Enterprise 2.0 Checklist for PLM

I want to discuss Enterprise 2.0. This term started to be popular during the last two-three years and stands for technologies and best practices around so called “social software”,  according to the main mature components such as wiki and blogs. In my view, although the functional definition of Enterprise 2.0 is still very fuzzy, the need for Enterprise 2.0 type of software is emerging and growing fast. Lately, we’ver heard many messages from Product Lifecycle Management software providers about the importance of social software for PLM. I’m sure you had a chance to see “Social Innovation” or “Social Product Development” initiatives presented by leading PLM vendors during this year.

So, with such an introduction,  I wanted to start a discussion about Enterprise 2.0 and PLM paths. Are these co-directed? Can Product Lifecycle Management leverage Enterprise 2.0 or vice versa?

I also had a chance to read Wikipedia’s definition of <Enterprise 2.0> and also was reading The State of Enterprise 2.0 by Dion Hinchcliff. I wanted to start with a checklist of what exists in Enterprise 2.0 and compare it with how we perceive Product Lifecycle Management within this definition.

In the very early view and definition of Enterprise 2.0 according to Andrew McAfee, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School, Enterprise 2.0 elements are defined as a SLATES model. So, let’s take a look at every element of this definition. Actually, I found it very interesting from the practical standpoint of Product Lifecycle Management.

Search – I think that the definition of search in the enterprise lacks maturity at the present. Enterprise Search vendors are focusing on document search and information discovery in the Enterprise. At the same time, <Search> has become a very important function in everyday life and many of our daily activities has changed as a result of the “search revolution”. Product Lifecycle Management is doing a lot of things that require an improved way of managing data about products ─ being able to find this data is one of the most important functions.

Links – URI and URL are two fundamental things allowing connections of information in a Web-enabled enterprise. PLM manages a lot of “connected” things such as product definitions, relevant documents etc. PLM can reuse a lot from models that have already been developed and will be developed in the future for Enterprise 2.0.

Authorship – Enterprise 2.0 has changed the way people perceive their roles with regards to creating and using information. In PLM, the function of creating (or designing) was belonging many years to Development/R&D/Engineering. These days Enterprise 2.0 is changing it and introduces new way to involve people to create product and services. This is will be very important for the future.

Tags – This is something that is very usable and provides an open and simple for people. For years, PLM has been classifying things mostly in a taxonomical way. I had a chance to write about tagging before and I think that the role of Tags in the future model of PLM will be increased.

Extensions – I see extensions as a natural way to grow. I think that the application of extension methods can allow us to gain a better understanding of product development and the customer environment. We can find a way to reuse these patterns to develop new products and services.

Signals – I think people need to be able to interact ─ within Product Development, in the Supply Chain, in the customer’s ecosystem. Adoption of “signals” can provide PLM with the ability to interact in a new way.

So, time will tell how the Enterprise 2.0 model will be developed in the near future, and how new software products will be developed and even change this model. It’s clear that many of Enterprise 2.0 characteristics were created as result of a major dissatisfaction with the current state of enterprise software.  Enterprise 2.0 needed a change that would adopt new methods of working and have an impact on the environment.

I’m very interested to know your opinion and views on this topic and am looking forward to discussing this in my next posts.


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