PLM, Microblogging and Communication

PLM, Microblogging and Communication

Communication is a vital part of everything we do. How do we communicate these days? Email is one of the most popular ways to communicate. Recently talking to many people I found that many young people these days have no email account. So, what is the next way to communicate? Social networks and microblogging software (like twitter) is a new way. However, manufacturing companies are still run by email systems. What will happen to these systems in a near future? What transformation required to make it more efficient?

I read CMS Wire article – IBM Says Merge Your Email into Activity Stream. IBM is under going transformation of their Lotus system to make it more efficient. Ed Brill, Director Messaging and Collaboration IBM Lotus Software is talking about future transformations into Activity Streams. No surprise these days, IBM is using “App” concept to present a new way to transform communication. Here is my favorite passage:

…But IBM doesn’t think we should live in our collaboration tools. The activity stream will be the app Brill told us — on the desktop, on the mobile, in the browser. Imagine getting up in the morning, opening Activity Stream app on the mobile and seeing what’s important to do that day/right now…

IBM roadmap is talking about big mix of tools coming out of Lotus and even Cognos to create meaningful information streams. IBM research team is working on this. IBM is not mentioned dates.

Now I want to turn from “research” space to the software that available today and can be used inside of the organization. Rawn Shah Forbes blog article – Corporate Microblogging Helps Employees Migrate Work Conversation Online. There are two examples of software mentioned in the article – Yammer and Socialcast. Both are microblogging platform for enterprise. When started few years ago, Yammer presented as Twitter for enterprise. I found quite many people in my eco-system mentioned that their companies are implementing Yammer and successfully use it for communication.

Enterprise microblogging systems have a different and significant role in conducting business than what you may find in public systems like Facebook or Twitter. They provide insight to what is actually going on within the company, and allow employees to breakthrough the often thick glass walls of organizational silos. They are going to be a vital component of social business. By starting with simple conversations they help employees transition to conversations in an online mode, beyond phone calls and face to face meetings, lifting the whole organization to new levels of social business maturity.

Information Streams

The biggest criticism I’ve heard about social communication is related to the definition of “noise”. Do you really want “everybody following everybody” noise coming to you via new social tools? No, I don’t think so. However, the problem of email nowadays is exactly the same. Email is a single overloaded stream of information. Opposite to Facebook and Twitter, we consider everything in our email box need to be read. This is a source of so called “email overload”. The new way to handle communication is to use “information streams”. I have them in my twitter account as “lists”. Similar organization can be applied to other communication tools. Yammer has three possible way to group communication between people – networks, groups and community.

PLM and Microblogging

The term “collaboration” is one of probably most confusing. PDM and PLM vendors presented multiple concepts and products that supposed to help people to collaborate. None of them was able to shift the way people communicate and email was king of the road all the time. Microblogging tools may create a new way to communicate also inside organizations. Is it possible to use the same tools like Yammer to communicate between people in product development organization? I think positive about that option. One of the key elements to succeed in this transformation is to connect information to this communication. This is a tricky part of this transformation game.

What is my conclusion? The internet and mobile tools created new ways to communicate. Tools like Yammer and Sociacast can transform communication paradigms. Manufacturing organizations and product development can use these tools to make communication easier. PLM tools will integrate towards mainstream communication platforms to leverage the power of microblogging and social networking.

Just my thoughts.
Best, Oleg


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