Emerging Social Economies and PLM communities

October 7, 2009

Two published stories drove my attention and got me to think again about various dimensions of social PLM development. Dion Hinchcliffe “Twenty-two power laws of the emerging social economy” and “DS Web 2.0 community platform“.

I’d put an interest of PLM providers to discover values of relationship in the new economical situation as something very positive and powerful. The new social approach will allow to get out of a closed world of organizational structures and very structured business processes. However, I see few potential conflicts that PLM can face following these directions.

1. Openness and Social Collaboration.
In my view content is the kind in social communication. This is true when we discuss blogs and social networks, but this is even truer when we want to discover the power of social communication for communities of manufacturers, developers, PLM service providers and independent consultants. All these companies and individuals are working using different CAD/PDM/PLM software and this software is not coming from the same PLM vendor. My question is how organizations will build their social communication based on software incompatibility and proprietary formats? Big question for me and I’m not sure PLM vendors have a good answer today.

2. Business Processes and Flexibility. PLM, ERP and BPM companies spent a significant effort and investment in showing values of business processes, industry best practices and well organized collaboration. Now, this is a time to change it or combine with very open and unpredictable social communication. Does it fit? I’m sure it will, but in order to make it happen the community of PLM vendors, VARs, integrators and resellers will need to spend time and effort to establish new collaboration principles and  approaches and find the right balance between organized business processes and PLM communities.

So, what is my conclusion today? PLM is trying to adopt social trends. Like in the childhood initial steps are not always well organized and not always in the right direction. I think, an importance of this social trend is well understood in PLM vendor’s community. This is time to have customers on board. Only together, we’ll be able to bring PLM solution on the next social level.

Best, Oleg


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