How To Facebook PLM?

Continue the theme of disruption, I’d like to bring a new topic to discuss – Facebook. Actually, I discovered that Facebook was missed from the radar of Jim Browns alert about disruption. At the same time, I had chance to read a review about the new Facebook project called Titan – a full scope web mail.  So, I decided to bring Facebook’s topic up in the context of possible PLM disruption.

I’d like to identify three areas of PLM where Facebook concepts, technologies or applications that are crossing existing PLM capabilities – Content, Messaging and Social Collaboration. Let me talk about them separately.

For each PDM/PLM system, this is a big question. During the product development lifecycle, we operate with a huge amount of content. Requirements, Design, Bill of Materials – this is the only small slice of all possible PLM scope. Current apps has grown into the huge level of complexity by presenting this content to the users. Sometime, you need weeks and training to understand to understand what actually you can see. On the Facebook side, I see a very interesting approach to present web pages with rich content. In Facebook, it comes from different users. The same may happen in PLM. Web pages with rich content can become the next user interface (or how modern lingo call it – user experience or UX). In my view, Facebook’s UX is good enough to be imitated by PLM vendors.

Guess what? The numebr one app in the enterprise (and in PLM too) is an email. We cannot live without email these days. Everything, in the end, passed by email. Even if we are creating messaging systems for the enterprise, the fundamental requirement is to support information delivery via email. The bad side of the email solution is that it is not good to deliver rich PLM content. Btw, when I was looking on Facebook Titan Project, I’ve seen the same problem as a target for Titan. Most of the email solutions today, prevents us from delivery any content except of plan text. There is no 3D, Media and any other visualization techs. I’d expect from Facbook wizards to create email with Facebook’s face :)… This is sort of mix-up between rich Facebook content pages and slim email messages.

Social Collaboration
Finally, we are coming to the social topic. Facebook gathered huge experience in social communication. This behavior already was imitated and promoted in many other solutions (from Microsoft SharePoint to Salesforce’s Chatter). However, I do believe Social collaboration becomes an important mechanism that changes a communication pattern in the organization and between partner’s organizations. Some of these ideas already proliferated in new development (i.e. Vuuch, BlueKiwi) or integration and bundles (i.e. PTC Product Point).

So, what is my conclusion today? Facebook may have a significant influential power on products in the domain of PDM/PLM. Is it something in Facebook that can be used in PLM domain as is? No, I don’t see it that way. However, I’d expect lots of imitations. And this is a very good and interesting innovation strategy!

Just my thoughts…
Best, Oleg



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