Why PLM Experience is a bad idea?

Why PLM Experience is a bad idea?

Experience. This word is getting into our lexicon and we start using it often. It is a nice word. We like it. It reminds us success of Apple, flawless way to find information using Google maps, slick Macbook Air and many other things that we started to call “experience” now. I took few days off blogging. If you follow my social channels, you noticed my Florida experience. Navigate here to take a look on my Everglades experience as well as mobile photo stream experience with kids. During this vacation break, I continued my experiments with two photographic experiences – iPhone and Canon EOS. I made it first couple of months ago during my Israel trip. My initial conclusion about the experience was mostly about the picture quality tradeoff. However, last week, most of my experiments were about expanding experience scope to the overall process of photo capturing, processing and sharing. Here is my conclusion in a single word – connected. Canon experience was mostly disconnected. At the same, iPhone experience was connected and social. Speaking in business terms, I had low cost and fast ROI with iPhone solution – decent quality pictures were uploaded and shared almost in real time. Most of my Canon EOS pictures are still somewhere between flash cards and computer discs.

I want to switch to PLM now. Nowadays, PLM vendors are also thinking about Experience. You can think about the experience like a fashion. To check about fashion you go to Paris. Maybe it is just a coincidence, but Dassault Systemes was the first PLM company officially re-branded their PLM into 3DExperience. Coming late after all CAD/PLM bloggers already posted about DS 3DExperience, I made my first check with blog posts. Deelip posted What Exactly is 3DEXPERIENCE? couple of days ago. Here is my favorite passage from his post:

Simply put, 3DEXPERIENCE is the term that Dassault Systemes is using to describe the tools and infrastructure that it offers its customers to help differentiate themselves and their products/services from their competition. Basically, Dassault Systemes is offering their customers ways to offer their customers downstream a better experience while using their products thereby enhancing the value of their products a great deal. 3DEXPERIENCE is really as simple as that.

Another blog by Jos Voskuil – My take on 3DExperience provides an additional insight how 3DExperience can be explained and compared with PLM. Here is the explanation I captured:

I see the 3DExperience strategy from DS in this light.  The classical scope of PLM tools and practices does not provide a base for the current and future markets. The solution is bigger than tools, it is the focus on the total experience (I could not find another name either). Dassault Systemes new 3DExperiences is understandable as a way to introduce a bigger picture than PLM alone. If every company needs THE EXPERIENCE approach has to be seen. In addition I believe DS still needs to work on more understandable examples where the 3DE approach is a differentiator. For sure there is PLM inside.

PLM and “Other Experience” Observation 

I want to dig a bit in the definition of word “experience”. Navigate to the following link in Merriam-Webster dictionary. Here is one of the definitions – experience is practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in events or in a particular activity. Another link to Wikipedia. Experience as a general concept comprises knowledge of or skill of some thing or some event gained through involvement in or exposure to that thing or event.[1] The history of the word experiencealigns it closely with the concept of experiment. For example, the word experience could be used in a statement like: “I have experience in fishing”.

Here are few examples of “experience” in our everyday consumer life. Google Experience – you type, search, got results in the way of accessing website, weather information, flight status, maps, directions,etc. Mac computer experience – you buy a computer, experience your personal interaction including unpacking, installing, transferring data and and getting everything you need to start your work. iPhone experience – you get your phone combining all important everyday tasks in a mobile way – phone calls, emails, internet access and digital camera. Facebook experience – you register, connect to people and share photos with your friends and family.

I tried to compare my consumer experience examples with the definition of 3DExperience captured from Jos’ blog: 3DExperience – “a way to introduce a bigger picture than PLM alone” or Deelip’s blog – Dassault Systemes is offering their customers ways to offer their customers downstream a better experience while using their products thereby enhancing the value of their products a great deal. None of these definitions gave me something that I can “experience” similar to iPhone, Google, Facebook.

PLM – Agents vs. Users

Here is my hypothesis about PLM experience. I think, in many aspects, overall, PLM has no direct experience with users. PLM, as a business software, sold to companies. In most of the cases, IT and other people responsible for PLM in an organization are taking the decisions based on zillions of factors – functions, cost, usability, openness, etc. However, IT is not making any real activities with PLM software. IT doesn’t design, manage data, exchange information, etc. IT plays a role of “agents” to purchase PLM for a company. At the same time, in most of the cases, real users are disconnected from the process of decision making. In best situations, end users are responsible for evaluating of software during the test drive.

PLM Agents (IT) can clearly speak about “PLM buying experience”. They can speak about PLM business value, ROI, cost. At the same time, IT agents have no clue about what end-users are experiencing when they face actual software.

What is my conclusion? You need to use a device or software to learn the experience. PLM is not different. However, I can see multiple aspects of experience. There is no “single PLM experience”. It is probably good for marketing brochures. You need a different resolution to build a good experience. The experience is good in details. In consumer software, one click can kill you. In business software, you need to differentiate between user experience, business experience, company experience, reseller experience. One size doesn’t fit all. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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  • MirkManEA

    Long time listener, first time caller… I have been one on the side of ‘experience’ for some time now, so I was worried about your post title! I work with a company fairly new to PLM as a practice and very early in their PLM software cycle–access front end, ms-sql back end. When I took over the program about two years ago, a large concern was getting user involvement up and correcting a lot of the cultural/process issues surrounding our system. This is where my (near obsessive) concern for ‘experience’ came into play.

    Consumer software and business software are on a collision course. When more than three quarters of your user-base has a Facebook account and an iOS or Android phone you start running into some very picky “customers”. While Windows 8 is getting panned in the media these days, they are exhibiting the effects of the consumer software pressures existing today. You have to compare your software’s learning curve, ease of use, and favorable draw to Facebook, Google and Apple. Your users (whether consciously or un-) will compare the ‘experience’ of logging in, doing their tasks and activities and collaborating against these giants in the ‘experience’ arena. I heartily agree with your suggestion that we get users involved in selection and implementation sooner. If your software fails to compare and offers a lower quality ‘experience’ than your users have become accustomed to–your PLM performance will suffer.

    I am focusing more on the Merriam Webster’s fifth definition of experience – .

    I think that experience may be the next frontier for further unlocking the organization’s potential through PLM programs. It is also probably the best hope for software differentiation as well. Just look at how many users of one ERP software go with the PLM solution provided by that ERP company to improve the ‘experience’ of integration.

    Again, I can’t say enough that I really like your blog and the information you have here. I just think experience is a big deal!