PLM, Enterprise Social Software and Excel Litmus Test?

PLM, Enterprise Social Software and Excel Litmus Test?

I want to take another round of thinking about Enterprise and Social Software. My last post related to that was following Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston in June – PLM and Enterprise 2.0: No Fight… Yet.

Few days ago, I posted about PLM, BOM, Excel – How to Make it right? Chris Williams at Vuuch made an interesting comment that made me think again about existing PLM problems and potentials of social software for enterprise organizations.

Excel Litmus Test
I’m coming to the conclusion that enterprise software vendors can use MS Excel as a Litmus test for potential problems. Depend on the amount of MS Excels, you can make a conclusion about the quality of solutions they provide. Users are voting Excel each time enterprise software doesn’t work or too complex to be used.

Enterprise Social Software
The term ESS (Enterprise Social Software) first appearance happened during Enterprise 2.0 conference couple of years ago. Here is Wikipedia definition:

Enterprise social software (also known as or regarded as a major component of Enterprise 2.0), comprises social software as used in “enterprise” (business/commercial) contexts. It includes social and networked modifications to corporate intranets and other classic software platforms used by large companies to organize their communication. In contrast to traditional enterprise software, which imposes structure prior to use, enterprise social software tends to encourage use prior to providing structure.[citation needed] Carl Frappaolo and Dan Keldsen defined Enterprise 2.0 in a report written for Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM)as “a system of web-basedtechnologies that provide rapid and agile collaboration, information sharing, emergence and integration capabilities in the extended enterprise”.[1]

Back in 2006, Social Software was defined as one component of Enterprise 2.0.  As of 2006, “Enterprise 2.0” had become a catchier term, sometimes used to describe social and networked changes to enterprises, which often includes social software (but may transcend social software, social collaboration and software).

Another marketing buzz was Enterprise Web 2.0. This term related to the software making intensive use of Web 2.0 technologies for creating Enterprise applications.

Enterprise Portal Renaissance?
Let me move you back ten years. Do you remember Enterprise Portals?

An enterprise portal, also known as an enterprise information portal (EIP) or corporate portal, is a framework for integrating information, people and processes across organizational boundaries. It provides a secure unified access point,[1] often in the form of a web-based user interface, and is designed to aggregate and personalize information through application-specific portlets. One hallmark of enterprise portals is the de-centralized content contribution and content management, which keeps the information always updated.

I found this definition very interesting. If you replace “organization boundaries” with “product lifecycle” you are getting almost the definition of PLM. I found an old report provided by Delphi group in Boston in 1999 about Enterprise Portals. Download it navigating to the following link. You can see below a diagram I took from this report.


I can see lots of correlations between functional categories of Enterprise Portal model 1999 and Enterprise Social Software model 2010. It looks like we may have a second wave of Enterprise Portals coming with a new name – Enterprise Social Software on top of Web 2.0 technology matured during the last ten years of Web 2.0 deployment.

What is my conclusion? Complexity is hard. In my view, Excel Litmus Test can help you to identify it easily. PLM is in the deep complexity recession. Enterprise 2.0 and Social Software can provide some fresh air. However, as it usually happens during the hype period, many companies will try to sell you old stuff with a new name. Then we will be in danger of double-dip recession. Ask about functionality and technology. Try these things out and see if you remember the same stuff with old names. The good thing about Enterprise Social Software is about the ability to bring modern Web technologies to enterprise. The last make a lot of sense to me.

Just my thoughts…
Best, Oleg

Share

Share This Post

  • Chris

    An important differentiation between generic enterprise social tools and Enterprise Social System for Manufacturing is the understanding of content. In a generic enterprise social tool the content is not specific to a class of work or group of people. In this case the content is just messages of another form than email and in many case is actually duplicated in email. ESS for Manufacturing understands the work and deliverables of a product. It knows what a part is and it knows that parts are combined to create a product. You can say it speaks the language of the user.

  • beyondplm

    I think, I got your point. The funny thing is that the following argument used by PLM marketing and sales massively when explaining why PLM need to be used in addition to ERP. Does it mean ESS for Manufacturing need to implement all data models like Document / Design / Part / BOM / Product / Configuration / ECO, etc. to be able to speak the language of user?

  • Chris

    Needs to understand the elements used in product development. But this is not about versions and change, it is about connections.

  • beyondplm

    Clearly, ESS has a potential. However, the implementation of these social connections can be a very interesting problem.

  • Pingback: The Basic Of Shape Shifting Mobiles Released | rachelenathanum()