Social PLM and Mobile Dribbling

Social PLM and Mobile Dribbling

Once “social” was a hot topic for PLM developer and analysts. In my view, the hype went down. Ask PLM people about social applications and be prepared for very neutral response. I asked myself – why so? Social applications can improve the way people communicate and should bring value. Nevertheless, social revolution in PLM is kinda “postponed”. You might be interested – will social apps back, when and how?

My attention was caught by WSJ.D article – Data Point: Social Networking Is Moving on From the Desktop. These numbers made me think about potential benefits  between “social” and “mobile” in PLM.


Similar to social apps, the popularity of mobile PLM application is not skyrocketing too. Once excited about the ability to run “everything from iPad”, users got back to their desktops, CAD workstations, BOM Excels and browser applications.  Did PLM vendors miss the point of mobile? I asked about that two years ago here. The confusion between “mobile web” and “native app” is probably only part of the problem. When world is going to be even more distributed than today, the efficiency of mobile PLM applications and intuitiveness of how mobile app can present the data becomes absolutely critical. However, mobile app will be used only if it is easier and brings additional value. The best example is taking picture during the presentation and sharing it via Twitters and/or Facebook.

Now I want to get back to social PLM option. I just read about new feature – you can tweet to Amazon to put a specific article or item in your shopping cart. Navigate here to read more. There is nothing very special here. It is all about efficiency. Imagine you found something you want to buy at the time you browse your twitter stream in the morning. To stay in the same environment and put an article to the Amazon shopping cart is all about efficiency. So, here is my guess. Social PLM can reinvent itself via mobile option.

What is my conclusion? The efficient interaction is very important when out of the office and not connected to your well-organized desktop. So, specially designed “social PLM” function can be very demanded on mobile devices. However, the fine tuning of functionality and mobile experience is a key. Efficient user interaction combined together with valuable scenario. This is a key for mobile PLM and social PLM to be successful. Without these two elements, customers will keep walking from social and mobile links to desktop. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

photo source – WSJ-D article


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  • Hi Oleg, I have done some writing and speaking in this regard. In my opinion, most of the product development part of the lifecycle is struggling to find use cases that add a lot of value. Yes, being able to participate in workflow processes while remote is valuable, but not that differentiated from what you could do it you pulled out your PC. I have seen more value in the downstream part of the lifecycle, after products have been deployed. Field service is one such example. Tracking as-maintained BOM as always been a huge issue, one that can be well addressed with mobile.


  • beyondplm

    Stan, thanks for your comment! I can see your point- downstream sounds like important. Can you bring examples of companies that did apps to deliver downstream product information via mobile?

  • AVEVA does this in the AEC space. IBM does work with a lot of people; a quick Google search shows who. This is core to PTCs plans in the service lifecycle management (SLM) space, and many of Servigistics competitors are doing work here.

  • beyondplm

    Thanks! It sounds like SLM is another (new?) name for what before called MRO?

  • MRO is part of it. We are working on a market overview report which will include a complete segmentation for how we define SLM. Stay tuned…

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