Microsoft Socl and Social PLM Thoughts

Microsoft Socl and Social PLM Thoughts

Do you know what is Microsoft Socl? I didn’t know until yesterday. However, now I know. It is a new research project by Microsoft, which supposed to become a next social network. Mashable just wrote about it four days ago here. Who is behind this project? This is what Mashable article says:

First published by The Verge on Wednesday, Microsoft tells Mashable that, “Microsoft’s FUSE Labs is an internal research group working on a number of forward-looking projects related to future possibilities around social search. Socl is one of the projects that we are exploring. We’ll let you know as soon as we have more to share.

However, watch the video:

You may ask me- how it is related? We already got MySpace, Facebook, Google+… now what? – Socl. Here is the point. As you probably know, I’m less interested in social networks, but more interested in PLM management.

Will PLM lose social competition to CRM?

The PLM vendors recently speaking a lot of “social” and how it is going to change their product offering. I had a chance to write about it multiple times. However, I want to point out to one specific blog I wrote 2 years ago (24-Nov): How many social platforms we need for enterprise? I wanted to get back to the same question again when I was watching socl video by Microsoft. At the same time, PLM vendors are developing social platforms – PTC, Dassault, Autodesk… Everybody is trying to play this social card.

I can see a very significant problem for all PLM social solutions – they are disconnected from people. Don’t take me wrong – obviously people are using PLM solutions in enterprise companies. However, the majority of people are not. Remember, time ago, PLM competed with ERP about “who” owns the item definition. ERP won, PLM lost the competition. Why do you think it happened? In my view, here is the reason – you have to to touch “Item Master” to manufacture the product. So, you will use ERP and it manage Item masters. You are not necessarily needed to touch “item” to run PLM. You can do it, of course. However, it happens much rarely. The same happens with social and CRM. If you are contacting your customers – you must be social. Therefore, everybody will touch Chatter or similar social platform from CRM provider. However, PLM social platform will be downgraded to people that touch PLM platform only.

What is my conclusion? Social platforms cannot change the position of a system in the organization. You need to have people around the social platform to make it work and progress. It happens to CRM, but it probably won’t happen to PLM. So, maybe PLM vendors need to focus on something 100% of the users need? Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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