PLM Collaboration and Technological Splashes

Technology and products are not always going together. What is the most fascinating to me is to see how technological splashes create future in products. Last year I had chance to discuss Google Wave. It was a completely technological vision with some fuzzy product examples. In my post, last year, I outlined 6 reasons why Google Wave will change PLM collaboration . For me, it was a completely technological opportunity.

In the end of 2009, I found a very interesting development made by SAP. The project code name 12sprints was presented as a SAP’s Web 2.0 future. The focus of this product is interesting. It stated to provide a collaborative decision making tool. “It’s not just a place where things get discussed. It’s where things get done. Invite the right people. Bring in the pertinent data. And choose the most informed course of action with the help of pre-defined, interactive decision-making tools. It’s all built in. Everything you need to get everyone on the same page — finally under one roof.”

SAP transformed 12sprints product into the tool called SAP StreamWork (TM). I found the web site of this product interesting and containing some videos you can consider as worth looking. You can find videos on the following link. In addition, you can see SAP StreamWork is trying to integrate with Google Wave to improve collaborative capabilities. Another interesting aspect is to see who are the StreamWork’s partners – EverNote, Scribd and Box.net, which, in my view, shows very modern technological connections.

The SAP StreamWork story made me think about technological splashes and PLM again. The nature of PLM is very collaborative. Engineers and designers need to collaborate all the time and to bring new technologies into this process is a very important. I wound like to outline few options and capabilities PLM tools can consider to improve their collaborative capabilities.

Online Documents
To be able to share documents is very important for collaboration. There are few separate products in this space coming from different engineering and manufacturing software vendors. Most of them are focusing on CAD and Drawing viewing. Just to name few of them – Autodesk Freewheel, 3DVIA composer, Actify. I’d think about the potential to expand it to additional product in the space of online engineering content in the future.

Tasks Management
Very often, people don’t need to manage complex processes. However, they need to be able to share some collaborative action management environment. The ability to easy create, share and follow up tasks can be a powerful addition to a set of decision making tools

Contextual Decision Tools
I liked some tools introduced by StreamWork, such as Pro/Con table and others. I call them simple decision tools. In my view, this work was inspired by Google Wave Gadgets. I think, we will see more such tools in the future.

What is my conclusion? I think, we will see more and more an enterprise related product splashes following technological invention and vision of products outside of enterprise space. What I liked in the following video is a powerful connection between consumer oriented decision and business association. Consumer and Internet software will continue to disrupt enterprise software and people will be interested how to bring new product waves and ideas to this space. Watch it!

Just my thoughts…
Best, Oleg

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