How PLM can re-use SharePoint Social Network Capabilities?

How can we improve user adoption of PLM in the organization? What technologies can we use?? How can we reuse what we already have? I’ve found that many companies are using Microsoft SharePoint. It’s interesting that although SharePoint provides a lot of capabilities, not all of them are used by organizations. When capabilities, such document and content management are widely used, capabilities relating to organizations and supporting social networking are really undervalued. I think that these social networking capabilities can be adopted and merged with PLM/PDM system capabilities that are already available. These will create significant additional value and will let you distribute product related content (i.e. product design, specification etc.) in the organization.

 So, how can we make this happen? The following SharePoint components allow you to create social environment:

User profile

These are foundational components that collect and store information about user in SharePoint. The information is collected from multiple sources such as Active Directory, Human Resource Information System, and Business Data Catalog of external systems. SharePoint allows you to aggregate all these multiple sources in a single representation of the user profile;

My sites

Individual sites are created for each user profile. My Site is a view for a user profile containing personal and public information, as well as an aggregated view of all related information – content libraries, lists etc. My Sites allows to user to present information about their role in the organization.

Colleague web part

Colleague web parts let you present your mined and sorted colleagues to visitors by a colleague list. These colleague lists are compiled to represent organizational structure and people relations in the organization.

Colleague tracker web part

The colleague tracker web part allows a member of the organization to view privately his or her list of compiled content. For example, users can modify the colleague tracker to present their list in context of the products for which they are responsible to develop in context of other roles in the organization.

SharePoint sites, links and membership web parts

These web parts let users view their own SharePoint site, group and mailing list memberships and links.

In common Web Part

This provides a summary of information relating to membership, organizational managers and colleagues that visitors have in common with the owner of My Site.

The following standard tools in SharePoint can be used to discover and search for the appropriate people with whom to collaborate:

People search

This is a standard web part for discovering people profiles by using user profile attributes.

People search by user profile

Search capabilities are based automatically on the same properties of the user profile. For example, individuals with specific skills can find people with the same skills in the organization based on their user profile information.

So, now, when we establish a social environment the purpose of PLM here is to work to provide content and/or information that can be accessible by people in the organization. There are a lot of ways to do this:

 Publishing document libraries

Generate documents and put them into SharePoint libraries. This can be done automatically and/or manually.

Using excel services and reports

This is similar to document libraries, but uses MS Excel-based content

Using business data catalog services

This is a more complicated way of accessing as it requires programming and developing of the access data from the external system.

So, SharePoint provides a set of social tools to organize your communities in the organization. By linking these social communities and PLM content, you can deliver product information to the appropriate people in the organization. In many cases you can leverage existing PDM/PLM products MS SharePoint. 



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