Will Search Make PLM Cool?

search-cool-PLM.pngDisclosure: As a co-founder of Inforbix, I understand that my opinion about Search can be unintentionally biased. Nevertheless, I believe the topic itself is very important, so I decided to share my thoughts anyway.

Cool is clearly trending. First time I posted about my “FREE and COOL” theory in CAD/PLM about two years ago here. I can see many changes happened since that time. Cool stuff is not a joke any more. It went much beyond the level of geeks drinking coffee in Palo Alto downtown Starbucks. If you want to quantify the power of cool, the following numbers aboutApple 3Q financial results can be quite refreshing. Navigatehere to see that iPhone business is bigger than whole Microsoft.

In my view, the understanding of the cool trend is coming to engineering and manufacturing space as well. Accessing information in a meaningful way can be a very cool way to help engineers in their work. CAD and PLM companies are flirting with enterprise search vendors and search technologies already quite long time. You can read one of my write ups about that here – PLM Lifelike Search Injection.

I was reading a blog post by Aras Corp – Get Global Intranet Search From A9 For Aras Innovator. The sticker COOL STUFF caught my attention. Read the article, but more importantly, watch the video. A9 from Alcove9 using open source Apache Solr Search to power their capability to index Aras Innovator content.

Another video presenting Inforbix Search Tips can give you an idea how search of PLM and CAD content can come from Infobrix. Navigate to Inforbix Search Tip Video to read more. Inforbix is using semantic technologies combined with noSQL data-management approach to provide search and navigation capabilities.

What is my conclusion? Search is an interesting function. Since “Google” officially became a verb, many people consider a practical and intuitive search as absolutely important element of any system. At the same time, PLM and other engineering content are semantically rich and can provide difficulties to a traditional Google-search approaches. As we can see from both examples below, the special treatment needed to make it cool. The most important function of search is to solve noise vs. signal. Google approach works well for “lady Gaga” type of searches. PLM, Engineering and Manufacturing require some alternative approaches. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

PS. Next week, I’m attending ACE 2012 conference in Detroit, MI and hope to learn more about cool stuff from Aras.

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One Response to Will Search Make PLM Cool?

  1. Hi Oleg. I agree that search mechanisms for PLM systems have to be easier to use (googlization?)and radically more efficient (precision recall). it looks like their search engine uses a controlled vocabulary (for the item types, for example), or something like that, I wonder how that is created or implemented by the customer and how sophisticated it can get (such as using a thesauri for “like” or related terms).

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