PLM and Excel-lence

What is the most popular PLM system in the world? Yes, Microsoft Excel. In my view, every time PLM system fails Excel is making this job. Not easier. Complicated. Costly. Painful. However, when often move to Excel when we need to “get job done”.  In every manufacturing company, you can find a person who is responsible of a bunch of very important Excels. Microsoft is celebrating 25 years of Excel. Take a look on the following video and think about your PLM Excels.

By the way,  Microsoft is running contest on Facebook. Navigate to the following page. I think, by submitting your PLM excels you have a good chance to win Microsoft Office and Kinect package.

What is my conclusion? I decided not to make a conclusion. I have few questions instead. What will be the next 25 years of Excel? When we’ll see a system that can replace PLM Excel in a company? 

Best, Oleg


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  • Engineers use Excel in two ways – as a calculation tool and as a register for parts, documents, etc (your PLM analogy). In neither case is it designed to do the job that engineers need, but that doesn’t stop it being far and away the most popular engineering application. But I think its prevalence is another example of the point that Chad Jackson made in a recent post that engineers are not well served by technology. There’s an opportunity for someone to figure out a way of making Excel do what engineers really need while preserving its ease of use.

  • beyondplm

    Doug, thanks for your comments! In my view, Excel is dominant because of 2 things- simplicity and ease of ownership by an individual. In both situation Excel allows you easy to start and provide you with an illusion of your data ownership (the last is not true, but this is very well known misconception). Best, Oleg

  • Also no good for collaboration and sharing 🙂

  • beyondplm

    Agree, sharing of data is terrible when you use Excel. Microsoft is proposing Excel services for Share Point. This is a mechanism that converts your Excel in a server side data source.