What PLM can learn from “mobile discover apps”?

February 19, 2013

Mobile apps is one of the most growing segments of software business these days. Clearly, the years after iPhone and Android introduction, we had an explosive growth of mobile software and variety of applications. Enterprise software and PLM vendors are trying to learn "mobile language" as well. However, in my view, vendors are still missing the point of mobile. I posted about that last year. The initial approach taken by many PLM vendors was to bring "the same software mobile version" was wrong, in my view. Current PLM software took a holistic approach on use cases and scenarios. "Mobile" experience requires different, task oriented approach.

Couple of days ago I was reading Mashable article – 9 Excellent Apps for Discovering New Things. I was using some of these apps like Flipboard and Waze. I found the concept of "new things discovery" interesting. Alongside with apps, I found the following quote interesting

Breaking from the norm and discovering new things can often be a difficult undertaking. Your smartphone can help along with that process, and is a great starting point for finding something new.Whether you’re looking for new places to check out news, a new less congested way route to work, or even something fantastic to eat for dinner, apps can help you get there a little quicker, often suggesting things you might have no realized even existed.

I made me think about mobile and PLM mobile apps. Engineering practice requires "discovery" very often. Here are some use cases – discovery of previous decision made by your company, discovery specific domain experts, partners discovery and many others. To use the concept of "discovery apps" can be an interesting way to think about mobile experience in enterprise.

What is my conclusion? New class of mobile app/services is emerging these days.PLM vendors thinking about mobile need to make a note. The three important keywords are – user, data and context. Combination of them together creates a completely new class of experience. Context removes of significantly decreases the need for user input as well as eliminate additional filtering. Discovery mobile app for manufacturing and engineering can be actually very cool ideas.

Best, Oleg

PLM, Manufacturers and Mobile Apps Hysteria

June 1, 2011

I can see around more and more people are playing with mobile devices. Last 3-4 months contained many announcements coming from hardware and software manufacturers related to "mobile business". Android Honeycumb, iPad 2, Google App store, Microsoft / Nokia deal, etc. I started to ask myself – what is behind all this? The following Forrester blog post caught my attention –Mobile App Internet and 2011 Mobile App Hysteria. John McCarthy was writing 3 months ago about some information coming from Forrester Mobile Internet report. Here my favorite passage:

The explosion of app innovation that started on the iPhone and then spread to Android devices and tablets will continue to drive tech industry innovation and have far-reaching pricing and go-to-market implications for software and services providers. A second round of innovation will leverage the intersection of cloud-based services; Smart Computing; and newly app- and Internet-enabled devices like cars, appliances, and entertainment systems. The development of this mobile "app Internet" with hybrid local and cloud-supported applications will not only foster huge levels of innovation but also open up new services opportunities around the creation and management of these B2C, B2B, and B2E apps. The mobile app Internet will also change the way software is priced and designed.

You can purchase Forrester report navigating to the following link. In his blog, John put some numbers from that report. I found the following ones the most interesting:

Even at $2.43/app, the app market will emerge as a $38B market by 2015… Helping enterprises ride out the perfect storm of innovation is a $17B services opportunity…

CAD and PLM companies are not staying aside of mobile applications’ game. I wrote about it in some of my previous posts: PLM and post-PC Era, 3D/PLM: Future or Baloney?, Mobile, Photo, Video and Manufacturing Collaboration, and some others. We also have seen some bold mobile announcement come from companies like Siemens PLM – TeamCenter Mobility Apps.

The Power of Mobile Disruption

Back in 2005-7, BlackBerry was my favorite device. It was super fast, easy and powerful. Few years ago I had a conversation with one of the manufacturing companies about the iPhone and mobile. The person I talked was a huge BlackBerry fun. Our point of disagreement was actually the absence of a keyboard. From his standpoint "iPhone fancy apps had no connection to manufacturing companies". Fast forward nowadays… I know he is running iPhone 4 and has lots of Apps on it.

In my view, mobile platforms create a huge disruption in everything IT does in manufacturing company. People are stopping tolerating existing enterprise suites and limitations. Engineers want the ability to answer on inquires coming from manufacturing also when they are out of their desks, managers want to have live updates ECO bottlenecks. There are many other examples.

What is my conclusion? I think people started to digest initial mobile device hysteria and transform it to something productive. In my view, it will require lots of changes in existing infrastructure and PLM product suites. Some of them won’t survive and some of them will be transformed. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Photo: (Cristiano Betta/Flickr)

PLM and Almost Enterprise Apps?

April 29, 2011

The cost of development enterprise apps was one of the topics discussed among the people on Aras ACE 2011 conference earlier this week in Detroit, MI. Where the future is taking us? The development and customization of full blown PLM suite can be long, expensive and not very cost-effective these days. During the Beyond PLM panel discussion, I raised the question about the future of agile business apps that can provide value and won’t take manufacturing companies to the hell of product suites. The approach I discussed was introduced by Dion Hinchcliffe in hisNext Gen Enterprise blog.

On my way back to Boston I read Deloitte’s report “Technology Trends 2011. The Natural Convergence of Business and IT". Download this report, read and make your opinion. On of the topics of the report is about so called "Almost enterprise Applications". The idea resonated with my thoughts about how manufacturing organization can develop applications to be used by design engineers, managers, manufacturing planners, quality planners without taking organization into the two-year cycle of PLM suite deployment. I found the following example of "almost enterprise app" interesting:

A chemical products manufacturer had been an early adopter of Google Enterprise Apps engine – focusing on building almost-enterprise applications anchored in the productivity and collaboration suites. One example was a series of Gmail plug-ins that read the subject of emails and automatically retrieve CRM and HR workfl ow documents from SAP, with embedded controls for taking action that, in turn, execute back-offi ce transactions. Another was the ability to automatically update call notes in their CRM system with chat or voice transcripts, removing what was historically 90 seconds of low-value activity at the end of each customer service call.

PLM: Platforms and Applications

The notion of a platform in product lifycle management becomes interesting, in my view. The context of business apps can provide a new angle in a company strategy to develop a platform to serve the needs of product development processes. The focus on the platform will be in product data management rather than in business processes. Information services provided by a platform can be used to develop apps (Almost Enterprise Apps) highly focused on a particular engineers and other user’s needs.

What is my conclusion? The idea of "amost enterprise apps" is fascinating. It is easy to follow the concept of development apps based on any available services in the company. In the past, it led companies to the "excel hell". However, combination of a platform provided information services and agile practices of small apps development have in chance to develop an efficient solution. What is your opinion about that?

Best, Oleg


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