Collaboration. Magic and one of the most confusing words. People are using it in so many contexts that it became meaningless. One of the main trends that was dominant for the last few years was social collaboration. Social networks and social tools went mainstream and it impacted the way business applications and tools think about collaboration. I outlined it few years ago in my post – PLM Collaboration Social Trends and Lotus Notes Memories.
To bring the experience and techniques of social tools in business domain became one of the trends in many application and system developments. I can bring you multiple examples of systems that were created for the last 2-3 years to implement social collaboration – Salesforce Chatter, SAP StreamWork, Oracle WebCenter Social, Autodesk Qontext and many others. Social Applications are coming to design tools as well. Navigate your browser to one of my previous posts – From Design Collaboration to CAD Social Tools to read more.
At the same time, new trends are coming. Have you heard about OTT messages buzzword? OTT term was originally used to define the over the top content that you can stream by passing multiple operators. In the context of mobile messages, it used to define messaging application running on mobile phone, but bypassing regular SMS/Text messages. Techcrunch article – The Future Of Mobile-Social Could Spell The End For Social Networks speaks about trends around OTT messaging applications and social networks. The following picture is showing clear trends towards OTT messaging application to capturing the conversation.
Another interesting viewpoint – migration from social platform and networks to point messaging applications running on top of mobile devices. Here is an interesting passage:
The ground has been set for a fascinating next few years as the web-based social platforms seek to own mobile-social messaging and the mobile messaging apps seek to extend into more fully integrated social features. As of this moment the mobile-first apps have the lead measured by number of users and levels of engagement. To keep it they will need to continue to innovate. The human race is already social, and the smartphone has everything needed to enable them to act on their social needs. As the growth of OTT messaging and media sharing shows, a user’s social needs are being met with no need for a social network. In this mobile-social world the only question is, whose software will we all use to enable human social activities?
You may ask me – what is between OTT and PLM? Here is the thing. PLM adoption in organizations is a hard topic. How to make customers using PLM applications beyond engineering (the core domain where PLM is originated in many situations)? One of the possible ways is to come with ad-hoc OTT mobile application allowing to downstream users to get access to data in PLM system for decision making or other workflows.
What is my conclusion? OTT messaging is a new behavior we discover for the last 2-3 years. People are experiencing it in their personal life. In the past, PDM/PLM used File Explorer and MS Outlook user experience to drive user adoption. Similar to that, PLM applications can use the familiarity of people with OTT mobile applications to help driving PLM downstream adoption. Just my thoughts…
Searching for information is a tricky thing. Search may sounds as a simple operation, but in fact, it is translated to a complex computational, information and organizational task. Search isn’t a new problem. Lots of work was done in this domain for the last 20 years. Google clearly changed a consumer perception about internet search. Google “lady Gaga” and in less than a second you will have all relevant internet information about Lady Gaga.
However, searching inside of corporate data is different. What works for “lady Gaga” type of search, doesn’t work for MPR-345000 type of search for product information, part numbers, documents in SharePoints, emails, intranet sites and other enterprise data sources. It is complicated and daunting task. Sometimes, it even goes beyond of what is most important – it is about where to search. During my previous work at Inforbix, I found customers are usually very confused about searching information. They think about search as an easy and complicated thing at the same time and usually blame IT for not bringing a right solution to solve the problem of search.
I’ve been looking on materials coming from Enterprise Search Europe 2013 conference earlier this week. looking on Enterprise Search and Findability Survey 2013 published by FINDWISE and presented by Kristian Norling few weeks ago. The following two slides caught my special attention. It speaks about what are the obstacles to find the right information. Take a look on the following statistics:
According to the research, there are top 5 obstacles – we do wrong tagging, we don’t know where to search, tools are not perfect as well as tagging made by tools. The last one is even more interesting – we don’t know what to look for.
What is my conclusion? Information search is a complicated, but fascinating topic. For the last few years CAD and PLM vendors started to put more emphasis in order to improve their way to search and actually find the information. However, solving the problem of a single tool is still not enough. Even if company has PLM/PDM system in place, the information usually located in disparate sources. As we learn from the research, the problem is going much beyond searching for a specific set of keywords – data sources are not defined and how to search for right data is not clear as well. Just my thoughts…
Process management is an important elements of PLM implementations. PLM systems usually offer a variety of solutions for process management – from simple message routing to complex workflow management systems. However, regardless of process and workflow complexity, all customers are interested how to integrate processes and workflows with their email system.
Email is fascinating topic, in my view. Many companies are still literally run by emails. The fight over the email is one that usually happen when enterprise system is implemented in a company. Usually companies recogniz the problem of email communication and even try to implement Zero Email Policy. However, the typical end of this fight is to integrate their enterprise system with with email solution.
Earlier this morning, I’ve been skimming Google I/O news stream from the last week. One of them resonated with the idea of PLM workflows and email integration – Google makes email more interactive with customizable Gmail action buttons. The original gmail blog article is here. Take few minutes of your weekend time and have a read. Here is the passage that explains what this feature does:
New quick action buttons in Gmail, designed to help you tackle your digital to-do’s as quickly as possible. These buttons appear next to certain types of messages in your inbox and let you take action on an email without ever having to open it. For example, you can RSVP to your friend’s party invitation or rate that restaurant you went to last night all right from the inbox. You’ll be checking things off that to-do list in no time.
Here is an image showing the appearance of customized action buttons.
I found this Gmail update very cool. What makes me specially excited about this feature is the fact Google implemented it using schema.org actions. Schema.org is a collection of schemas (ontologies) that can be used to describe actions. For example, here is a definition of RSVP action. As you can see, you can make it completely customizable for your application.
What is my conclusion? Few weeks ago, I attended an interesting session EOL 4 Email at COFES 2013 in Arizona. One of the topic during that discussion was about future of email as integrated messaging system. I think actionable extension of email is a perfect example of how you can design your future PLM implementation and system to manage processes and keep you in the loop of your email. Ask your PLM vendor or service provider if your system can be extended that way. Important. Just my thoughts…
Image courtesy of TechCrunch article.