SharePoint: PLM and Widget Libraries

SharePoint: PLM and Widget Libraries

What do you think about SharePoint? During the last few months, I’m getting this question very often. After my post – CAD, PLM and End of Microsoft Dominance, this question is normally combined with the following one – Do you believe in Microsoft? My simple answer is yes. The majority if CAD and PDM/PLM products are running Windows platform these days. Obviously, the absolute majority of customers is running on Wintel boxes. And if you have money and customers, you can fix everything.

I have people asking me if SharePoint can be considered as PDM/PLM software. My usual answer is no. SharePoint is a great platform running on top of Microsoft Windows Server. It includes a very interesting “free product” – WSS (Windows SharePoint Services) or how it called Microsoft SharePoint Foundation in SharePoint 2010. If you decide to take SharePoint path in your PLM implementations, you can combine standard product offering coming from companies like PTC, Siemens PLM and others with the libraries of components that can be used to customize SharePoint. I found good examples of SharePoint widgets on this Syderis community on codeplex. Navigate your browser to the following link to see a list of SharePoint widgets and some guidance how to use them with your SharePoint.

What is my conclusion? SharePoint is great if you’re prepared to handle it. It is free to install, and as some of my readers stated in comments this week, some customers are successfully keeping WSS to get a job done. However, SharePoint can expose you to a significant amount of service expenses. You better be prepared. Make your home work, prepare widgets, resources and people to make your SharePoint implementation successful.

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  • Jim Cooke

    One of the rather unique aspects of SharePoint 2010 that interests me in context of PLM, is using it as an “aggregation” platform. Not only as a way to simplify dissemination and interaction with PLM and other Line Of Business applications, but also the SharePoint 2010 ability to build “associations” between native SharePoint artifacts and external LOB content. This includes not only the SP managed files, but also the Social content. Utilizing Business Data Columns to join attributes across LOB systems is powerful, particularly in the creation of cross system dashboards. I for one thing there is a synergy between SharePoint and PLM.

  • beyondplm

    Jim, thanks for the comment. The notion of “an aggregation” platform is interesting. Excel services, LOB connection services are all great infra. BDC is a good infra. Your company can develop on this infrastructure, but the cost of this solution will be very high, in my view. What are the alternatives? Some other middleware stacks? MDM from Oracle? Google? Just my thoughts… Best, Oleg