What PLM can offer to post-PC employees?

February 13, 2013

IT consumerization speed is probably underestimated. At the time we are discussing if enterprise workers need to use tablets, mobile devices and Apple computers, many of employees are actually using them. I’ve been reading InfoWorld article Get used to it: The post-PC employee has arrived. The article is pulling data from Forrester research based 10’000 information worker study. The following passage summarize the recommendation is a very clear way:

If you’re still arguing that iPads, Macs, iPhones, and Android devices are toys that faddist employees will soon get over, stop wasting your breath. If you believe a strict separation of work and personal information and activities can be imposed on information workers, stop wasting your time and money. If you’re not reworking your applications and Web services to be adaptive — that is, to work across multiple operating systems, browsers, screen sizes, and user interfaces — you’d better start now.

Here are some interesting facts and numbers I captured. The number of people accessing the Internet through PCs in the USA will shrink from 240 million in 2012 to 225 million in 2016. Tablets are using used at roughly the same levels (from 39% to 49%) everywhere – at a work desk, home, cafe and traveling. Use of multiple devices is coming (29% already use 3 or more devices). PC rules, but mobile is getting bigger. All these facts and numbers made me think about what PLM can offer today to such a "post-PC employee".

CAD is heavy focused on Windows desktop

Majority of CAD applications are running on Windows platform these days. Starting from professional 3D design packages like SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor and ending up with CATIA, NX and Creo it is all about Windows. AutoCAD back on Mac since last year. Rhino provides Mac/OS version but it still limited. Even if you can find CAD available on Mac/OS or Linux, the majority of PDM/PLM integrations CAD are operating on Windows platform only.

PLM web interfaces is heavily on IE and Windows platform

Core PLM packages are essentially web-based. However, many of these web interfaces contain a significant portions of technologies and functions tailored to IE and Windows platform. The overall trend of PLM providers is to move towards modern web design and HTML5, which is a positive thing. However, it happens way too slow, in my view.

Mobile is ramping up fast, but without clear focus

The awareness about mobile apps is in the right place these days. However, the move of PLM vendors to mobile app is chaotic without specific goals and strategies. It looks that for most of vendors to provide "mobile version of something" was an imperative. At the same time, not many of them thoughts about specific mobile-oriented scenarios. In past, I posted Mobile PLM gold-rush. Did vendors miss the point? I still think, it is pretty much true for all mobile apps in PLM space.

What is my conclusion? PLM technologies and applications are complicated stuff. It took time for vendors to build it and achieve certain level of completeness. Some of vendors are arguing that technology is not a critical element of PLM software. For all these vendors it is better to understand that era of PC, Windows and IE is over. New post-PC employees will be using different criteria when buying their devices and bringing them to work. Vendors better take note now and start delivering. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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