Social PLM: More Syndication and Less Communities

I’ve been thinking more about what are the gaps in taking PLM to the next level of collaboration. Social trend started on Web 2.0 sites got explored more and growing Facebook population is just another confirmation of the fact that people are looking for new ways to communicate and work together.In the past few months I had chance to share my thoughts about how I see PLM development catching up with various social trends. Facebook is having the most strong influences on the way social aspects of PLM can be developed for the future. You can take a look on my previous posts related to this topic:

The ABC of PLM Facebooking
PLM and Facebook Open Graph
How To Facebook PLM?

Facebook and Content

In my view, content is one of the big misleading elements of Facebook’s strategies. Lots of people are thinking about Facebook as an ultimate way to generate content. However, posting content to Facebook is not creating desired effect. Facebook is predominantly about people communication and not content creation. I found a very interesting observation about what Facebook is doing in Ken Auletta’s book — Googled.

The comparison of Facebook with phone communication where all participants are on the same line made me think there is a potential to create some similarity in product development organization.

Communication and Context
When Facbook is associated with a single phone conversation, it may not be so practical to be implemented exactly in the same for the business in an organization. The biggest difference, in my view, is that fact business by definition cannot be focused on a single conversation between friends. People in the business can have multiple contexts that create need to communicate. There are many examples — projects, ECOs, design discussions and many others. When using Facebook, your context is a single ‘online conversation’ that happens all the time. To be able to provide multiple contexts can be a challenging task for PLM.

Connect vs. Syndicate
In Facebook-like communication, the connection between people created an ultimate way to syndicate information. Is it true for organizations? No, I don’t think so. Connection between people in the organization has a different meaning. The fact I want to stay connected with a person, still doesn’t mean I want to syndicate an information stream coming from him. The syndication needs to be done on the contextual level, rather than on personal. So, community will have less importance to have a successful social PLM implementation.

What is my conclusion? Facebook provides a new paradigm for information sharing. The way doing so is to syndicate on the fly multiple information streams coming from people you are staying connected. This is the ultimate way to create a single conversation and not multiple conversations. What is the value in Product Lifecycle Management? The idea of syndication is extremely powerful. The way it is catching up now with different “communities concepts” and “social product development” stories might be wrong, in my view. There is a fundamental difference between a need of people to stay connected and information sharing. To apply this difference in a successful manner will be a key question in the future of collaborative systems for product development. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg



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