PLM: From Work To Home via Microsoft and Open Cloud

PLM: From Work To Home via Microsoft and Open Cloud

Let’s talk about PLM software development today. Rewind pre-Web 2.0 and pre- iPhone era. Life was simlpe. After SolidWorks finally proved Windows is good enough for mechanical CAD, the majority moved to Redmond-based software. I’ve been thinking about changes that happened mostly for the last few years and what influences how we are going to develop PLM software in coming few years. There are two major trends I can identify: mix between “work” and “home” and significant influence of “open source” technologies.

The “Chat” Continues from Work To Home

These days we put fewer borders between work and home environment. Mobile technologies and cloud services allow to many people to be available during after working hours. Global development just added an additional pressure on people to be available out their normal work hours. Social marketing, custom-oriented product development and many other are additional factors changing our traditional working environment. I read Kelly Sommers’ blog Kellabyte – Continuous Client: Our multi-device dream but how do we build it?. This is my favorite passage.

Our needs for computing workflow have completely changed. Services like DropBox or Instapaper are narrow solutions to the real problem. DropBox lets us sync our data so that we can access it on multiple devices but it’s not addressing the workflow issue. DropBox doesn’t carry over the context of what we were doing when we shifted devices.I decided to count how many times I switched devices between noon and 6pm, so a 6 hour period. I switched devices 37 times.

Please take a look on the following picture from the same blog. This is a very typical scenario that may happen.

At the same time, most of the software is addressing data, but not addressing the “workflow” issue. And this is something that is really important if you think about business software like PLM. The only device-less software these days is the email. I can follow my emails on a desktop, tablet, mobile phone almost seamless. If you are lucky to use Google Apps, you can completely disconnect your life from a particular PC. At the same time, this is absolutely not happens in PLM business applications.

Microsoft Baby Steps towards Open Cloud

So, what happens with Microsoft these days. Do you think Redmond folks are sitting and waiting until Google mail will replace Microsoft Exchange and Outlook? Not at all. Recently, I wrote about Office 365. This is the “product” example. At the same time, I found some interesting trends related to the technological aspects of Microsoft-related development. Singularity is not popular and you can see Microsoft’s steps towards the technological trends we can see on the cloud. Navigate your browser to the following link and you will see how Microsoft Azure and PHP are working together – New SDK and Sample Kit demonstrates how to leverage the scalability of Windows Azure with PHP.

This Open Source SDK gives PHP developers a “speed dial” library to take full advantage of Windows Azure’s coolest features.

Spend some time, read it and make your opinion. Craig Kitterman brings multiple examples of software developed for Facebook and other cloud application by leveraging Microsoft Azure and PHP.  Deal of the Today is sample application for PHP developers to learn how to take advantage of Microsoft Azure scalability.

What is my conclusion? I can smell ch… ch… change in everything that happens in people behaviors and software development these days. The traditional applications, development stacks and people expectations are moving forward. Gen-Y will be coming to business very soon, and they won’t tolerate existing environment. Everybody understands that, in my view. Is it a time to revise PLM software stacks and axioms? Just my thoughts… Speak your mind, please.

Best, Oleg


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