PLM Gaps and Social Software Liquid

I’m getting back to my thoughts related to Social Software and Product Lifecycle Management. Jim Brown defined the role of Social Software as an intelligent network for PLM in his last post. It turns me back to one of my previous posts-  PLM and Social Tool: The Odd Couple. I’ve seen the potential entrance of social tools into PLM space as something that can disrupt PLM and change status-quo of current products. In my view, there are three fundamental gaps in PLM that need to be fixed (not filled) by Social software.

This one was mentioned by Jim in his post. Integration is long time PLM gaps and problem. Vendors gave up and move this problem to partners, service providers and customers. It is nice to think, Social Software will magically solve this problem. However, I don’t think it will happen. Integration in PLM related to the wrong technological assumptions and implies lots of manual procedures and hand-wiring to make it work.

This one is extremely important to make PLM and Social working together. Currently, PLM tools see openness as “another API call” or “export/import” function. In my view, it should be more. I’d bring self-descriptiveness as the most important change in PLM openness state of mind. PLM need to make data discoverable in the same way, web is doing it today.

Cost of Change
Last, but not least. The biggest problem with all PLM software these days is a huge cost of change required to make any modification with PLM implementation. It won’t work well and prevent integration with social tools. This problem needs to be fixed.

So, what is my conclusion today? Will Social Software fill gaps in Product Lifecycle Management? I think, this is a challenging question. PLM vendors are trying to apply Social software principles and ideas to come with new products and technologies in this space. I think PLM need to fix gaps and don’t fill it with Social Liquid. Social tools are not universal fixing solution for enterprise software like ERP, PLM or CRM. I don’t see social tools as “yet another communication protocol”. Social tools can take a role of next collaborative technologies for enterprise and change this world. I’m thinking about the path – Collaborative PDM, Collaborative Business Processes in PLM and finally Social Collaboration. There is certain potential here and it will be interesting to watch the development of this in the next couple of years.

Just my thoughts…
Best, Oleg



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  • Paul


    you mention the cost of change of PLM systems. I suppose given my background in A&D this is actually a good thing as you don’t want the system that manages your configuration data, itself being reconfigured too easily in case it corrupts what it’s supposed to look after.

    I do think the vendors need to make the appearance/operation of the system far easier to tailor though as improving ease of use and linking things together can massively improve efficiency without compromising quality and integrity.

  • Paul, Thanks for your insight! It is definitely true and you don’t want a system to corrupt data. However, my point with cost of change is related to how you can change a system in case you have changes in your business requirements. This type of change is normally not easy, requires consultancy and in the end cost $$$. Doesn’t make sense? What your view on this? Best, Oleg