Integration is a tough job. Especially when it comes to the enterprise software. The typical manufacturing company landscape is siloed it contains many systems – office application, email, content management, CAD, CAM, CAE, PDM, PLM, etc. Beyond that set of systems, every company has ERP and few additional enterprise systems. In my view, the demand of people these days is to have integrated environment. In PLM, the discussion about “integrated vs. best of breed environment” can get very hot. As an example you navigate to the following Tech4PD video debates by Jim Brown and Chad Jackson – Granularity vs. Integration: Suites vs. Best-in-class PLM.
Interesting enough, I found the web environment these days has near the same level of integration as enterprise environment. Google’s environment very often provides an appealing use case too. Think about Gmail, Calendar, Google Drive, Web and some additional Google systems. How to help people to have integrated and seamless environment? Integrated search is one of the ways to solve the problem. Google is trying to solve the problem by providing integrated Google personal search that capability to reach outside of Gmail and collect information from other Google applications. I submitted to evaluate this feature using my personal gmail account and hope to share my feedback with you later.
PLM vendors are experimenting with integrated search user experience too. You can see them in the different examples of technological and product announcements as well as acquisitions PLM companies made during past 2 years – Dassault Systemes Exalead, Autodesk Inforbix, Siemens PLM Active Workspace, Aras Enterprise search and some others.
However, integrated search is a complicated problem. Even Google – the absolute technological leader in a search domain is confirming the complexity of search beyond the web. Navigate to the following article to read more – Google Amps Up Personal Search to Combine Gmail, Calendar, Drive and More published by All Things D last month.
To me, the most notable passage in this article is related to the complexity of the integration and integrated search.
Back in August, Google noted its Gmail index is as large or larger than its Web corpus, but with much higher and more complicated privacy requirements. All of these personal search experiments are available only in English and for personal Gmail accounts.
What is my conclusion? Search and data is a difficult problem. Enterprise and PLM environment clearly provides a more complicated case compared to public web in terms of search, content processing, permission and business logic. Brutal computing force helps, but it is not an ultimate solution for integrated environment. You need to have domain knowledge and probably apply some advanced engineering to solve this problem. Just my thoughts…
Picture credit newmediaandmarketing.com