How to make people to work more efficiently? I think this is an important question. This is a challenge for every product development organization. You have a team of people working on a specific project (or projects). How you can get things done in this team?
For a long period of time, the ultimate answer on this question was – you need a collaborative software. What is that? In my view, collaborative software is the most vague terms that possible can be applied to a computer system. Just as an exercise, I tried to find an answer about what is collaborative software in Wikipedia. The root article – Collaborative Software, provides lots of information about possible collaborative software, collaborative management tools, collaborative project management, etc. In addition, it points on three separate categories: collaborative working environment, collaborative working systemsand computer supported cooperative work. I don’t know how about you, but I found myself lost in these definitions. My best definition of collaborative software is following – a computer system that helps to people working together.
Web 2.0 and “New Socials”
Last decade of internet software created a new hype of “new social” tools. Also known as Web 2.0, these tools provide a better way to work together in the internet. Messengers, Wiki, Blogs, Chats, Forums, and lately social networks created a new conglomerate of applications widely adopted by Digital Natives (Gen-Y) and proliferating fast into groups of “digital emigrants”.
Social Aided Product Development
I had a chance to read a blog article – Social Media Aided CAD by SolidWorks Legion. One of the topics, Matthew Lorono is discussing related to a newest Social Product Development tool coming out of PTC. The following video represents a promotional video showing how various “social features” used during the design process. Some of them seems to me interesting – the concept of wiki page for CAD model, “facebook-like” pages and collaborative workspaces for task management. PTC is leveraging Microsoft SharePoint infrastructure platform to develop this functionality. Broad adoption of SharePoint as well as marketing power of Microsoft can create a momentum for wide adoption of social product development tools from PTC. Take a look on the following video below and make your opinion.]
Another company that, in my view, belongs to “new socials” is Vuuch. Chris Williams explained me how you can “vuuch different things” – CAD models, products, Bill of Materials and other things in your product development environment to help people working together. In my view, the good translation of Vuuch is “stitching together”. Some of the ideas presented by Vuuch seems to me very powerful – ability to link people with their deliveries, contextual activity presentations. I see these small things as important differentiation factors in your decision to use this tool. In the following video, you can see how Vuuch can be used in design together with SolidWorks.
So, what is my conclusion? Engineers are not a simplest category of people. To create tools for engineers is a very tough job. To make them happy is a challenging task. “New socials” is new kind of tools that use power of “social connections” to help people working together. In my view, PTC is more focusing on leveraging SharePoint platform. At the same time, Vuuch is more dedicated to a new concept of “social links” and precise feature’s definitions. Both companies are trying to make engineers more productive during a design time. Just my thoughts…
Freebie. PTC and Vuuch didn’t pay me to write this post. However, I paid for my salad during the talk with Chris Williams.