PLM Usability and Social News Aggregators

Yesterday discussion about PLM usability made me think more about how to come with ideas to improve usability of PLM systems. I wanted to come to something different than just claiming "yet another system that provides a different level of usability". Such a type of messages is often failing when a customer actually started to work with a system. Polished user interface looks great. However, when a user drill down to nuts and bolts, appears as another lipstick on a pig.

Thinking about usability I found a very interesting trend in news reading applications. Do you remember old teletext systems? Ha… their time is over. News is a special space. We are all reading news. They are coming from multiple places. Few years ago, we had a single source of news – emails. Subscription on emails was a simple space to be informed. Google alert service didn’t change much in this mechanism, since alerts still can be delivered as emails. However, social media revolution changed a lot in the news industry. These days, a significant portion of news is coming from alternative sources – social networks, microblogging, video, etc. I found few interesting applications that representing a new class of news aggregators.


This iPad application aggregate news coming from multiple channels as well as you twitter and Facebook accounts. What I specially like in this application is the ability to visualize hidden resources such as video and pictures links. Normally, social net stream on twitter and other social networks is very boring. You need to follow links to get to a picture or video. Flipboard changed this behavior. Now you can see it. Now, imagine you Bill of Material discover becomes as simple and natural as reading social news streams in Flipboard.


Pulse News

Another news aggregator – Pulse provide multi-dimensional stream scrolling. What I like in this app is the ability to visualzie structured streams of information. This can be an interesting experience for reviewing of information normally presented in PDM and PLM systems as boring streams.


What is my conclusion? The bad old days of enterprise software are over. Consumer apps are bringing a new and different way to consume information. Gen-Y is coming to enterprise organization and have these new behaviors in their mind. Do we still want to see boring Bill of Materials’ sheets and endless structured trees? Nope. It seems to me time for change is coming. Bill of Material in PLM systems looks like old teletext. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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