PLM and The Power Of Pull

by Oleg on June 23, 2010 · 425 comments

I had chance to have a talk with David Siegel, entrepreneur, speaker and the author of a new book “Pull“. We met during the Semantic Technology Conference in San-Francisco yesterday. The sub title of this book state — The Power Of Semantic Web To Transform Your Business. You can take a look on David’s web site — The Power Of Pull. My first question to David was about the idea of name “Pull”. His answer was very interesting. The working name of the book was Business 3.0. However, people didn’t get this name. So, he tried to get to the bottom line of what his ideas are about and came to the definition of “Pull”. In the nutshell of Pull, we are going to move to the world where information will be available at the time we need it. I found it interesting, since it solves, in my view, one of the most important problems we have today with enterprise software in general and PLM specifically- how to make systems more intuitive?

Pull Concept: Product Lifecycle Management

Here is my simple explanation about how to shift to Pull in PLM. On the very basic level PLM is about how to track Products and Information related to products from the early beginning (actually interaction with potential customer about what product they want) through all phases of product design, engineering, manufacturing and disposal. The interesting thing — I can see this chain does exist today. However, when we want to touch it, get information about it, analyze it, we need to push a lot of stuff around us. It related to all aspects of a product life cycle. We need to work on so many sources of information to get actually what we need. Existing systems are trying to organize everything around products. The so called “single point of truth”. So, it puts “the product” is in the middle. The shift to Pull may happen when we will put people in the middle of the circle. Then all information about a product will become findable and available for pull.

How to Pull Product Lifecycle Data

Product Lifecycle is represented by data. There are lots of data around us representing ideas, information about potential customers, requirements, product design, manufacturing, supply chain, retail, physical products. The most interesting question for me is how we can make this data available and retrievable at the time we need it? The naive answer — just search across all web sites, intranet and enterprise software products to find all what I need. However, here is the problem — I don’t know what I need to get. I’d prefer somebody will take care to organize information around me. This is “aha moment” to think about “pull” as a different concept. Product Lifecycle Data need to have an ability to be organized to become available. I can see initial shifts into this direction across multiple spaces. One of them is personalization of search and organizing of social and real-time information. I think, we will see more products going into this direction.

PLM, Pull  and Openness

Openness will play a significant role in PLM shift to Pull. Today, PLM is the kingdom of proprietary information. Software vendors take a significant care about how to make data created in their software products available only in their own products. There is a simple and obvious explanation to that- business. They are making money by selling their software products. Just think about, what if tomorrow they will make money from making data created using their software product available? This is a major shift to “Pull” concept. It will shift industry from a closed and proprietary world we live today into the open world of tomorrow.

What is my short take on this? Important. Take your time to read this book. It contains lots of ideas in diverse set of business fields. Find your problems. Focus on low hanging fruits. Get it done.

Best, Oleg

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