Google+, PLM and the Product Data Sharing Models

Social is trending. It was specially true this weekend. The social hype taking individuals, organizations and social vendors. Personally, I want to write off, I’m not a very social person. I urge other people to be social by writing blog and distributing the content on multiple social networks. However, when it comes to consuming, I rather prefer something that will help me to consume social channels in a most efficient way.

Google is coming with Google+. I found the excitement about Google+ interesting. I had no chance to try out Google+. My social channels didn’t bring me the invitation to Google+. So, I cannot join the club of social geeks trying out Circles and other elements of Google+. At the same time, I read quite many articles shared by top geeks writing non-stop about Google+. Navigate your browser to the following article – Google+ Is a Marketing Sensation and you will get a taste of what I’m talking about.

Google+ made me think about model of information and social channels. Navigate to the following article on TechCrunch – Zuckerberg not so subtle dig at Google Circles. The interesting thing there is related to the analyzes of social groups and sharing models – symmetric and asymmetric. Facebook is supporting completely symmetric sharing model. You need to get your fried confirmation to establish connection and share information. At the same time, Google+ followed Twitter and created completely asymmetric social channels in Google+ Circles.

Asymmetric vs. Symmetric Sharing Model

There are two fundamental sharing model – asymmetric and symmetric. Google+ has an “asymmetric sharing” model where you can share one-way with people, but they don’t have to share back. Facebook has a “symmetric sharing” model where two people mutually confirm that they are friends, and then can start sharing stuf with each other privately or publicly. Twitter has an “asymmetric follow” model where people Tweet out publicly and anyone can follow what they are broadcasting without that person necessarily following back. It’s one-way.

PLM and Product Data Sharing 

It made me think about PLM and the importance of the future data sharing models. One of the fundamental needs of product development is to be able to share information with the right people at the right moment of time. Sounds simple? Yes. You can tell me now – this is what PDM/PLM Collaboration is all about! Last 20 years of development of various “data management and collaboration system” ended with a complete win of email and Excel spreadsheets when it comes to the point where an organization needs to decide how to share information. Data sharing is still a huge problem in every product development organization. To solve it, organization needs to focus on creation of a model to support efficient product data sharing. Should we create a symmetric model (similar to Facebook) or to allow people to be connected to the right content at the right point of time (asymmetric circles or twitter lists)?

What is my conclusion? For the last 10-15 years, PLM vendors invested a significant effort in the development of systems that can control data. However, not much was done in the area of data sharing and data consuming. This is something PLM can learn from Google+ and Facebook. Efficient product data sharing is a key for PLM to become a mainstream tool to support product development in many manufacturing organizations. Unfortunately, most of the PLM systems are not there yet. Right place to innovate. Just my thoughts..

Best, Oleg

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2 Responses to Google+, PLM and the Product Data Sharing Models

  1. Chris says:

    The problem/solution lies in understanding what data needs to be shared. PDM/PLM shares the end result, the files, but does NOT share the conversation/decisions a team used to produce these files. The conversations are, as you pointed out, in email and lists. The PDM/PLM tools do a good job of version control of the resulting deliverables and as we know this is supposed to be the complete “Product Lifecycle”… but clearly it is not as it is missing the social interaction that goes on across the team in the production of these deliverables. As well this is certainly missing the many “files” that never get checked in because they are not a released deliverable.

    So what can we call this social interaction? What can we call this missing information? I have started to call this the Social Lifecycle http://www.vuuch.com/plm/social-life-cycle-andor-a-system-of-record/2011/06/07.

    Take a look at any team that needs to redesign some part that was last worked on two years ago – what do you hear the new group asking? Are they asking where the CAD file is or where they can find the drawing? No of course not. They ask questions that have a theme of “why, what and who”, why is this hole 1 inch or what analysis was done or who was on the team two years ago??? The PDM/PLM system provides no answer/value to these questions. The typical answer you hear is stuff like go talk to “insert name here”, they will remember… and the next action is for people to then start searching their email…

    Capturing how the team made decisions, who was involved and what issues the team had to overcome is more important than the version of the released files. Version control is an old and solved problem.

  2. [...] was reading Oleg’s post http://plmtwine.com/2011/07/07/google-plm-and-the-product-data-sharing-models/ on sharing models and Google circle and it got me wondering what they are up [...]

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