Graph Navigation and PLM user experience paradigms

Graph Navigation and PLM user experience paradigms

Complexity of PLM systems and user experience is well-known problem in the world of PLM. Even all PLM vendors are in full agreement about focusing on user experience and user interface, it is still not enough. Few years ago, I shared my thoughts here – Lipstick on a pig. Why PLM user experience is not done yet.

The PLM experience didn’t change PLM much for the last five years. We’ve heard lot of praising how much UX and experience are important for PLM vendors. And yes, we’ve got nicer user interfaces, pretty colors and superficial marketing demos. The nuts and bolts of PLM system and experience didn’t change. Those systems are clunky and complex. Most of UX work that was done is yet another layer of software applied on top of existing platforms, data models, workflows and… technological limitations. So, it is still a UX lipstick on PLM pig for the lack of better worlds.

My favorite speech about user experience is from Steve Jobs:

For the last few years, PLM vendors many very nice demos and even products with cool user interface. However, when it comes to cohesive user experience, these products they are getting better:

My attention was caught by Aras Graph Navigation. Graph was always a very interesting paradigm that was appealing to many PLM functions. Robustness of graph was always a good match to complexity of PLM data. I found Aras graph navigation service flexible and useful for data navigation.

Aras graph approach is maybee one of the most sophisticated I’ve seen, but Aras is not alone and we can see how other PLM companies are offering similar navigation capabilities. Check the following video from ENOVIA and 3DEXPERIENCE

Another example from Siemens PLM Teamcenter. Watch this video:

Another example video from Autodesk PLM360 (current Fusion Lifecycle)

What is my conclusion? Complexity of product data created a huge demand for a better user experience in PLM products and technologies. Nice user experience is not always the best thing I’d be using for PLM technologies. Engineers aren’t using nice user interfaces. Engineers are looking for robust and simple to use tools. But simplicity is hard. Graph navigator can be a good candidate to solve complexity of PLM user experience. Just my thoughts. What do you think?

Best, Oleg

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased



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