Why graphs are important for social PLM strategy?

Why graphs are important for social PLM strategy?


I want to continue my series of thoughts about PLM and social technologies. If you missed the beginning, you can catch up here – It is not easy to add social to PLM. The topic I want to bring today is graphs. The topic of graphs became popular for the last few years as technology moved into social networking and social data analytics. We can see a growing amount of examples while graph technologies are successfully used to boost social strategies.

I’ve been touching graph earlier on my blog – Social PLM, graphs and organization overlap. Large companies are looking into more use cases. One of them is to leverage graph for collaboration. Here is an example from Microsoft – Oslo and Office Graph: new technology in data discovery and search. Another example is Facebook graph search. Last, but not least – Google Knowledge graph.

However, graphs are not limited to Google, Facebook, Microsoft and few other large companies. Graph technologies are getting more popular and we can see companies applying them to variety of scenarios related to analysis of connected information.

Medium article – How Medium Goes Social speaks about how Medium publishing website answering on typical questions like – Have any of my friends liked this post? Can I tell all my friends once I’ve published something new? How can I find new people to follow? The picture below shows example of graph information. Medium is using Neo4j to capture and query graph data.


The following video shows how to develop social recommendation algorithm using Neo4j and cypher language.

All examples together made me think about usage of graph technologies to boost a specific “social” strategy for PLM. In my presentation last year – PLM and Data Management in 21st century, I’ve been demonstrating variety of modern data management technologies and how they can be used in different PLM applications. It looks like graphs can work well for social and provide real benefits. Graph databases are getting popular. Wikipedia article about Graph databases contains 20+ different names. It is maybe a time for PLM architects to have a look.

What is my conclusion? Graphs and social are coming together.  In my view, low value proposition was the main reason behind  failures of social technology application in PLM domain in the past. Rethinking value proposition is important. To combine social value proposition with efficient technology can be a way to bring some interesting new social features into PLM space. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

photo credit: Matthew Burpee via photopin cc


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