PLM and Comprehensive Search

For the last few months, I’ve been asked multiple times about the role of Enterprise search and PLM. Since last year, after Exalead a French search company was acquired by PLM giant Dassault Systemes, the interest for search among people in manufacturing increased. In the past, I had a chance to share my opinion about PLM interest to Enterprise Search. All PLM vendors having deep relationships with search products. They are having OEM or partnerships relations with companies like such as Endeca, Autonomy, SharePoint.

The following publication by Martin Butler Research caught my attention few days ago. It provides a short, but very pragmatic view on what is Exalead as well as what are benefits of Exaled usage by companies like PLM or other enterprise software vendors. Here is my favorite quote:

Although Exalead can be used to provide an out-of-the-box search solution, it’s true strength is to provide an information access platform for creating highly customised search-based applications. For organizations looking at embedding search functionality into new or existing applications Exalead should be high on the agenda. It’s patented results navigation interface, which uses advanced clustering and refinement techniques, also adds to it’s pedigree.

In my view, the comprehensive PLM implementation requires a better set of technologies to accomplish their implementations. High end PLM is swamping in non-efficient technologies developed 15+ years ago. To bring a better search infrastructure can help PLM vendors to improve the quality of data management and information processing for companies like Boeing, Toyota, Renault and other. On the flip side, it is going to make existing PLM implementation even more complex.

What is my conclusion?
Search is an important infrastructure. The demand for search is in manufacturing growing as well. To be competitive, software vendors in this space such as PLM, CAD and others are trying to bring new technology to solve old problems. This is a good sign, in my view. However, one of the biggest problems in PLM and enterprise software is the complexity of solutions. This is quite important. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Freebie. (Exalead didn’t pay me to write this publication)

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4 Responses to PLM and Comprehensive Search

  1. Ian says:

    Oleg, I agree that it is encouraging to see the use of modern and improved technologies such as these within the PLM space. However as an architect the thing that frustrates me is that all software platform vendors are bundling capabilities such as search, workflow, document management, etc. into their products which creates a nightmare when you are trying to integrate multiple applications such as CRM, ERP, PLM, EAM, etc. What we need to see is embracing open standards so that each organisation can choose what they use as “Enterprise” capabilities across the portfolio of process, application and data.

    Thanks for a great blog. Ian

  2. Sudarshan Shubakar says:

    Hi Oleg,
    I can think of 2 distinct experiences with Search that I do not see in the PLM space.
    1. Spotlight on Mac. I use this at home and what this means to me is that I just do not need to remember where I’ve kept a file at all. As long as I remember some keywords concerning what I’m looking for(tagging). Simple interface that just “Gets” me everything I want. Not very different from Google desktop search.
    2. I use a tool called FreeCommander(www.freecommander.com). This helps me manage folders on my windows desktop which means in a single window I can tag many folders as favorites and lock them on the UI so that I do not have to look for them again.

    To me the problem of search is really is “Having to search for the same thing (or similar things) again and again.”. Just imagine that a PLM user does not have to search for something that he uses very often because he just has it “in his sight”.

    Just my thoughts. Let me know what you think.
    -Sudarshan.

  3. Ian, thanks for your comment! I agree with your view. Vendors are trying to improve their product suites. It is a result of competition and difficulties of vertical integration between different products. Open is definitely missing portion. Best, Oleg

  4. Sudarshan, thanks for your insight! I agree with your comments. I’m also on Mac and it is less relevant where you store things as soon as you can find them. Thanks for the link of FreeCommander. I will take a look on this. The ability of search to be “embedded” is important. Therefore, PLM vendors are interesting in partnering with enterprise search vendors and even acquired them (as it was with DS/Exalead). Thanks, Oleg

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