I wasnt perticularly talking about the “star way” presentation but collecting/processing the huge amount of nodes and presenting them to the user in a fashion that makes sense and adds value to his work by reducing the amount of time he has to spend on analyzing it. It gives an engineer an idea where the part would fit in larger context.
    You could present it the way you want for example here is another way. What is challenging is processing such data on demand and present it as fast as user thinks. Wouldnt it be great if I could present him a complexity report of a huge assembly in a visual way rather than plain textual format?

  • Prashant, Agree with you. Different type of visualization can potentially bring benefits. However, most of them (star, visual graph) had a complexity when you got a complex structure. For example, 3DLive (and all star rep) have a problem when you have to show huge number of parts in the row. The same can happen with your spacetree if you will put the number of part in the assembly to 50-100… Best, Oleg

  • apandre

    Take a look on this:
    It allows to convert Excel spreadsheets to multi-user web applications with data residing in SQL Server.

  • apandre, Thanks for the link! I see quite many apps that are trying to get a ride on top of Excel success. The biggest problem of these apps is to keep up with Excel flexibility… Best, Oleg

  • apandre

    I agree with observations – many trying to get a ride,
    but technology I mentioned ( ) is not following of Excel, it is THE innovator and is much ahead of Excel, while actually having all Excel flexibility user can handle!
    For example it supports 333+ built-in Excel formulas (basically all) and allows to create interactive ONLINE multi-user PivotTables® reports.

  • apandre, Thanks! I see what you are saying. User doesn’t differentiate, otherwise something significantly different happens. How you can differentiate the technologies you mentioned from Excel services (or similar web apps)? Best, Oleg

  • apandre


    to me Excel Services are just a toy compare with SpreadsheetWEB; I asked the inventor of SpreadsheetWEB and CEO of to comment on your question.
    I hope he will find the time for it, if not, I will comment myself. Don’t get me wrong, Excel Services have a lot of potentials, but they need a lot of improvements (and I know that Microsoft is trying hard to get them out of the door) before they will be a contender.
    Happy 2010!

  • apandre, Thanks! Usual practice of big companies is to learn on top of partners and smaller companies in trying to do some more agile and something that can close gaps in big vendor’s offering. So, gaps in Excel Services is a good opportunity for other vendors… I will be interested to discuss answers… Best, Oleg