I’m following SharePoint and PLM. One of point of my interest was to analyze how Microsoft SharePoint can be used in PDM/PLM as a technological platform and business driver. Going back in 2009, I posted SharePoint PLM Paradox?. The potential of SharePoint was promising. The potential realization of this business opportunity for PLM companies was interesting.
SharePoint: Shifting Gears
I was watching SharePoint development for the last few years. I’ve seen the highest level of excitement related to SharePoint 2007. Technology was okay. SharePoint huge success came from free distribution of WSS (Windows SharePoint Services). I’ve seen many companies jumping onto SharePoint opportunity to solve their problems in collaboration, files sharing and portal solution. Coming to 2010-2011, I heard a different perception with regards to SharePoint. I posted – PLM SharePoint: Silver Bullet of Fierce Criticism? The most visible piece of the conclusion was related to heavy dependencies of SharePoint development projects on consulting and services during the deployment and operation.
What is the point of Windchill Product Point?
Few days I discovered the following note in Pro-Engineer forum related to PTC and ProductPoint. Navigate your browser to this link. It was available at the time I wrote this post. According to the information on this forum and PTC ProductPoint Retirement FAQ – PTC is retiring Windchill ProductPoint and providing current customers with the opportunity to upgrade their Windchill ProductPoint licenses to Windchill PDMLink for no additional charge through December 31, 2012. This information made me think about potential lessons PLM industry can learn from trying to combine PLM and SharePoint in a single product.
These are my initial 5 points:
1. SharePoint is a technological platform that requires implementation and services. To use it for small manufacturing companies can be dangerous and depends on deployment configuration can be problematic.
2. Microsoft business interest is to deploy SharePoint to bigger companies, and it can be asymmetric with the interest of PLM companies to solve PLM SMB problem using SharePoint.
3. There are alternative ways to solve PLM usability problems rather than re-use SharePoint UI patterns. PTC just released new version of Windchill (10.0), which probably delivers better user experience.
4. Maintenance of multiple PLM products is probably way too complicated.
5. PLM for SMB is probably not only about better user experience and subset of functionality.
Just my thoughts… I’m looking forward to discussing these lessons learned with you and to know what is your take? Based on the conversation I hope to have a better understanding of what can be a potential future of SharePoint and PLM development.