IBM+Twitter: Social PLM requirement management?

IBM+Twitter: Social PLM requirement management?


To add “social” to PLM is not a simple task. I shared some of my thoughts about it here few days ago. Part of the problem – clear value proposition. To find a single social function is a key thing that can help PLM vendor to provide. Do you think requirement management can be one? Traditional requirement management is set of excel spreadsheets and word documents. More sophisticated companies can use requirement management tools integrated with PLM software. How to link requirement management and social networks?

Fortune article – Why IBM and Twitter did a data analytics deal speaks about potential that hidden in social data. Pay attention to the following passage:

Twitter is ultimately the most important archive of human thought that has ever existed. It really does represent the voice of the planet. The question I would pose to business leaders is, if you were thinking of a particular business decision, would you want the world to weigh in? An example on a more macro scale would be: You manufacture computers. Your big challenge is figuring out what to make and how much to make of it. For the former, you can figure out what people are talking about that they most value and what the weaknesses are in a competing product. You can also talk about what you’re building and get a reaction from consumers.

It sounds like IBM analytic tools applied to an archive of human thoughts can produce an interesting result for any manufacturer. It made me think about potential to use it for social requirement management. The usage can be from finding innovative idea to better prioritization of features.

What is my conclusion? Social technologies are looking for clear value proposition in product lifecycle management. I found the idea of social data analytics combined with structured requirement management functions interesting. To prioritize requirements, crowdsource ideas or provide a feedback to product management about future product feature from online source of social information can be pretty neat feature with an interesting ROI. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

photo credit: Creative Tools via photopin cc


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  • norsjo

    (disclaimer – I work for IBM).
    Collaboration, Social, Cloud and Analytics are four of the current Enterprise IT trends that all analysts and SI’s are pushing at the moment, works great in transforming many industries and use cases. For PLM and the work of designers and engineers the “Social” one has been the hardest to place. Some of the great jokes on the web around engineers suggest they are mutually exclusive concepts ;-). However the example here is one of many cases we will see where it becomes easier, and cheaper, to get new requirements or early product feedback from an enormous group as well as an enormous data source. As your discussions with Jim Brown go you may not design products on Facebook but you can already find our what people want or think on Twitter.

  • beyondplm

    Norsjo, thanks for your comment! I like the way you phrase it – “people want to think on Twitter”. You are right- social features are getting slow adoption by engineers. I guess (despite all jokes) the main problem is absence of clear value proposition.

  • jimmckin333

    Generally speaking, older engineers do not “get it” when it comes to social tools. They do not understand how they are used, and they do not use them. However, younger engineers do “get it” and they want to push for these tools to be used. I think it is only a matter of time before these older roadblocks retire and younger engineers start to use social tools in engineering. This is true for industrial companies, and for PLM solution providers as well. Time will tell…

  • beyondplm

    You are right. This is just a matter of time. Young generation of engineers is much more in favor of new tools – social included.

  • Twitter the most important archive of human thought? Really? Maybe if you subscribe solely to the TLDR camp but I would argue that the most important truly egalitarian archive of human thought is the sum total of all email in the world – which of course is stored in a variety of disconnected silos, deleted off hard drives, and behind corporate firewalls.

    Using social analytics to drive requirements is an interesting thought – especially because people are really, really REALLY terrible at writing or assigning appropriate priority to requirements. But synthesizing trends in chatter into concrete decision drivers is no doubt easier said than done.

  • beyondplm

    Ed, going to capture a content of all emails is a good desire. I guess, Google can be on track with that when Gmail client enables non google account.

    Agree on requirement capture -people are terrible and there is no good solution for that IMO.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!