Those of your who following my blog long enough, knows that from time to time, I’m speculating about Google and PLM. The last time I did it was almost a year ago. Navigate to the following link – PLM and Google Enterprise to refresh your memories. While lots of Google technologies (especially in collaboration space) can be very attractive in PLM and manufacturing, Google attitude to enterprise organizations culture, support and focus behind enterprise deals made Google presence in enterprise and specifically manufacturing not very strong.
There are some news here. Google is planning to tackle the enterprise market. On my way to Toronto today, I had a chance to read a very informative interview from CBR – “Q&A with Thomas Davies, Head of Google Enterprise UK and Ireland.” Have a read. It is short and contains some information related to Google’s enterprise strategy. Google is planning to play around three significant trends – cloud, social and mobile (CloSoMo). I found the conclusion about "social" interesting. Google+ remains the designated app here. According to Davis, Google learned a lot from previous experiments from Buzz and Wave. Part of this learning the fact people are not interested "just to interact with a group of people". The demand is to have vertically integrated applications – Gmail, Docs, Hangout and more. Speaking about cloud, Google’s objective is to provide 30% – 50% operational cost saving.
However, the following passage from the interview is my favorite. It related to collaboration and personal productivity.
It’s not for me to comment on Microsoft or any of our competitors. We’ve never said that within Google Apps we will bring out an Office like-for-like replacement. But people want to change. I think the time for personal productivity – going to the office, filling in your spreadsheets and sending them to someone else – is going. There was a standard, monolithic build; SAP in the background, Office and IE on the desktop and BlackBerry. That’s changing and I think the speed of that change has caught IT departments by surprise. That plays nicely into our hands. I think where we will win, and where we are winning, is when it comes to the three main benefits: business benefits, technical benefits and cultural transformation. That’s how you change an entire company.
The point is clear. Excel spreadsheets and email traffic is a reality of many manufacturing companies today. 10 years of web revolution and consumerization made almost not impact on enterprise companies. PLM is one of the most complicated enterprise silos to be transformed. Here is my speculation – Google cloud platform combined with Google+ collaboration services and vertically integrated apps can be a foundation to build a modern PLM replacement for homegrown PLM initiatives and even larger PLM offering. Are you ready to buy this? A good question to ask manufacturing companies with zillions Excel sreadsheets and 10 years old PLM implementations.
What is my conclusion? I can see how enterprise space drives more attention these days. I’m afraid, pure technological play won’t be sufficient. To create partnership eco-system and becoming enterprise friendly – two main challenges Google will experience on that way. In my view, Google technology can make a spectacular success in PLM. Simplification of many engineering and downstream processes via CloSoMo can be an interesting approach. Just my thoughts…