I think I will not surprise you with the statement: “the biggest market share in PDM/PLM belongs to Microsoft Excel”. If you disagree, please let me know. So, I wanted to share some thoughts about why I think that Excel is beneficial for PLM…
Below are the top five reasons why I prefer working in Excel to manage my product data and product lifecycle:
- Simple. Simple means simple. The idea is simple – one big table. You don’t need training. You can start right now. You realize that “simple is not as simple as you think” as your spreadsheet grows – but until you get there, you are a happy user :).
- Flexible. To plan how to manage product data and lifecycle in your organization, you need to spend time and effort. But if your tools are on a white board and flexible to the level of “one size fit all”, you can start right now. The flexibility of Excel allows you to grow as you go. You don’t need to have models – just put your data and search it afterwards.
- Absorb any type of data. Often I’d like to be able to introduce a new type of data. MS Excel is there to help you with this. You can easily create a new workbook, worksheet, add columns, delete columns, etc. The beauty of a spreadsheet is that it is all-inclusive J… when you think about vendor-related stuff…
- I physically own it. This is true. If you have xls(x) files, you don’t need to be concerned with how to save, copy, and transfer your data. The feeling of ownership of your work is very important and people appreciate it.
- Transferable. This is comes with files. I can send them to anybody. I can control how the files are saved and maintained. So, I can transfer them inside and outside of the organization to facilitate collaboration.
…and one more –
- SharePoint friendly. My story nowadays is not complete without saying a few words about working together with Office files and SharePoint. SharePoint provides a new way to manage Office (Excel) files – Excel services and almost transparent conversion between SharePoint lists and Excels. Office Excel files and data are well organized and the content is easy to find.
What is my conclusion?
The bottom line is that Excel spreadsheets have a lot of value in the context of what we are doing in PDM/PLM. But they are failing miserably and this is what is my next blog is about. Just my thoughts…
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing a digital network-based platform that manages product data and connects manufacturers and their supply chain networks. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.