Last year I had chance to talk about social aspects of PLM with Chris Williams from Vuuch.com. Moving enterprise software into the “social” direction is a very interesting aspect. The main change I see in this approach is that element of people communication becomes a main driver force for system to be used. This is an important element of the system adoption. I had chance to see many enterprise systems, implementing complex models, optimized processes, dashboards, etc .. However, all these systems were abused by users next day after implementation and introduction in the production environment.
The idea of social PLM is to build system on top of people’s communication models. I see a very interesting element of Vuuch is an attempt to build system on top of the most popular communication model – email. I don’t know about you, but I love and hate mail at the same time. Mail is dumb, simple and messy together. However, in the end, it is simple, available and works. Vuuch is trying to introduce the system that helps designers to communicate and collaborate by improving existing mail collaboration models. It brings specific product connections (i.e SolidWorks, Office tools) to the mail communication model and by doing so, it makes your collaboration more intelligent. This is a very interesting approach, and I want to see what will be people adoption for such a communication model in the future.
But, you can ask me how Google Wave is related to this conversation? Google Wave was a significant event last year and Google’s attempt to re-define email communication. You can refer to my posts last year to get more details (i.e. 6 Reasons Why Google Wave Will Change PLM Collaboration). I got my long awaited Google Wave invitation last year and started my Google Wave journey. I have to say that my reaction after 1-2 month of work was “love and hate”. I love it, since it introduced some interesting models merging IM (instant messenger) and mail together. The technological foundation and ability to collaborate at the same time are fascinating. However, on the practical side, I’m getting back to my mail for the moment. The most significant advantage for Outlook users is the message threading, but you can have this feature in gmail as well as in other mail systems (like Apple and some others). Other capabilities of Google Wave are still in very premature state and need to be developed to connect Google Wave as a collaboration foundation to the end-user tasks. This is a point of time I thought about Vuuch – combination of collaboration foundation with connection to the specific end user systems and function can be the key to the social PLM adoption.
What is my conclusion today? Social elements in enterprise software will continue to materialize and grow in my view. The examples will come from both sides – bottom up from vendors like Google and Microsoft in their try to redefine infrastructure and horizontal systems and top-down, from small companies like Vuuch trying to present specific social collaborative cases in vertical application domains.
PS. I will be watching this space. I’m going to see Vuuch demo next week on the Mass Innovation Nights event.