PLM Content and Facebook Open Graph

Facebook F8 conference this week was a place for some very interesting announcements that, in my view, may have an impact on PLM too. I can recommend you to read a good summary of news introduced by Facebook here. In my view, it presents a very interesting dimension in the future development of Facebook. The question I’m asking – should PLM care? Is there something new presented by Facebook, that can catch a focus of current and future PLM development?

Web Content Creation

Facebook is making next steps in the development of content on the web. FB introducing a new way to build social sites where a site itself converted into meaningful content item able to accumulate links to other elements of web content. It presents another dimension in the way web content can be structured.

Social Graph

The notion of connection between social sites is presented in the Open Graph Protocol. Facebook OGP API will provide a way to browse through dependencies and connection between content elements based on social dimension. This is a very interesting approach in the development of rich metadata about web content.

PLM Content

I see a comparison between the way Facebook is building social web content and PLM content. For the last few years PLM presented a very hardwired way to create structured content. It creates a lot of complexity in user interaction and tools integration. The fundamentals of this content are in the ability to structure product information in various dimensions – design, bill of material, projects, etc. The similarity between Facebook social content and PLM structured content is obvious to me. However, Facebook presented an interesting approach to build it. There are several developments on PLM horizon that can fit such concepts – DS/BlueKiwi, PTC Windchill/SharePoint, Vuuch. It will be interesting to see the future development of these products.

What is my conclusion? Facebook is going to change a way to create the web content. Current PDM/PLM software seems very cumbersome from the standpoint on how to interplay with user on content creations. PLM can learn few lessons about how to create a content in the organization and across the value chain. Some concepts and ideas can be replicated in my view. What is your opinion?

Best, Oleg

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing a digital network platform that manages product data and connects manufacturers and their supply chain networks.



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  • Jan

    Hi Oleg,

    from my point of view facebook is take an interessting approach and it might by the right one. But it’s not absolutly new to me. I used a very similar way to present information and their relationship to each other, e.g. when setting up an project glossary. Have look at the site of tool vendor i know ver y well.

    Best regards

  • Jan, Thank you for your comments and link. I agree, Facebook-like approach can be realized in multiple ways using different technology. Ontological approach you mentioned in one of the possible ways. The user adoption is normally the key question. Best, Oleg

  • The value is not the social graph but rahter how the links get made. In PLM I work with a set of handcuffs and unfortunatly they are not the furry ones. PLM tells me what and how to work, where facebook works bottom up. This idea of bottom up is exactly how work gets done. The truth is you cannot predefine how a product will get developed or how you will route an ECO or release a drawing. Take any 5 people from the same company, put them in a room and ask the ECO process. You get 20 answers all marked with it depends.

    Product development is a bottom up process of discovery and the tools used must respect this.

  • Chris, thanks! I think, the bottom-up is they key. The story of Yahoo vs. Google returns again. The main question is if companies will be able to manage themselves bottom up .Some of my ideas (old ones from almost a year ago) – Can We Build PLM Bottom Up? Best, Oleg

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