PLM and Comprehensive Search

PLM and Comprehensive Search

For the last few months, I’ve been asked multiple times about the role of Enterprise search and PLM. Since last year, after Exalead a French search company was acquired by PLM giant Dassault Systemes, the interest for search among people in manufacturing increased. In the past, I had a chance to share my opinion about PLM interest to Enterprise Search. All PLM vendors having deep relationships with search products. They are having OEM or partnerships relations with companies like such as Endeca, Autonomy, SharePoint.

The following publication by Martin Butler Research caught my attention few days ago. It provides a short, but very pragmatic view on what is Exalead as well as what are benefits of Exaled usage by companies like PLM or other enterprise software vendors. Here is my favorite quote:

Although Exalead can be used to provide an out-of-the-box search solution, it’s true strength is to provide an information access platform for creating highly customised search-based applications. For organizations looking at embedding search functionality into new or existing applications Exalead should be high on the agenda. It’s patented results navigation interface, which uses advanced clustering and refinement techniques, also adds to it’s pedigree.

In my view, the comprehensive PLM implementation requires a better set of technologies to accomplish their implementations. High end PLM is swamping in non-efficient technologies developed 15+ years ago. To bring a better search infrastructure can help PLM vendors to improve the quality of data management and information processing for companies like Boeing, Toyota, Renault and other. On the flip side, it is going to make existing PLM implementation even more complex.

What is my conclusion?
Search is an important infrastructure. The demand for search is in manufacturing growing as well. To be competitive, software vendors in this space such as PLM, CAD and others are trying to bring new technology to solve old problems. This is a good sign, in my view. However, one of the biggest problems in PLM and enterprise software is the complexity of solutions. This is quite important. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Freebie. (Exalead didn’t pay me to write this publication)


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  • David Fulton

    A superior search solution is a necessity in a PLM system for a wide variety of purposes. As an example, being able to promote part re-use by having an effective search tool could save PLM users a significant amount of re-work each year.
    However, an effective search tool must understand numerical values (as numbers, not characters) and the object-relational data structures used by many of today’s PLM systems in order to be valuable. (Note: Some PLM systems have provided replicated table structures designed for reporting purposes that are updated consistently from the object-relational structures that the system uses to manage and control its operations.)
    If Exalead provides these capabilities, then it can provide true context-based searching of the objects in an PLM system — which would be a huge improvement. If not, then the incremental value of Exalead, when compared to existing search tools that operate on the PLM metadata, will be marginal.

  • beyondplm

    David, I’m 100% agree with you. I think enterprise search vendors worked on this kind of solutions for the last years. It will be interesting to compare the capabilities of Autonomy or Endeca with the capabilities of Exalead. Best, Oleg