Technological disruption is a very interesting topic. The term “disruptive technology” is overused, in my view. Nevertheless, if you can see how technological disruption can make a real play. I found the following list presented by PCWorld quite interesting and entertaining – The 10 Most Disruptive Technology Combinations. Even if all examples are well-known, emphasizing of technological combination makes it a good read. Randall Newton used the term “Alien Technologies” in his Graphic Speak Weekly update. Navigate to the following link to read the review. The review speaks about how CAD companies borrow some technology from game space to deliver interesting solutions. Here is the passage from the write up:
CAD is being invaded by alien technology. Modo is a popular modeler for art, animation, and game development. But the new export utility means Modo can be used as the foundational tool for initial product concept development. Autodesk Labs built Factory.Modz() from its Gameware technology in the Media & Entertainment division. The foundational technologies behind today’s CAD software are complex and brilliant, but in some ways limited. Luxology and Autodesk are at the forefront of what will grow as a trend in the coming months and years, the repurposing of technology created for digital content creation (DCC) for use in CAD.
The term “alien technologies” made me think more about the concept of technology borrowing and combinations in the context of product data management and PLM. Here is my list of 5 candidates for alien technologies that can disrupt PDM/PLM space.
1- Social Networking
The magic of social networking and Facebook are well known these days. When it comes to PDM and PLM, I can see a significant amount of followers trying to bring a magic of social to enterprise space. Will social technology be able to disrupt PDM/PLM space? I think, social technology has a good chance to disrupt the way we communicate. Email still remains a major communication pathway. Is it possible to disrupt email? This is a very valid question to ask.
2- Web Mashups
Multiple web technologies developed for the last 10 years create a good foundation to improve user experience of the applications. Mashups is one the most popular technique to combine information layers. It worked for consumer website and provide an opportunity to disrupt existing applications created 15-20 years ago.
3- Search Technologies
Since Google introduced their search back in 1998, search became a mainstream. Enterprise data management, PDM, PLM requires better data access technologies and techniques. Search can do it. Almost all PDM/PLM vendors made their experiments with search. Open source search lower the cost of search technology adoption. We can see how all PDM/PLM vendors are experimenting with search in a very pro-active manner.
Growing amount of data is a reality of all companies today. How to manage data more efficiently? Consumer technologies and web develop a significant amount of technologies growing beyond the capabilities provided by traditional RDBMS. When it comes to efficiency and cost, noSQL data-management solution can provide an advantage and play an interesting role.
5- Semantic Technologies
Last, but not least – semantic technologies. PDM/PLM systems have very rich “semantic layer” related to data organization. Semantic technologies, linked data, semantic web can provide an alternative to model data in a much higher level of flexibility and scalability. So-called “web of data” can become the next wave of disruption for PDM/PLM.
What is my conclusion? Existing PDM/PLM vendors need to think who will come to compete with existing solutions in coming decade. New technologies can become a disruptive factor. To create right combination of technologies solving real customer needs in a much more efficient way can end up with future PDM/PLM disruption.