What PLM must learn from the success of Email?

What PLM must learn from the success of Email?

One of the biggest issues PLM vendors want to solve today is “PLM adoption”. PDM/PLM moved from a toolbox to out-of-the-box (OOTB), from OOTB to industry best practices. Cloud is another promise. Another buzzword PLM industry is using today is “social”. In my view, the best way to learn about the user adoption is to learn from the somebody else’s success. Speaking about the adoption in the organization, email is always on the top in my list. You probably had a chance to read my blog post last year – DIY PLM and Zero email policy. In my view “social” is having hard time to compete with emails. In many situations, company processes are literally run by emails. Enterprise software vendors are trying to kill emails with variety of tools, but email doesn’t want to die. I was reading an interesting article earlier this week – Email Will Never Die – The Man Who Invented It Reveals Why. I recommend you to have a look. I found some unknown facts about email history. I liked the following passage:

“I think it was mostly used as a replacement for telephone calls,” Tomlinson says. “You got a more immediate response. With time zone differences, you didn’t have to have someone there to receive the call.”

By co-incidence, my attention caught by another article on the same topic – Is email dead? Or is it moving to social networks? Samuel Driessen is capturing the discussion about why email will stay long time with us. The most important arguments are ease of access, email documentation trail, cross time zone access and openness.

Both articles made me think about what PLM vendors and implementers need to learn from the email success to improve PLM adoption across the organization. Here are my top 3 actions:

1. Access. The top priority for PLM tools is to become easy accessible for people in organization. 90% of people in organization are consuming information that created by less than 10% of people. To make PLM tools available and easy for the majority of people is absolutely important.

2. Openness. Email is incredibly open. I don’t need to work with your email server to send you an email. The infrastructure is open and technology is invisible. To make PLM to work seamlessly is another huge action. Today, “integration” is a significant showstopper to make PLM tools to be used by many people in organization.

3. Communication trail. This is an interesting topic that can provide huge value in organization. In many situations, the communication between people gets lost in emails and phone calls. PLM tools need to provide a way to capture this communication in a very painless way to make this communication history retrievable and available for people. It will help a lot for decision making and many other situations.

What is my conclusion? PLM vendors can learn a lot of email success. Email is still one of the major communication instruments in the organization. To learn from email practice, to apply it in PLM tools and make PLM tools to be integrated with email is the right way to go to become successful in PLM deployment. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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