PLM, Information Discovery and Excel Provisioning

PLM, Information Discovery and Excel Provisioning

Excel is one of the most widely accepted PLM systems. PLM vendors and consultants may disagree with this strong statement. Despite that, I believe the amount of product data that lives today in Excel spreadsheets spread around organizational servers and cloud storage like Dropbox and Google is huge. The main reason companies are getting into DIY Excel PLM business is related to simplicity of data capturing and Excel ease of use. Long time ago I blogged about Why do I like my Excel spreadsheets. In my view, 4 years blog post is relevant today too.

One of the trends that I can see today is related to establishing of services helping people to discover the information. Widely spread product data can be very useful when it comes to the point of decision making, design reuse and analyzes.

Oracle acquired search and data processing outfit Endeca last year. I was following Endeca activity for some time. One of the articles caught my attention yesterday – David Sowerby at 3sixty-analytics outlines the setup in, Endeca Provisioning – ‘Self Service’. The article describes how you can find a spreadsheet, load it into the system, experimenting with the data and getting the results. Here is an interesting passage:

The future direction of Endeca by including a feature described as ‘Provisioning’. In practice, this is the facility to load a single spreadsheet, perform some simple but useful data cleansing, and then let Endeca generate an application. Although it currently only loads a single spreadsheet per application, it is a great way to see some of Endeca’s capability first hand, and also to act a hands on introduction to building an application from your data.”

The following Oracle video shows how you can work with data and create applications.

The idea of creating application out of Excel data, made me think about past experience and technologies invented during my previous work at Inforbix. During that work, Inforbix product data crawlers loaded lots of CAD and Excel spreadsheets data and provided a way for customer to explore this data using simply and easy to use interfaces – tables and charts. Saved queries can be stored for future use.

What is my conclusion? The value of information is getting more and more important these days. Lots of organizations understood that data reuse and information discovery can provide a significant value to organization and help to improve decision process. The cost of data migration, cleansing is high. Therefore, applications that can make it possible getting more and more focus. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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