PLM vendors and multiple IoT platforms

September 15, 2015


How are you doing this morning? About joining IoT world and create (or buy) IoT platform? You are not alone, by the way. Just two weeks ago, I mentioned Autodesk/SeeControl acquisition in my article "How IoT can eclipse and outcompete PLM vendors".

Earlier this morning, the big news coming from Dreamforce 2015 conference – Salesforce is jumping into IoT bandwagon and announced Salesforce Thunder. I picked few articles from endless list of publication already available about Salesforce/IoT. Here is my favorite short explanation about Salesforce Thunder:

The platform will collect data from connected sensors, mobile devices, social networks, wearables and cloud technologies and will be powered by a new events processing engine called Thunder. Thunder is the massively scalable events processor while IoT Cloud is the user interface built on top of the information it provides. Salesforce plans to release the product in trial for in early 2016 and make it generally available later in the year.

ComputerWorld article brings few interesting examples of companies making early testing of Salesforce Thunder. Read the following passage about two use cases from Emerson climate and Hexagon-Metrology.:

Wanting to go one-up on Next, Emerson climate used the platform to connect thermostats for both commercial and domestic settings. Emerson used the sensor data to generate insights into problem identification, preventative maintenance, proactive alerting, and customer life cycle management.

Hexagon-Metrology, a global manufacturing company headquartered in London, used the IoT platform to monitor real-time data feeds from laboratory and production line machinery. They used this data to identify catastrophic event and combined the insights with a real-time manager information system to send notifications of these events directly to the person responsible.

Both examples are coming from "manufacturing" space. The use cases mentioned by Salesforce are very similar to those I’ve heard earlier from PLM IoT presentations – machine monitoring and predictive maintenance. Which made me think that a competition for customer IoT mind have started.

Does it mean Autodesk, Siemens PLM, PTC and other PLM IoT visionary will be competing with Salesforce Thunder? This is a good question to ask. And the competition will have two trajectories – customer vision and data infrastructure. Another example from the same ComputerWorld article shows you a potential competitive scenario based on Microsoft use case. Microsoft is testing Salesforce Thunder to get information from Office product logs, alongside with point of sale information and customer support data in order to provide a complete picture of customer and product. It reminded me Dell use case presented at Siemens PLM Analyst event last week.

What is my conclusion? IoT is getting crowded by large and small companies. In my view, IoT buzz is dead to be used to sell PLM connected solutions. PLM vendors should think how to develop differentiation solution and technologies that will distant PLM IoT initiatives from a broad range of opportunities and products that will be coming to customers from multiple vendors. This is a note to PLM strategist. It is not too late, but you better move fast. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

How IoT can eclipse and outcompete PLM platforms

September 1, 2015


IoT is one of the biggest buzzword these days. IoT technologies and tools are promising to connect physical products and delivery new type of software services leveraging product data and analytic. In the past few months, I’ve got many questions about IoT and its impact on PLM. It made me think about different aspects of how IoT and PLM trajectories can intertwined. No doubt, IoT will impact engineering and manufacturing industry. And the result can be surprising, in my view.

Competition might have different faces. Long time ago when visited a company manufacturing luxury yachts, I asked them who is their direct competitor. The answer was “Ferrari cars”. There is a simple reason for that. A person who will buy Ferrari has lower chance to buy a yacht at the same year. Earlier last week, my attention was caught by an interesting article – Dropbox: the first dead decacorn. It gives you another angle on competition between companies. Here is my favorite passage:

If you’re worth a billion dollars, you’re probably doing enough things well that your direct competitors can’t take you to the cleaners overnight. Instead, your nightmares shift to a fate even scarier than being outcompeted: being eclipsed. Specifically, being eclipsed by someone at one level of the stack above or below you.

What does this look like in practice? It’s what Microsoft did to the PC manufacturers, and then what the web browser did to Microsoft. It’s what Android/iOS did to the handset makers, and what Facebook is trying to do to them in turn. To those being eclipsed, it’s terrifying because the change happens so gradually and then so suddenly: Compaq was one of the best PC makers around until all of a sudden Windows was what mattered, not the machine it ran on. Then a bit later on, Windows ruled the world and Microsoft was King- but all the interesting stuff started happening inside the web browser. My point being: Compaq didn’t get creamed because somebody else came along and made a better desktop PC. They lost because all of a sudden Windows was what was important- and other PC Manufacturers like Dell were better suited to thrive in the new reality of modular commodity.

Both examples can helps to think about competition in a different form of its existence. In PLM world, if company decided to implement ERP, it usually lower chances to make a decision about PLM the same year. Historically PLM vs ERP competition postponed PLM implementations because companies had no time, focus and budget to deal with PLM implementation when they made investment and focus on ERP side. In many situations, PLM vs ERP competition was a competition for vision. If a company has PLM vision and put a focus on product innovation and product development processes, the priority will be to define PLM strategy. In that case PLM vision outcompetes ERP manufacturing strategy.

Few days ago, Autodesk announced the acquisition of SeeControl – Califronia based software outfit developing enterprise IoT Cloud Service helps manufacturers and systems integrators create virtual product experiences and new service revenue. It organizes and makes sense of data from the Internet of Things with no coding skills required. The press release is here. The following quote by Amar Hanspal, Autodesk SVP for Information modeling and platform products is confirming the fact Autodesk joined “IoT vision club”.

“A new future of making things is emerging, where any built object, product or environment can be embedded with sensors that can feed information back into the design process. The acquisition of SeeControl is the first step on Autodesk’s ongoing efforts to develop new technologies and solutions that will help our customers leverage the Internet of Things, starting by enabling them to capture, analyze, and utilize data from their products. We welcome the SeeControl team and ecosystem to Autodesk,”

The following short video can give you a good perspective of what SeeControl can do.

Among many things, I captured few interesting characteristics of SeeControl solutions that sounds very complementary to PLM infrastructure – product data models, workflow services, on the fly reporting and dashboards. Combined with the architecture that has cloud scale, it is an interesting combination of elements that can raise many questions about how does it can be aligned with a typical PLM implementation.

From some conversations online, I’ve got a sense that SeeControl will become part of the same group as PLM 360. Which can make a perfect sense if Autodesk is planning to create a larger scale cloud platform to cover wider scope of services for manufacturers and building industry. I hope to learn more about it later today at Autodesk PLM360 conference in Boston – the keynote by Scott Reese, Autodesk VP of Cloud platform might give us few data points about future PLM360 and SeeControl trajectories.

What is my conclusion? PLM and IoT trajectories are going to be intertwined and it might take some interesting forms. PLM platforms can be out-competed and eclipsed by IoT platforms on the level of stack above or below PLM – the most scary perspective for PLM vendors. Autodesk joined IoT PLM competition race after PTC, which made few strong steps towards arming itself with IoT platforms and tools. Future few years will show an interesting development in the development of both PLM and IoT platforms for manufacturing. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

IoT, Industry 4.0 and PLM technological challenges

May 1, 2015


Connectivity and information technologies are changing our lives. Think about your everyday experience – news, driving, communication, banking. It is so different from we had 10 years ago. One of the main drivers behind the change is our ability to connect to different sources of information.

Now think about connectivity in a broader sense can change your business. I’m sure you’ve heard about Internet of Things (IoT) and about Industry 4.0, which is a broader vision of digital value chain and smart factory. Here is Wikipedia version of Industry 4.0 definition.

Industry 4.0 is a collective term for technologies and concepts of value chain organization.[1] Based on the technological concepts of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things[2] and the Internet of Services,[3] it facilitates the vision of the Smart Factory. Within the modular structured Smart Factories of Industry 4.0, cyber-physical systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralized decisions. Over the Internet of Things, Cyber-physical systems communicate and cooperate with each other and humans in real time. Via the Internet of Services, both internal and cross-organizational services are offered and utilized by participants of the value chain.[1]

I’m preparing for my keynote presentation at ProSTEP iViP Symposium 2015 next week in Stuttgart. You can take a look on the program here. The theme of symposium – Smart Engineering clearly associated in my mind with the usage of information. PLM vendors are looking how to explore a potential of information usage for business. As an example, navigate to Harvard Business Review made by PTC CEO Jim Heppelman and Prof Michael Porter of Harvard Business School – How Smart Connected Products are Transforming Competition. Here is an interesting passage to think about:

…connected products are shifting competition in many industries, especially manufacturing. Smart, connected products enable four new categories of capabilities that create breakthroughs in differentiation and operational effectiveness, improve customer experience, and enable new revenue streams. To capitalize, manufacturing firms must rethink nearly everything they do—from how products are designed, and sourced, to how they are manufactured, sold and serviced, to putting in place a whole new kind of IT infrastructure.

Data management is one of the key elements in the success of connected technologies. The same happened in consumer products (think about scale of data technologies behind global connected product Google, Waze, Facebook, etc.)

Forbes article – Industry 4.0 — The Dollars In The Data brings an interesting perspective of data usage related to connected products. It speaks about self optimized assets and predictive maintenance. This topic is incredible complex and it goes much beyond a silly reminder on your car dashboard saying that your maintenance is in 21 days. It is about the ability to make an analysis of gigantic sets of information coming from connected products, mixing it with product data (eg. Bill of Materials) and creating predictive maintenance plans. Here is my favorite passage.

One of the most common use cases for high-value assets is predictive maintenance. Let’s use the example of a gas turbine. Almost ubiquitous internet connectivity means sensors from the turbines can transmit condition data (e.g. voltages, vibrations), usage (e.g. RPM), data, environmental data (e.g. temperature), and other parameters, almost in real-time.

The information sent by these sensors, combined with other information, such as the Bill of Materials, maintenance and engineering data, allows the utility company to retrospectively analyse the behaviour of a turbine. This yields a list of situations that could take the turbine out of service. Which will, in itself, be of great interest and use to the utility.

But rather than stop there, the utility carries on with their line of questioning. Now that they know “What happened?” and “Why did it happen?” it is natural to want to understand “When will it happen again?”, and also “What can we do to stop it from happening?”

These use cases made me think about technological challenges behind product data management capable to recombine data sets coming from senses and stored in PLM systems. In this specific example, we talk about as built serialized bill of materials for a specific gas turbine. The complexity will be growing as we move to different types of industrial equipment and consumer products. Just think about scale of data for this purpose.

What is my conclusion? The real life data management challenges are coming to engineering and manufacturing software providers. Existing technologies might be not up to the scale to support connected product strategies. I can see manufacturing companies looking for new technologies for connected digital world. I wonder if current PLM databases will be up to the job. The gigantic flow of data management and analysis will require a completely different approach in managing data. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


Develop3D LIVE: The stage for “cloud CAD” competition

March 27, 2015


I attended Develop 3D Live yesterday in Warwick UK. It is probably the only vendor independent event focusing on CAD, 3D, design and engineering. It was my first time at Develop 3D Live. I think number of attendees was about 1’500 – 2’000 people at its peak time. All major CAD vendors presented at the event – Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, PTC and Siemens PLM. It was also first time public appearance for Onshape. The event was live streamed to U.S. time zones and had good twitter coverage at #D3DLive. You can follow the history of twitter stream here. I’m sure Develop3D will make recording available too.

Future CAD – #1 topic on the list

The future of CAD was the #1 topic on the list. The theme was set clear – cloud CAD. The agenda included keynotes from all CAD vendors – Carl Bass (Autodesk), Jon Hircshticsk (Onshape), Dan Staples (Siemens PLM), Gian Paolo Bassi (Dassault / SolidWorks), Brian Thompson (PTC) and the panel discussion (Future CAD) with Jon Hirschtick, Mike Payne, Kevin Schneider, Gian Paolo Bassi and Nikola Bozinovic ( / aka Mainframe2). Presentation, panel, off line conversation made me think about this interesting “cloud moment” in engineering software. I’ve heard it from many people during the event – it is a time to shake CAD industry again.

A new history of cloud CAD

I think, the first time time, word “cloud” was mentioned out loud by one of major CAD vendors was SolidWorks World 2010. That was the time when SolidWorks introduced SolidWorks cloud prototype, which worked in browser and on Mac OS. Here is the passage I captured from Cadalyst article back in 2010.

Next came the buzz-worthy preview of SolidWorks on the cloud (aka software as a service, or SaaS), wherein software is hosted on powerful server farms and users access it using an Internet browser. “This is designed not for flash, but to solve problems and make your life easier,” Ray said, adding that the technology has been in development for three years. Cloud computing overcomes the challenges of software installation and maintenance and, according to the company, keeps data secure. It is multi-platform by its very nature, meaning it is accessible to users regardless of operating system, and it can accommodate touch-based modeling and finger and pen interaction — that is, any wireless-connected device from anywhere could link the user to the full functionality of the 3D software

The period of time between 2010 and 2015 is a good demonstration of the speed of changes in engineering industry domain. It took long five years, lot of debates, many technological changes and here you go – cloud CAD became mainstream topic in the conference agenda. It still doesn’t mean the majority of CAD users are moving to the cloud. But the trend is clear – people are exploring the opportunity and potential of cloud CAD today. The reality – we are just scratching the beginning of a much bigger change of what cloud CAD will do to engineering and manufacturing software. The fun time is ahead.

Business and licensing model changes

Cloud is a topic that often brings confusion between technology and licensing. Cloud based business models are taking their roots back into ASP business (Application Service Provider) and, lately, to SaaS (Software as a Service). SaaS is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. It is sometimes referred to as “on-demand software”. The “hosting” element of SaaS is not required and you can provide subscriptions for the software installed on a desktop too.

Subscription based licensing popularity is growing in engineering and manufacturing software. Many of CAD and PLM vendors are shifting their licensing into “subscription only” these days. Although, licensing is very important, it is not specifically related to “cloud CAD” discussion in my view. There are many examples of software that delivered as installed application, but sold on subscription basis.


The discussion is heating up when it comes to cloud CAD and technologies. I want to mention some of them – data management, graphic, geometry modeling, browser, security, virtualization.

Data management is one of the key components of cloud CAD. Some of you can be surprised, but cloud CAD is coming first to solve PDM problems related to poor data management of CAD files – accessibility, locations, references, copies, sharing, versions, collaboration. To make it happen, cloud CAD should come with solid data foundation capable to manage data using modern database and cloud storage technologies.

Graphic systems. The debates here are going around how rich CAD graphic can be available on different devices – laptops and mobile devices. Remember, original CAD high performance workstations had impressive performance characteristics. Very often, CAD systems worked with dedicated graphic cards and specific memory requirements. How is it going to change? Time will show that.

Geometry modeling is important for CAD and in defines critical foundation characteristics. Interesting enough, this technology is not much in focus for the moment. I didn’t capture many discussions about that. It looks like CAD vendors are going to leverage existing geometrical kernels and will focus on geometric modeling later. Although, I can see some interesting potential to simplify migration from existing CAD systems to new cloud products using same geometric modelers. The most interesting one here is SolidWorks and SolidEdge to Onshape migration (all systems are sharing Parasolid kernel).

Browser. This is an important technological component to deliver cloud CAD. The debates “cloud vs. browser” are heating up. The ability of browser to run full CAD system is an interesting opportunity that cannot be underestimated. If browser will be capable to deliver full CAD functionality, it can become a big deal in removing entry barrier for customers. It is also connected to the discussion about “offline” use. Internet is still unreliable in some places and we are going to hear many debates how to get advantage of cloud CAD without internet access.

Security. This is “red herring” discussion. The topic of security is important, but it is equally important for non-CAD domains. Each group of customers will take their own path and speed in cloud adoption and security requirements will follow these groups.

Virtualization. This is an interesting technological topic. Especially, when it comes to the desktop. The potential to virtualize desktop and run all Windows applications “as is” on the cloud is inspiring many companies. It brings many other questions. One of them – do we really want to bring messy desktop experience to the cloud? I’d prefer to leave all file and data management problems behind and not to move it to the cloud. However, virtualization can be a greatest short term opportunity for cloud and CAD.

Cloud CAD: products and differentiations

I assume all CAD vendors are recognizing cloud as a trend, opportunity and change that is coming to the industry. Their strategies and reactions are different. Some of them are using cloud as a jump start to shake up the industry. On the conservative side, vendors accept cloud as a technology for new type of delivery models. Below, I put a short summary capturing position and reaction of CAD vendors on cloud CAD future as it was discussed during Develop3D Live.

Autodesk: Cloud is strategic direction for Autodesk. According to Autodesk, cloud is not a future, but reality Autodesk is living for the last five years. Autodesk developed many cloud products. Autodesk Fusion360 is a central part of cloud CAD offering. The focus of Fusion360 to provide support for design, engineering and manufacturing workflows by leveraging data and social collaboration.


Dassault Systems / SolidWorks: Cloud is a delivery technology for SolidWorks and Dassault. SolidWorks Industrial Design is a new cloud product for conceptual design. Cloud is part of a broader vision of 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which support a diverse set of design, engineering and manufacturing workflows.


Onshape: As a newcomer company, Onshape is laser focused on technological differentiators – pure browser and no installation required. PDM functions are included in core Onshape product and provide support for versions, branches, undo/redo and collaboration.


PTC: Unfortunately, I missed PTC session at Develop3D Live. In my view, PTC is slowly moving towards cloud. One of their last announcements was about new “cloud PLM” offerings. I also think, PTC was the last CAD vendor that said “cloud” word in public. I haven’t heard about anything related to “cloud CAD” from PTC. But maybe PTC is baking something for coming PTC Live conference .

Siemens PLM / SolidEdge: Cloud is clearly a delivery technology for SolidEdge. Recently announced cloud trial version of SolidEdge delivered using virtualization layer and it is complimentary to their cloud PLM IaaS strategies.


What is my conclusion? It is a time to shake CAD industry with cloud. I’ve heard this statement many times from attendees of Develop3D Live. It will be interesting to see the development of products and technologies for the next few years. For new vendors like Onshape (and maybe few others in stealth mode) it will be a race towards traction and customer adoption. Established CAD vendors can clearly leverage their existing customer base. It is much easier to preserve existing customers rather than sell to new ones. I’m sure we will see many interesting turns and new opportunities discovered on the road to cloud CAD. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Idea go at

Is public cloud reshaping PLM landscape? Time to re-check…

March 6, 2015


The question how to implement PLM cloud is one of the most confusing when it comes to the decision about choosing one of available PLM solutions on the market today. The time when PLM vendors used "cloud" as a differentiation is over. Most of PLM vendors are comfortable with "cloud" word and the number of companies considering cloud as part of their PLM strategy is growing. How to decide what is the right cloud strategy for you? The dilemma of public vs private cloud is one of the most challenging for many companies.

My attention was caught by ReadWrite web article – You Think Private Clouds Are More Stable And Agile Than Public? Think Again. The article provides a set of good arguments for public cloud option. Here is my favorite passage:

Of course, your CIO’s job is only truly threatened by the public cloud if she chooses to fight it, or mindlessly continues to believe she can build a better cloud than Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. For 99.999% of enterprises, building your own cloud or data center may be a comforting way to stick with old habits, but it’s generally going to be the wrong decision. While there are certainly workloads that will perform better or need to be secured within the four walls of your firewall, the reality is that most infrastructure belongs in the cloud.

No, You Can’t. It’s a convenient fiction that public cloud is unreliable compared to private IT. But let’s be clear: it’s fiction, not fact. Here’s the reality on public cloud up-time: last year Amazon Web Services managed 99.9974% uptime despite hefty growth and unparalleled pressure on its infrastructure. Google was even better at 99.999% uptime. (Microsoft Azure performed a bit worse, though still quite well, according to the Cloud Harmony data.)

In lights of this article, I decided to make a check and see what cloud options are supported by different PLM vendors. Here is a short summary of my discovery (alphabetical order of vendors).

1- Aras PLM is supporting Azure public cloud and, in addition to that saying that Aras is capable to run on any cloud infrastructure (public and private). Here is the link to Aras website.

2- Arena Solutions is cloud solutions. There is no specific information on the website about public vs. private options. My assumption, Arena is public cloud.

3- Autodesk PLM360 is cloud only solution. There is no specific public vs. private information on PLM360 website. My assumption PLM360 is public cloud.

4- Dassault Systems announced to support all cloud options by 2015. See my blog about it. I cannot find a link to a specific cloud configuration available for the moment. The following link presents a list of ENOVIA on the cloud products.

5- Oracle Agile PLM is available via hosted environment. The link with more information is here via Oracle partners. I wasn’t able to find specific information about public vs. private cloud options. More information is here.

6- PTC PLM cloud is supporting both private and public cloud options as you can see it from PTC website. Here is the link, which presents PTC cloud portfolio stating private instance for both premium and enterprise cloud options.

7- SAP cloud applications website is not providing any link to PLM solutions. At the same time, SAP PLM website has zero references to cloud solutions.

8- Siemens PLM is supporting IaaS based cloud deployment. According to the information on the following link, TeamCenter is compatible with Amazon Web services and future support is planned for IBM and Microsoft clouds.

What is my conclusion? Most of PLM vendors are supporting public cloud. It is a real change and it just happened over the past 2-3 years. However, devil is in details. A specific architecture of cloud solution can make a difference. In the past, I put several articles discussing details of cloud technologies. The following link can be a good starting point to discuss definition of true cloud PLM solution. In a nutshell it comes to 4 things – available on demand, hosted, elastic, global access. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of ddpavumba at

How PTC is delivering PLM in the cloud?

January 28, 2015


Cloud is trending and it is hard to find a company who is not thinking how to leverage new cloud technologies and business models. However, just to say “cloud” these days means probably nothing. The right question is how to implement cloud. I guess many companies these days are coming to that question. It goes in parallel with the discussion about what is “cloud” and what is “not cloud”, which has some technical and some marketing aspects.

Long time ago, PTC introduced PLM “On Demand“. You should remember this marketing name that later was replaced by SaaS and cloud. According to the PTC website, the solution is available and hosted by IBM. I noticed some indication of PTC move to the cloud back in 2013 after acquisition of NetIDEAS. My writeup about that is here. According to PTC press release NetIDEAS allowed to PTC to develop a better foundation to offer multiple deployment options.

Earlier today, my attention was caught by PTC announcement – PTC Introduces PTC PLM Cloud New PTC Windchill SaaS offerings for small and midsized companies. The following passage is explaining the reason why PTC is coming with cloud product offering

Recognizing that many SMB organizations may lack a dedicated IT staff but still want to adopt a proven PLM environment, PTC designed PTC PLM Cloud specifically to enable team collaboration and data management in the cloud. This flexible offering eliminates the typical, but risky, SMB practice of shared folders and file naming conventions which hamper product development. With more effective and reliable data sharing in the cloud, customers are able to improve product development across teams in different locations, teams working with varying CAD applications, and with external teams such as partners and suppliers who are a growing part of the product development process.

I tried to dig inside of materials available online to see how PTC will provide cloud PLM and what options are available. Navigate here to learn more. It is available with 3 options – standard, premium and enterprise. While names mean nothing, the following definition caught my attention – “instant access” for standard vs. “dedicated database” for others. In addition to that, the differences between options down to “workflow customization” in premium “new business objects and UI customization” for enterprise. It looks like PTC recognized the importance of MCAD data management – all versions are coming with integrated viewing solution and support for Creo, AutoCAD, Inventor and SolidWorks.


The questions that remaining open me at this moment are price and cloud (hosting) architecture. It is essentially important for customers today as I mentioned earlier in my post – Why you should ask your cloud PLM vendor about Devops and Kubernetes.

What is my conclusion? Manufacturing companies are not implementing PLM because of high cost and availability of IT resources. To many customers and vendors today, cloud seems like a right path to remove IT cost and make implementations less painful. From that standpoint, PTC is taking right trajectory by delivering Windchill based PLM solution using cloud. However the devil is in details. I’m looking forward to learn more about “how” PTC on the cloud will be delivered and how it will be different from other PLM clouds from Autodesk, Aras, Dassault Systemes and Siemens PLM. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Social PLM: How to pull a trigger?

November 19, 2014


In my yesterday blog, I shared some of my thoughts about “Facebook at Work” and potential impact on engineering and manufacturing software. It made me think again about all discussions and stories related to social software trend and social PLM.

Social was trending topic 3-4 years ago. Many new companies were founded back those days to realize the idea of “social enterprise”. No doubt it was heavily influenced by the large popularity of social networks and web. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and many other companies supported that trend. In enterprise domains, companies like Yammer and few others made a successful swing by introducing their products in business domain.

CAD vendors reacted on social trend by introducing “social platforms” or “social products”. It was mix of new development (Dassault 3DSwYm) , partnerships with other vendors (Microsoft SharePoint – PTC Windchill Social Link) or technology acquisitions (Autodesk – Qontext). In my view, none of these products and technologies changed a way people used to work in organization. Vendors blamed engineers for anti-social behavior. Customers blamed vendors for non-intuitive user behavior, missed features and bad integration with engineering content.

I put some of my notes about why I think social PLM trend lost the opportunity: Why Engineers Don’t Like Company Private Social Networks? and Why Social PLM 1.0 failed? I guess,despite all attempts, email remains one of the most visible collaboration tool for most of engineering and manufacturing companies.

At the same time, I believe, it is a time to rethink ideas of how to bring social into business eco-system. This is not an easy task. Some of key elements can be – structured enterprise communication, integration with existing messaging and communication system and thinking about social in connection to task management.

I had a short tweeterstorm with Jim Brown yesterday, following my blog about “Facebook At Work”. Jim kind of dismissed my points about usefulness of Facebook as a business social tool. Jim stands behind his old article – What I Learned: We are not Going to Design an Airplane on Facebook!

@olegshilovitsky: Maybe @jim_techclarity will rethink his 5 years old statement about airplanes design on Facebook

@jim_techclarity: @olegshilovitsky No, not rethinking it. Re read the post and you will see my predictions are pretty spot on. This time, at least

@jim_techclarity: @olegshilovitsky There is a lot more low hanging fruit elsewhere. Easier to add social to PLM than PLM to social. Talk to you in 2019 ;-)


Most of the time, I’m in agreement with Jim. However, I disagree on his view on social software add-on role. We should not view “social” software as an addition to something else. This is a mistake that many enterprise software vendors did in the past few years. Social is a reflection of people behavior. I believe, this is a fundamental thing in what Facebook did – to emphasize the importance of “real person” identification in social network. All social networks before dismissed the importance of identification. Facebook made it as a core function and won. Of course, it doesn’t mean the same thing will work for social enterprise or PLM.

Facebook at Work is coming to capture attention of people during work time. Today, many places are banning Facebook as a destruction. I guess, Facebook wants to figure out how to offer social value for people during their work time. To me it means to crack “social behavior at work”.

What is my conclusion? The main point of “social” is not to become a nice addition to enterprise software to improve collaboration. Unfortunately, this is how most of enterprise software vendors (PLM included) understood it. Collaboration is important and existing PLM products need to focus how to improve user experience. But, social is not about that. Social is about “behavior” of people at work. Today, it is mostly around email and important business systems. Not much social. We don’t know how to pull the trigger of social software in a company. In order to do that, we need to think about “behavior”. We need to think how to make people addicted to business social function through the value it brings on everyday basis. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

photo credit: Ian Ruotsala via photopin cc


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