Social PLM and Crowd Thinking Opportunity

November 9, 2012

Two months ago, I had a chance to speak at Social PLM 2012 virtual conference. It is a good time to check what happens with "social PLM" topic these days. I found few bits of information – Kenesto just announced about how it enables "social business through process collaboration", earlier this month Autodesk announced the acquisition of Qontext to enhance social functions of Autodesk 360, Vuuch announced about "new activity stream feature" and strong customer adoption. I haven’t heard anything from Nuage developing new social business collaboration platform.

What was common among all these announcements earlier and now was that CAD/PLM vendors are mostly focusing on their effort in "social software" to improve internal collaboration capabilities? I don’t have any problem with that. Collaboration is important. To bring modern collaboration patterns developed by companies like Facebook, Twitter and others are important. So-called activity stream becomes a standard user experience for collaboration in many systems. Qontext acquisition and Vuuch activity stream are two examples to confirm.

At the same time, there is another aspect of "social business" – consumer space. In my view, this is a place that changed significantly for the last 5 years. The way we share information in public and the way we communicate online are completely different these days. It also means that we create a tremendous amount of "social data". In my view, to use this information as well as communicate with customers online is a big opportunity in the space of product development. I’ve been reading IT insider blog earlier this week. Navigate to the following link to read – Two surprising statistics on social business progress in the enterprise. I found one of them remarkable. The picture is below. Here is an important passage to read:

The second big reveal for me was the number of companies who indicated there is no real integration between their external social initiatives (social media/customer outreach) and their internal social efforts (a.k.a. Enterprise 2.0). It was nearly unanimous: 96% reported there was nothing today that integrated their social business initiatives, although nearly half reported this was on the planning board.

So, companies are really bad in their effort to bring external social initiatives and connect them to the business. I haven’t heard much about such type of initiatives in PLM space. The exclusion maybe the acquisition of Netvibes by Dassault System. The following quote from DS website site states exactly that:

Netvibes Dashboard Intelligence helps enterprises monitor and manage everything on real-time, personalized dashboards for better, faster decision-making. Now you can understand everything that matters across all your internal systems and across the social Web, anywhere, anytime, on any device.

What is my conclusion? I think there is a potential in more efficient usage of "social data" in product development. To find what customers are saying about products, to react on customers’ complains and follows user interests – this is only a short list of examples how integration of publicly available social information can be beneficial. Big Data is the name of the trend how to make prediction based on socially available data. Interesting opportunity. I don’t see companies are doing much in this space. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of [fotographic1980] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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