Next PLM Challenge: To Connect Process and Communities

Social is growing. During the past two years, we had seen many new topics introduced by social computing – social networks, communication, collaboration. A bunch of product were previewed, released… and already failed in this space. Enterprise 2.0 is growing as a separate and very interesting industry. The most visible social computing related movements in Product Lifecycle Management are DS Social Innovation and PTC’s Social Product Development – both pushing the power of social-network-like elements into PLM mainstream. I tried to analyze potential challenges in various aspects related to adopting of social software in Product Lifecycle Management and would like to share my thoughts and conclusions.

1. Organizational Social Network. With increased potential of social software, various communities of people will be established in the organization. They exist today. However, no software that can present it and support their activities. Transformed from various forums, portals, IM, wikis and other forms, these community building tools will play a role of “facebook of enterprise organization”.

2. Social Network interaction with Organizational Processes. Growing community activities in the organization will continue to take power of interaction between the people and. Therefore, questions of how business and organizational processes will be integrated into this communication will be raised very loud and very soon, in my view.

3. Community and Business Process co-existence. Ability to balance between well-defined development, engineering and other business processes compared to social intercommunication will become very important. Cannibalizing of each of them – communities or processes, can be very painful for organizations.

So, what is my conclusion today? Social networking in various appearances will be growing in enterprise and manufacturing organizations.They will become visible on different levels. The biggest potential mistake is to see them replacing “organizational business processes”. However, failing to establish a successful process management system (especially in development, engineering and manufacturing organization) can emphasize the role of social networks as a potential major process driver in an organization. To make it successful PLM needs to have a goal to connect organizational business processes with social networks. So, community-based interaction will be directed to replace business process management.

Just my thoughts. I will be looking forward to your comments.
Best, Oleg


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