PLM and Unexpected Office Collaboration Option

I think the world around us is about to change. A couple of weeks ago I posted PLM and Future Competition. The existing traditional structures of vendors, domains and applications are changing faster than we can expect, in my view. Collaboration was one of the fields enterprise software and vendors in CAD/PLM domain were dealing for a long time. Frankly, I have never been excited much about the "PLM collaboration" offering. In my view, it is very complicated. Consumer oriented brands and lately companies like Google and some other did a better job in this domain.

I learned yesterday about an interesting acquisition – Cisco buys collaboration startup Versly. Versly was a small startup focused on collaboration inside Microsoft Office environment. Take a look on the following video showing one of the earlier Versly demos:

Navigate your browser to the following link on Cicso website to read more about this acquisition. I found the following passage interesting:

Collaboration is one of Cisco’s five company priorities and represents what Cisco believes to be a total addressable market of 45 billion. The acquisition will provide more opportunity for Cisco partners to provide enhanced collaboration solutions to customers. Versly’s software will be integrated into a variety of Cisco’s collaboration offerings including Cisco Quad, Cisco Jabber and Cisco WebEx. For example, users will be able to receive automatic notifications within Cisco Quad when the content of a document has changed, escalate from simply reviewing a document to an instant messaging session through Cisco Jabber, or initiate a web conferencing session from a presentation through Cisco WebEx.

What is my take? I think PDM vendors need to take a note. Why? Hardware vendors are stepping into software water. The example of Cisco is a good one. I cannot imagine how most of the manufacturing organizations can live without MS Office documents. People in product development, manufacturing and supply chain are spending lots of time working around Excel spreadsheets and Word documents. The Office integration becomes a vital part of any PDM/PLM related environment. One of the challenges in front of PLM vendors is how to expand downstream. It is a vital part of PLM growth plan. However, existing vendors can find Cisco eating PLM collaboration lunch… Just my opinion, of course. YMMV.

Best, Oleg

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