Visual WIKI – is it next step in collaborative product development?

I’d like to come to raise the idea of visual WIKI. This is a possible way to make PLM more collaborative and more adaptable for users’ needs. In today’s world, PLM companies are struggling about how to deliver PLM implementation quickly and at a low cost. The traditional way – providing out-of-the-box has brought some success over the past few years. It has allowed customers who agree about the common business practice of PLM deployment to benefit from this out-of-the-box deployment. At the same time, I think the problem still remains. Although many customers are ready to start with out-of-the-box, they have additional requirements that are hard to recognize before implementation. Also, these requirements might be very unique and require customization. Normally, these customizations are done by service providers or implemented by customers.

 Getting back to the “visual wiki” idea: The core of the wiki idea is to provide technology that will make a collection of Web pages be able to have multiple participants co-edit its content. Wiki developed the WYSIWYG concept for interactive content editing. I really like it in context of Product Lifecycle Management. PLM products can allow users to create structured Wiki pages using the content of the products they are developing. In addition, we can intensively use 3D content on these pages with various lightweight 3D format representations – 3D PDF, 3DXML, JT Open, etc.

 The next powerful capability we can create is tracking and controlling changes. Since Wiki is shared content with controlled user access, we can allow particular users to create content (i.e. designers and engineers) and allow others authorization to review only. Also, since a Wiki page can aggregate content about products during their development, this page can be used to track the development maturity used by potential customers to review product capabilities, and also centralize information about potential customer claims and support requests.

 To sum up: I see Wiki as a powerful content aggregation tool  allowing collaborative access by multiple users from organizations involved in product development , and consumers as well. Wiki can also develop consumer communities around this content. There are many Wiki software options available. I will say that most of these products and technologies can be reused for PLM products. The ability wiki to adapt content to a specific customer’s need will resolve heavy customization issues in current out-of-the-box software offering.



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