PLM and Social Media 101

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  • abelniak

    Oleg,
    Nice presentation. I particularly like you comment about not designing an airplane in Facebook. In my experiences, the hurdle for many has been just that. The challenge is to get people to see beyond the literal application of the social tools, and look at them for their broader applicability. It’s doubtful, but Facebook and Twitter could be gone tomorrow or next week. The skill that one needs to extract is that the knowledge network in a hyper-connected world is no longer to the extent of how loud your voice is when you scream down the hallway for help. It’s the total breadth and depth of your online presence. How you curate and care of that network is, of course, up to the individual user.

  • beyondplm

    Alan, thanks for your comment! I agree with you – the main point is how to get people into a social space as a place where they can communicate more efficiently. Best, Oleg

  • Oleg, nice presentation. It shows us some of the ways that something like Facebook could be used in business.

    At this time, however, I think Facebook is far too immature to be the social media that business really needs. I use Facebook for personal relationships (family and local friends), and I use LinkedIn for business relationships. When I post something on Facebook to be viewed by my family/friends, I don’t want that to be broadcast to business associates across the world. Similarly, my business discussions are of no interest to my family and neighbors. Facebook is much better at supporting simple, immediate communications with a community of friends, and LinkedIn is better organized to support more formal (and persistent) communications/discussions with business associates.

    To support both needs, Facebook would need to support multiple personas for each user, and connections categorized into communities, with separate friends/connections and privacy (publication) controls for each community. (Facebook also needs better apps for topical discussions and event/task/request tracking.) The concept of multiple personas and communities could be approximated now by having multiple Facebook accounts per user, but that solution would make it hard to manage shared or related communications.

    The future social networking system will need:
    1) multiple friend/connection lists (communities), including sub-communities. For example, I might have a “Business Software” community, with sub-communities for PLM, development and my customers.
    2) multiple personas (profiles) per user. For example, I would have a personal profile and a business profile.
    3) Publication (“privacy”) controls to easily manage which profile information and posts are broadcast or available to each community.
    4) Better apps for discussion boards, events/tasks, and information storage/organization. Maybe something like Twitter would fit in too.
    5) Plenty of room (architecture) for growth (new apps and interface controls, adding data and controls for friends, …). Our understanding and usage of social media systems will change and grow over time.

    When social media really becomes useful for business, it will be used with data and communications that need much better security/privacy controls (for proprietary information). If the social media system is used within a company and with business partners, it will need organizational charts, relationship definitions and the ability for a manager to define some information in other users’ profiles. Access controls to all this data will need to be very powerful (and easy to use, to avoid errors). We have seen this all before in our PLM systems.

    It will be very hard for users to understand and manage all of these controls (for every aspect of their social and business lives). Avoiding the systems is not an option for long – we will be compelled to move forward into these systems, since they will become prominent in defining our communities and interactions (it seems obvious to me, but will be debated by many). It will be so complex to manage the data and the access (privacy) controls that the user interfaces for this will need to be very good, and they will need to be similar for our various business and social networks. (Eventually, kids will learn to manage this in school.) I think this implies that some pieces, or all, of the information publication systems will need to converge or become standardized (but that’s just my best guess).

    We are far from this future social media system now, with a long way to go in the software capabilities, the learning curves of users, and the process models of businesses. Sometimes technology moves quickly (like electronics and computers in the last 50 years), and sometimes it moves very slowly (like automotive and transportation in the last 80 years). Will we see Jetson cars and a ubiquitous social media system in our lifetimes? I hope so.

  • beyondplm

    George, Thanks for such a deep insight! I agree with your separation on family and business accordingly on Facebook and LinkedIn. However, not everybody keeps it this way. I can see some aggregation coming in the future to help us to organize our information streams. For example, to have two groups of contacts, etc. Security is always raised as an important factor. However, I think the concern about security is much bigger than the issue, in reality. Best, Oleg