Will Google Docs Goes 3D?

February 28, 2011

Few days ago, I attended webinar One the Edge with Cadalyst – MCAD Smackdown: Direct vs .Parametric CAD. Navigate to the following link to listed the recorded podcast. An interesting comment was made by one of the attendees during the conversation about what is the better 3D option – 2D simply works. Yes, 2D works and surprisingly drives more attentions nowadays. My hunch, the reason why it happens is simple- mainstream. The same reason why DS just released DraftSight 2D CAD package to be available for free download.

I read Google Docs blog few days ago – 12 new formats in Google Docs Viewer. Here is the list:

  • Microsoft Excel (.XLS and .XLSX)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 / 2010 (.PPTX)
  • Apple Pages (.PAGES)
  • Adobe Illustrator (.AI)
  • Adobe Photoshop (.PSD)
  • Autodesk AutoCad (.DXF)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG)
  • PostScript (.EPS, .PS)
  • TrueType (.TTF)
  • XML Paper Specification (.XPS)

Autodesk DXF format exists for years and used by many people to exchange 2D information. By supporting this and some other image formats Google Docs put additional stakes into the future of Google Docs as a mainstream collaborative tool in manufacturing and construction.

What is my take? Google’s target is to serve "individuals" with best tools. Everybody considers Google as a "consumer oriented" company. However, thinking about individual consumers, they can work in manufacturing companies too. To provide them with productivity tools helping them to get a job done can be an interesting option… Do you think, Google will add 3D format support to their viewer? A good question to ask. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


PLM Platform Wars: Who is Right or Who is Left?

February 25, 2011

CAD and PLM world is extremely competitive. The decision process in the manufacturing industry is not fast. Companies are spending significant budgets evaluating tools, benchmarking, comparing and, in the end of this process, supposed to make a right decision about what tools to use. During the last couple of months, I observed a growing amount of announcements made by PLM companies informing about "yet another major company" making a right choice by selecting a CAD or PLM system from a specific vendor.

Just few examples from Joe Brakai’s article: Industry on the Move — The Quest for Effective Global Product Lifecycle Management. PTC announcement about Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation (HKMC) about selection of PTC’sWindchill as its enterprise PLM software. Siemens PLM Software announced that Aston Martin is selecting the Siemens’NX CAD software for design and engineering, and Teamcenter PLM software to manage product and process information. Two months before, Daimler AG, selected NX as a corporate CAD Software standard. Earlier, Chryslerselected Teamcenter as its corporate-wide PLM software. Two months before, Volvo Group has adopted PTC’s Windchill. Here is my favorite passage from Joe’s article:

OEMs are realizing that the traditional heterogeneous and fragmented product lifecycle management environment, even when compromised of excellent tools, is unable to provide the level of visibility, manageability, and fidelity of decision-making required, and are taking steps to migrate to a design and manufacturing environment capable of supporting a global platform strategy. This environment must be standard-based and open in order to facilitate a single source of all data for design, manufacturing and supply chain processes across vehicle design and manufacturing programs.

Another interesting publication is Automotive Sector Ground Zero for PLM Battles by Beth Stackpole of Design News. Beth is discussing the same announcements made by PLM and major automotive vendors. However, I found the following passage interesting.

The automotive sector, which has a deep roots in evolving PLM software and practices, is shaping up as a fresh battleground for the major vendors in this category with all touting recent customer wins that play up their strengths and cement their positions as core development platforms for next-generation vehicles.

My best read about PLM movement in the automotive world is Al Dean’s article in Develop 3D – All Change in the Automotive World. I recommend you to have a read. Some of final Al’s thoughts struck me to think about V6 innovation.

There have been three pretty big moves away from Dassault or a decision to not take on Enovia during benchmarks. With a two year benchmark cycle being common, one has to wonder if there’s a link back to the launch of V6? A curious thing indeed.

In my view, V6 created disruption, innovation and challenge at the same time. The bundling of CATIA into Enovia V6 is creating a lot of possibilities that never been available before from the standpoint of collaborative design and data management. Initial introduction of the systems raised a lot of IT questions that need to be resolved.

What is my conclusion? I wanted to remind wise and relevant words of Bertrand Russell: “War does not determine who is right – only who is left”. The war between PLM platforms can become a disaster for customers. Customers are spending million of dollars investing money in "unbreakable closed platforms". Each of these systems contains lots of data, which has much bigger value compared to the software that eventually will be re-written every 5-10 years. I think, openness wins for a long run. In my view, PLM companies are only playing with openness. Who will take it seriously first? This might be a company that is left after the battle? Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


PLM Practice in Building Industry?

February 23, 2011

I read TechCrunch publication New York City To Put QR Codes On All Building Permits By 2013 this morning. This publication made me think about some common approaches that can be used in PLM and BIM software. Time ago, I had a chance to share my thoughts about PLM and BIM similarity. According to TechCrucnh:

Smartphone users who scan a QR code on a construction permit in New York, according to a press release from the mayor’s office, will get “details about the ongoing project – including the approved scope of work, identities of the property owner and job applicant, other approved projects associated with the permit, [and] complaints and violations related to the location.”

The QR codes will link users to a mobile version of the Department of Buildings Information System, and will give them the option to click a link that will initiate a phone call to the city’s 311 phone service, where they can register a complaint about noise, safety or other concerns.

What is my conclusion? Using Serial Numbers is a common approach in manufacturing industry for years. It seems to me building industry is trying to adopt some practices from manufacturing. QR Code is not much different from S/N. Last month, during SolidWorks World 2011, Dassault SolidWorks made an announcement about future products in building industry. It makes sense to re-use some manufacturing experience DS in manufacturing. Autodesk and Bentley Systemsare long time players in this space. Will PLM roots help DS to take some portion of construction market? A good question.

Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


CRM and PLM: Same Challenges?

February 23, 2011

A lot of things happen these days in the enterprise software market. It is interesting sometime to watch the life in PLM neighborhood. CRM is one of them. I watched a video interview with Brad Wilson, General Manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, to discuss the state of the CRM software market. This video is one of the multiple episodes published onERP and more yesterday. Watch the video and make your opinion.

Brad mentioned 4 things that that challenging Microsoft CRM these days: 1/ offering of full suite of products, 2/ flexible configuration and customization, 3/ improved user experience and 4/ product affordability. I found these top 4 things very complimentary to PLM trends. Some of them like improved user experience and product affordability are in the list of customer’s communities for years. Flexible configuration and customization is another one that on top of PLM requirements for many years.

What is my conclusion? I can see these challenges as a common problem in enterprise software. The complexity is growing and old ways to solve problems might fail. In my view, to grow the portfolio, increase flexibility and hope for affordability – it is simple doesn’t work together. Granular applications and openness are the way to produce affordable tools to solve business problems. Just my opinion…

Best, Oleg


Search Based App and PLM Innovation

February 21, 2011

Picture-91.pngThe following article in E-Commerce Times written by Paul Doscher of Exalead USA caught my attention this morning. Navigate your browser to the following link and read Search Based Applications: Smoke and Mirrors or Real Innovation. Exalead is an enterprise search outfit snatched by Dassault Systems in 2010. DS paid €135 million for Exalead technology and the concept of Search Based Applications (SBA). I had a chance to put some of my initial thoughts related to the DS-Exalead last year in my post – PLM Lifelike Search Injection. The E-Commerce article made me think again about how Search Based Applications (SBA) can change current PLM trajectories.

Search Based Apps: The Next Step in Enterprise Search

Mr. Doscher quote IDC’s Sue Feldman definition of what is Search Based Applications from IDC 2010 report: "They (SBA) deliver a purpose-designed user interface tailored to support a particular task or workflow. Examples of such search-based applications include e-discovery applications, search marketing/advertising dashboards, government intelligence analysts’ workstations, specialized life sciences research software, e-commerce merchandising workbenches, and premium publishing subscriber portals in financial services or healthcare." Later in the article, Mr. Doscher analyzes different aspects of SBAs and why they will case a shift in enterprise information processes. He defines SBA as a right tool and specifically focuses on semantic processing of data.

I found these analyzes reasonable. The traditional enterprise search results presented as a "laundry-list" became obsolete in my eyes already 3-5 years ago. Tailored SBA will provide a clear differentiation. Amount of data in enterprise organization coming from multiple systems is a reality of every manufacturing company.

If you are interested to learn more about Search Based Apps, I can recommend you to read the following book- Search Based Application by Greg Grefenstette published earlier this year.

PLM+Search=SBA?

In my view, all PLM vendors are facing a significant need to introduce the next innovative shift for their customers. The competition between PLM mind share vendors becomes stronger. Introducing of new platforms (Dassault V6, Siemens PLM TeamCenter, Creo), last announcements made by PLM companies in automotive sector and others – all evidence of strong competition in this domain. I can imagine information processing technologies can provide a significant interest of PLM vendors. All of them already tried to crack an enterprise search box by partnering or OEMing technologies from vendors like Endeca, Autonomy or Microsoft SharePoint. The interesting turn in adopting search technologies is in ability to provide new ways to analyze information.

Does SBA Solves PLM Problems?

I can identify two major problems in Product Lifecycle Management: absolute complexity of application and extremely high cost of change. What SBA and search technologies can bring to PLM in order to solve these problems. I can see some positive elements here- search can make information available. Search technologies can bring more efficient data processing techniques. From this side, search technologies are an absolute advantage, and I’m sure DS will leverage it in their future applications. However, I’m doubting SBA can solve the problem of PLM complexity. If I follow Sue Feldman, SBAs are tailored applications – "a purpose-designed user interface tailored to support a particular task or workflow". From this standpoint SBAs will open a next round of PLM customization and implementation. Each customer will potentially introduce a new set of requirements. From the demos presented on Exalead website, I learned that each SBA was actually developed to satisfy needs of a specific customer.

What is my conclusion? Search technologies are providing a clear advantage in future development of product lifecycle management. I can see a good chance for DS to improve their V6 platform by injecting Exalead stuff inside. At the same time, I don’t see SBA solving key problems of PLM such as complexity and implementation cost. Ownership of these technologies can provide some competitive advantages to Dassault. Other vendors can move to expanding partnership with other search vendors or using open source search technologies such as Lucene/Solr. Manufacturing companies of all sizes will be still interested in how to simplify products and make their next implementation for lower cost. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Freebie


PLM Migration to… Text?

February 21, 2011

Sometime data management Q&A looks funny. World Online Review published the following solution on the request about how to migrate data into the text. Hit thislink to read a simple instruction:

1. In sql enter the command SQL>spool
Then enter the required select statment.The entire output is
transfered into the speficied file.The file’s default extension
is LST.Then enter SQL>spool off
2.You can also transfer the contents using utl_file utility.

Migration of PDM/PLM environment is a very complicated task. It is not as funny and simple like SQL recommendation. Think about the option to spool data out of PLM system and get it back in another system. Sounds complicated? However, wait a minute and think one more time… Data is in your PDM Oracle database. You just spool data out of your database. Do you think it is wrong? Not as wrong as you are thinking now. Just my thoughts, of course… YMMV.

Best, Oleg


PLM and Social Technologies Dating?

February 18, 2011

In my view, Salesforce.com has been discovered a significant bias towards collaboration and collaborative software. Since last year Salesforce made strong focus on development and acquiring of collaborative technologies. Dimdim andManymoon are just two latest examples of Salesforce acquisitions. I read the following article on Read Write Web blogSalesforce.com and Facebook Strengthen Ties Through Force.com Platform. I found this passage interesting:

Provide Technical design, configuration, development and testing of Force.com custom applications, interfaces and reports Model, analyze and develop or extend persistent database structures which are non-intrusive to the base application code and which effectively and efficiently implement business requirements Integrate force.com applications to other facebook external or internal Business Applications and tools Develop UI and ACL tailored to facebook employees and suppliers

What is behind this? The two companies are looking for app developers to write Force.com app for business purposes. Salesforce is an enterprise cloud leader. Facebook is a social network king. Both are interested in the opportunities coming out of this dating. Facebook is thinking how to proliferate into the enterprise space. Salesforce has an interest to make their social connections stronger. The last thing made me think about what PLM companies are doing in the social space.

PLM Collaboration and Social Dating

Product Lifecycle Management software vendors are developing so called "collaborative software" for years. In my view, the idea behind this software was good. However, the implementation cost and complexity weren’t appropriate. PLM needs to go outside the firewalls and make some "social dating" in Web 2.0 cafes. This is can be a good experience. I can see some movements in this space. DS 3DSwYm, PTC Social Product Development, Vuuch are examples of these "dating" experiments. The biggest problem of these dating, as I can see, is the try to take social technologies inside of enterprise product suites. The biggest value, in my view, is exactly opposite – to take "product content" out of current PLM databases. Fresh air will make some cleanup. The example of Autodesk Inventor Publisher for mobile is a right one. First make content available. Then magic will happen.

What is my conclusion? I found Facebook and Salesforce tie up interesting. This is a place for PLM vendors to learn, in my view. Try to invent yet another TLA won’t work anymore. Customers are looking for cool stuff similar to websites they are using during the weekend. Facebook may have some advantages here. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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