The conversation about social software is getting more mature these days. Do you remember early period of "social software" talks. Navigate to the following link – We are not going to design an airplane on the Facebook! The discussion on Jim Brown’s blog is 3 years old. Jim brings his pros and cons of having Facebook as a platform for product development. Even if the title of blog post didn’t provide much chance to Facebook to be used in product development, I captured some pros. Here is an interesting passage -
It is hard to get people to work together effectively. It takes a lot of different skills (technical, marketing, financial, etc.) to bring a profitable product to market. And beneath those classifications, there are more sub-skills. In the technical domain there are designers, engineers, validation/analysis people, compliance experts, manufacturing resources and quality personnel. Down another level inside engineering, many products require mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and software engineers. You get the point – there are a lot of skills (and therefor people) involved. This is true for even simple products, let alone an airplane. If the fundamental truth is that it is hard to keep all of these people informed and working together – and you believe there is value in improving it – how can social computing in PLM be anything but inevitable?
Now, let’s go 3 years forward. We can see major enterprise vendors such as Microsoft and Salesforce.com are applying social applications as a major communication paradigm that will be used for their Office 365 and Salesforce.com CRM apps. Couple of articles I captured earlier this week. Navigate to SharePoint blog post – Yammer and SharePoint: Enterprise social roadmap update. Microsoft acquired Yammer for $1.2B earlier last year. Currently Microsoft is embedding Yammer social tools to replace Office 365 newsfeed. Future integration options are including co-editing of Office documents.
Customers will still have the option of choosing between Yammer and the SharePoint newsfeed, but this new, integrated Yammer experience will offer Single Sign-On (SSO) and seamless navigation. In other words, when you click on the Yammer link in the Office 365 global navigation bar, Yammer will appear immediately below with the navigation to get back to Office 365 services such as Outlook and Sites. You will also see the user experiences of Yammer and Office 365 begin to converge (see the concept mock below to get a directional sense). This new Yammer experience will also offer rich document capabilities, integrating the Office Web Apps to add editing and co-editing of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents.
Another example – Salesforce.com Chatter app. Salesforce.com introduced chatter back in 2010. Since then the application becomes more visible and dominant in Saleforce user experience. Earlier last week CEO Marc Benioff Says Chatter Will Become Primary Interface For Salesforce. Salesforce unveiled Chatter 8.0, which executives said is the next generation CRM.
Benioff, speaking in Boston, provided his usual context for discussing Salesforce. He talked about the rise of mobile; how people are connecting and the rise of Twitter and Facebook. He then used that framing as a transition to say how Chatter, an activity stream platform, is becoming the primary interface into Salesforce. He called it a significant step that other companies will follow.
Activity stream paradigm is clearly taking off as a new way to communicate between people. I compared it to old "file explorer" paradigm we used last 30+ years everywhere. Navigate to my blog post from the last week to read more. To me activity stream paradigm will take us from old desktop world to future world of cloud and connected services.
What is my conclusion? PLM industry is starting to put more attention to user experience. It becomes an issue for individuals small companies and large corporations like Boeing. Activity stream is a new paradigm taking roots in social networks to bring a new style of communication and information sharing. Watch this move that will happen among all companies in the next 2-3 years. Just my thoughts…