CAD, Engineers and Online Communities

February 19, 2014

cad-engineers-community

Remember our life before internet? The meaning of community was about social group that shares common values. Actually, the history of communities is longer than history of CAD software :). So called "Community Rules" were mentioned in one of the first scrolls found in Qumran Cave. Community word often explains common geography or environment. However, in human communities it is usually comes down to needs, belief, intent, risks, etc. Internet expanded borders of social groups and made possible to create virtual communities. The result – massive creation of online communities (social networks). Some of them, such as Facebook, started as a virtual continuation of physical social groups (academic organization). Social networks today represent huge segment of online internet activities.

The success of social business and social networking raised multiple questions among developers of business software. Collaboration still remains one of the biggest problem in organization. Geographical distribution is another reason why companies are looking how to improve communication. Software vendors are coming with the ideas of software to collaborate similar to social networking web sites. In addition to that, community creation is related to customer activities. This is where a potential to link collaboration in an organization and customer activities.

So, what is the secret of successful community creation? I was reading The collision of communities few days ago. Article brings some interesting perspectives on community organizations and some driving factors behind community work. Among them, article speaks about Jelly (Q&A search), Wut and Secret (anonymous status apps). These are communities too. Author compares these communities with communities companies are creating these days. Fundamentally, in order to be successful, communities are sharing the same common behavior and interest. Here is my favorite passage from the article:

Every social startup that launches hope to have a large, organic community organize around their product. They hire community managers and product managers spend a lot of time thinking about how to increase engagement. Jelly, Wut and Secret, each different in application, have at it core, the need to build and cultivate a vibrant community to succeed, and in order to do so, they must remember the first community rule: He shall guide them with knowledge and instruct them in the mysteries of wonder and truth in the midst of the members of the community, so that they shall behave decently with one another in all that has been revealed to them.

Engineering software companies are joining the bandwagon community building. Social CAD, Social PLM, Social Collaboration – for the last few years we’ve heard a lot about how community driven (social) software will change the way we do business. We can only speculate about successes and failures of social software. However, I want to bring two examples of communities related to engineering software – SolidWorks Users and GrabCAD.

SolidWorks has large and successful community. Nobody can argue. The common interests and needs among them is to share knowledge and experience of how to use SolidWorks. In my view, it was extremely important to all participants since it allowed to them (engineers) to get CAD system support. Most of SolidWorks users are working for small firms that had no budget and engineering IT to help them.

GrabCAD is an interesting example. Started few years ago as "Facebook for Engineers", it succeeded to gather about 1 million engineers to share CAD files online. Here is my pure speculation how it was done. Re-use is one of the fundamental engineering behavior. You can save a lot of time by re-using existing design even if you will modify it. Back in my university years, to have an old similar project was a huge time saving factor in every project I did. GrabCAD provided to engineers models to reuse CAD models for the best price – free. In addition to that, it helps engineers to self-promote their work.

Think about these two examples. In both cases, focus on identification of "community rule" was a key to success. It should be something that will drive common interests and benefits of all participants. Wikipedia article about organizational communication can be a good source of learning and additional information. Here are few assumptions I captured:

All we really need to understand communication in organizations is (a) observable and replicable behaviors that can be transformed into variables by some form of measurement, and (b) formally replicable syllogisms that can extend theory from observed data to other groups and settings. Organizations are mechanical things, in which the parts (including employees functioning in defined roles) are interchangeable. What works in one organization will work in another similar organization. Individual differences can be minimized or even eliminated with careful management techniques.

What is my conclusion? Ask two engineers about how to do a project – you will get 3 options. To work with engineers is like herding cats. Nevertheless, the focus should be on identification and capturing of behaviors that can help engineers in their everyday life. Be prepared to discover something different from traditional organizational goals like "improve quality" or "decrease cost". By capturing and replicating engineers’ behaviors you can find a recipe to organize a successful engineering community. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


Social PDM via Google Drive Activity?

January 15, 2014

google-drive-logo

The word “social” is getting into many places these days. However, very often, it is overloaded and misunderstood by people coming from different domains. It is easy when you are in social networks open world. Social meaning is clearly associated with Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. However, when you get into business software and enterprise, the purpose is not so obvious. Big enterprise vendors are betting on their social future by acquiring social platforms and software. However, the way social experience can be applied for business purposes is not clear for many of them.

Some interesting things are happening in the intersection of office software and social features. Google Apps is an interesting place to watch. The process of merging Google+ and Google App platform is probably going to happen in a longer future. Meanwhile, Google just added an interesting feature that caught my attention earlier today – Google Drive Activity Stream.

Activity stream clearly has social notion and, therefore, very interesting in terms how business software can intersect with social features. Tracking changes of shared docs on Google Drive is much more easy with activity streams. It also helps to collaborate with other participants.

If you have Google account you can experience new feature now. However, if you are not on Google, Navigate to the following blog article – A new activity stream in Drive shows you what’s changed to read more and see few screenshots.

Drive-activity

Google activity streams made me think about future intersection of PDM and social trends. I’ve made some manipulations by uploading few engineering files to my Google account and trying to play with them. I see Google drive with Activity stream can provide an ideal cloud social PDM user experience. You can clearly imaging few absent features – viewer and change commands. On the picture below, you can a small mockup.

Google-drive-social-pdm

What is my conclusion? We can speculate about Google play into PDM / PLM domain. I’d not bet my future on this. At the same time, customers are looking for well-understood user experience from their everyday life. Google can provide some of them. Google Drive Activity Stream is a good example of social features adapted to business software. A good note to PDM/PLM product managers and user experience designers. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


Social PLM and domain-restricted Google+ communities

January 7, 2014

plm-google-private-communities

Social topic might have another interesting turn. During few days off I had last week, I was reviewing unread social feeds and found an interesting article speaking about new Google+ feature – an additional security layer. New configuration of domain restricted communities can insure only people from a specific organization are able to join. Google is clearly striking against Microsoft Yammer features that are going to be embedded into SharePoint.

Here is the TheNextWeb article. It provides a glimpse of what Google+ does. Here is the passage I found very important if I think about PLM, engineering and manufacturing.

Yet it goes further than administrators merely being able to set restricted communities as the default for the whole organization. Employees can also choose to create communities open to people outside of their domain, so clients, agencies, or business partners can join in the discussion. Once a community is created, an employee can share files, videos, photos, and events from Google Drive. Community owners can change settings, manage membership, or invite other team members to join.

The ability to add people from outside of the domain can make new feature applicable for supply chain communities. Work connected to Google Drive with the ability to share large files can help to share CAD files and other information.

Google Enterprise blog article Private conversations with restricted Google+ communities provides more information and screen captures. Google article helps you to understand types of communities and access layers that can be created – open, private and public. I found a short video which demonstrates Google+ private communities.

What is my conclusion? The way Google+ develops community can potentially fit very well to expand in the engineering and manufacturing organization. Google+ user experience is well known and adoption level can be high. In my view, the absence of security layer was a showstopper. Google Drive can help to share large file. Specialized CAD sharing networks like GrabCAD and Autodesk 360 will still have an advantage of CAD viewers and special design tools integration. How long will take to integrate the same tools into Google+? A good question to ask. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


Not an evil PDM can save engineer’s memory

December 15, 2013

pdm-memory-saver

PDM is not a new domain in enterprise, engineering and manufacturing software. It might sounds like PDM functions are clearly defined. Navigate to Tech-clarity blog – PDM buyer’s guide and you will have a good "shopping list" for PDM system and functions. Unfortunately, engineers are not appreciating PDM. Even more, if you ask engineers, the majority of them will tell you that PDM is actually in many aspects makes their lives more complicated and slow working process. Most of PDM values and functions are more appreciated by managers rather than by engineers and designers. These days, industry and technology around PDM are quite disruptive. It comes from different dimensions – cloud file storage (like Google drive and Dropbox), immersive file sharing services and social networks.

Earlier during weekend, I was reading New York Times article – An App That Will Never Forget a File. The article speaks about Evernote – application you might be using already in your everyday life. The interesting spin NYT article takes is by presenting Evernote as a lifesaver for people in their everyday work with files and other contents (e.g. photos, notes and many others). Here is an interesting passage I captured:

Evernote provides a comprehensive single archive of your digital life, giving you one location to store and find practically everything saved on a computer or phone. And the files are automatically backed up on Evernote’s servers. It even makes sharing things with others far easier than emailing attachments around — but it will do that, too.

At first, Evernote may seem redundant to existing tools like email and iCloud, but the service is hard to give up after a week’s use. You won’t want to return to a life of running from device to device for your files. If you start to use the program frequently, you’ll probably find that the premium upgrade makes a lot of sense. With the upgrade, you will have a hard time reaching the storage limit unless you are saving a lot of video. Second, it allows you to search within documents, which can come in incredibly handy. Third, it will let you store copies of important items on your computer or phone, an inevitable lifesaver for anyone who travels without reliable Internet access.

Article about Evernote made me think about how to spin off future PDM capabilities to make PDM appreciated by engineers. Let think about engineer’s memory. To remember what are you doing during design iteration is very complicated. When it happens in collaborative environment with many engineers involved, it can be next to impossible. However, if you will think about possible merge of design iteration, people can think you are dreamer. Now, let’s make another steps towards the future and imagine this functionality will come to engineers with no extra effort (similar to Evernote and Google Docs revisions support). That’s can make a clear difference with today’s PDM environment.

What is my conclusion? Shakeout is needed in PDM. To keep developing similar functions we did for the last 10-15 years won’t create a difference for engineers and designers. We need to have "not an evil PDM concept". The new generation of PDM will capture engineer’s activity seamlessly from multiple devices and in any place (think about Evernote strategy). It will allow to engineers to free their memory and focus on design and innovation. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


What Social PLM Can Learn From Facebook Decline?

December 2, 2013

social-noise

It is hard to find a company that are not trying to do "social" these days. The number of Facebook copycats everywhere is skyrocketing. Engineering and manufacturing software is not an exclusion and run into this game too. Social PLM is part of this trend. Even I can see less trials to develop a system called "social PLM" these days, there are lots of services that claim "social roots" in what they do.

In my view, this is a perfect time to watch some Facebook trends and see if we can predict some potential correction in the growing pile of social services for engineering, manufacturing and enterprise at all. Two data points. One comes from the article – Teenagers say goodbye to Facebook and hello to messenger apps. Author speaks about growing popularity of focused messaging apps (e.g. WhatsApp) and interest of specific groups of people to maintain communication in a closed groups. Here is an interesting passage:

No surprise, then, that Facebook is no longer a place for uninhibited status updates about pub antics, but an obligatory communication tool that younger people maintain because everyone else does.

Another data point comes from Reference Heap. Facebook site became much less useful within time. Sometimes algorithm present lots of pointless and useless information. At the same time, you are in danger to miss a very important message from your friends and families. Here is a passage with angry passage from Dear Facebook, You Suck article:

“One of my best friend’s mother lost her battle with cancer the other day, my friend wrote a beautiful status update commemorating her mother, it got 297 likes and tons of comments before I noticed it… You know how I noticed it? My mother called me and told me about her mother dying and I went to her actual page to see for myself. But you know what I did notice? Becky hates Mondays. My 3rd cousin whom I haven’t seen since a family reunion 10 years ago started playing his umpteenth game on Facebook.”

These two data points above made me think about potential danger turn "social enterprise" software can make by bringing everybody in the company to the "social game". The social stream will become overloaded. The chances to miss the right information will be too high and to signal/noise ratio will become too low. Dangerous place…

What is my conclusion? Social networks became so popular by their ability to connect people and enable communication and data sharing in a much more efficient way. However, I can see a limit to social user and data experience. Think about lots of people in a company sharing their updates and information in the same way we share photos on Facebook. I can see the effectiveness of this communication going down. Pretty much in the same way we are diving in zillions of emails in our email box, we will be smashed by a tsunami of social updates. Kinda different social way? Or maybe not much different from an email? Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


What “social features” PLM can steal from SharePoint?

November 25, 2013

tag

Collaboration is still one of the hot topics in PLM space. I was watching PLM TV report about Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE Platform from Engineering.com. A bit long (my taste) video provides a comprehensive overview of what Dassault’s key execs are saying about 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the last Dassault conference. Lots of them are related to complexity of data, connecting information sources, provide better user experience especially for top tier mangers. However, "social" remained the key word in many of conversations connected to the value of 3DExperience as a "new way to collaborate". Social was one of the key points of new DS platform innovation. This is how engineering.com captured that:

Verdi asks about the platform and architecture and also how the changes will impact product development teams. He delves into how Dassault envisions that teams will use the social and collaborative tools as part of their engineering processes.

However, very often, it is not simple to see what specific "social" features can enable a new way to collaborate. As I mentioned in my previous blog – Why Social PLM 1.0 failed, a single social utility is what most of vendors missed in their plans to deliver a new way to collaborate socially. An interesting article caught my attention few days ago – 3 Cool Things about SharePoint in Office 365 Enterprise. One of features was specifically "social oriented". It was about simple and well-known tagging – hashtags (#) and at tags (@). I captured the following passage:

Bring social inside the walls of your organization with SharePoint’s social features. With SharePoint 2010, you could follow sites and tag colleagues. In the 2013 flavor, you can have a newsfeed where you can use social features like hashtags (#) and at tags (@) to track ideas and topics and mention people in your posts. In a news feed for a particular team, you might put hashtags on customer names, industry publication names, or create a tag for a particular issue. Then someone can just click the active tag to see all posts relative to that topic.

SharePoint cool features made me think again about "single utility" that can provide some practical sense to a new way to collaborate presented by PLM companies. Tagging feature can be quite powerful. If I combine it with the ides of data complexity, multiple data sources and user experience, we can get a complete new way to collaborate.

What is my conclusion? Social is a very powerful topic. However, most of enterprise companies lost the focus to provide a specific meaning to social features by applying the same principles companies like Facebook and Twitter empowered their own solutions. In the context of engineering, manufacturing and, probably, any enterprise organization, Facebook-like functionality is clearly not enough to change some fundamental collaboration principles. I think, SharePoint folks understood it quite well after all ups and downs SharePoint had in the past. Therefore, I can see the value of some specific features in the overall social collaboration domain. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


What PLM can learn from public social conversation?

October 16, 2013

social-data-plm-20

Social PLM is not cool any more. The article Why is Social PLM DOA? from PLMJim popped up in my twitter stream earlier today and drove my attention to social PLM topic again. In my view, it gets nasty this time. We loved the idea of social communication and how to these tools can improve collaboration. However, it all gets wrong. Here is the passage Jim is using to explain that:

There have been many articles on the value that social tools can bring to your business. However, the uptake of social tools within Engineering organizations in the guise of social PLM has been very low; possibly non-existent.Why is this the case? Is there no value in Engineering for social tools, or is it just hard to exploit these tools in the product development environment? There is clearly a need for more social collaboration during product design, so it would stand to reason that these social tools would have some value. As I have introduced many engineers to Social PLM in my PLM Certificate Education classes, I have often wondered about the lack of enthusiasm for these kinds of tools.

So, after all hype, the solution is not there and demand is near to zero. I’ve been thinking about social topic and PLM quite some time and I agree with Jim’s point. Maybe not in a such disruptive form. I called it - Why social PLM 1.0 failed?  in the beginning of the year.

However, here is the deal. The more I think about social, the more I’m convinced PLM vendors and startups in “social PLM” domain took a wrong approach by trying to convince that “social collaboration” will provide a silver bullet to improve communication between people. In my view, it is totally wrong. People are locked in silos and not interested to get out of their silos. This is how organizations work and the best communication tools cannot change this trend for the moment.

So, what is the potential future leverage of social tools in engineering and manufacturing? In my view, social data is a potential Klondike for manufacturing companies. It is a place where manufacturing companies can get ideas about customer demands, future product improvements and existing product failures.

I’ve been reading makeuseof article Facebook usage is changing, so which online activities are growing. The article brings an interesting perspective on what happens with social tools. It speaks about variety of tools people use anonymously to publish social information. Tools like tumblr, instagram, whatsapp, twitter. Some of them are well known and some of them are not very popular in professional social space.

Manufacturing companies are sensitive to social activities these days. Look on how CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk was handling Tesla Model S fire very recently. It will give you a sense of potential value and danger manufacturing companies can experience by missing this type of sensitive social information.

tesla-social-model-s-fire

What is my conclusion? I think Social PLM 1.0 was a nice try and… failure. It was good experience to learn how mimicking something buzzy and hyping is dangerous without focusing on values for individuals and companies. I’m expecting to see new Social PLM 2.0 to come soon with new agenda, ideas and lesson learned. Social data has a huge potential. Not to leverage this potential will be a huge mistake made by PLM vendors. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


PLM and Common Social Platform Behavior

September 3, 2013

It has been long time since I discussed PLM and social trend on my blog. Social is going mainstream these days. It is hard to surprise people with social things now. People made their conclusions and follow their own social patterns and habits. One of the topics that often brings discussion is related to how “engineers” are getting into social work. Few days ago, my attention caught the following tweet from UpFront.eZine (voice by Ralph Grabowski):

Being an engineer, I just don’t get the whole “social” thing. Engineers are, by nature, not social. So, Dassault, stop forcing social on us.

This tweet made me think again about what means “to get social”. In my view, social network functionality is getting more and more standard. Like Windows File Explorer 15 years ago, the social stream becomes a commodity in terms of what it should provide. Different social networks are experimenting in providing an innovative way to communicate and the functionality gets cross-copy between products.

I’ve been reading Why Twitter’s new Conversations view is a big deal and why it matters for its IPO by GigaOM over the weekend. One of the points in the article is related to the fact all social networks are look the same (or similar) these days. However, I found the notion of standard social behavior interesting. Here is the passage I liked:

What is going on? Well, how about the standardization of all social platforms around the concept of objects and comments, especially on mobile. Objects are photos, videos, links, location data, status updates — and people like to share these pieces of comments. The behaviors around these objects are also getting standardized in the form of likes, shares and re-shares. The content shapes too are getting standard — squares mostly — thanks to the shift to the mobile. In very near future, it would be hard to distinguish the difference between the timelines/social streams/news feeds on anything social: Instagram, Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter.

While I agree with the opinion of authors about standardization of social platforms around such concepts like “object” and “comment”, the first one is the most important when it comes to the conversation about PLM and social. PLM “objects” are special and very different from photos, videos and web links. The nature of PLM objects is structural information with quite complex visualization rules. Think about CAD assemblies, Drawings, Bill of Materials and more. Standard social commentary around photo and video links just cannot work with such complex context. The ability of social PLM to navigate to the right contextual object is also complex.

What is my conclusion? The majority of innovation in PLM and social field will happen around the ability of the system to expose right engineering or design contextual object – CAD model, drawing, BOM, etc. The ability to link the conversation around a specific contextual object will become a competitive advantage as well as unique value proposition of social PLM vendors. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


PLM, Social Apps and How to Design Next Airplane on the Facebook?

March 27, 2013

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.

yammer-office365-social.jpg

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…

Best, Oleg


Social PLM: From File Explorer to Activity Streams

March 20, 2013

Social hype is getting down. I can say it about PLM industry too. We can see less “social startups” and less marketing hype about how next big social revolution will come and solve all existing problems in PLM technologies and systems. If you want to catch up with my previous thoughts about social PLM, I recommend you to read – How to prevent social PLM from marketing fluff? and Why Social PLM 1.0 Failed? My conclusion about the failure of Social PLM focused on the fact “social PLMs” missed the value of customer function and instead of that, focused on value proposition only. As a result of that, they missed usage and customer adoption – two factors that absolutely important to make a shift in PLM systems.

It is interesting to see how social systems are expanding their influence in other enterprise systems like CRM and ERP. One of them is Chatter for Salesforce.com. I’ve been reading TechCrunch article about Chatter update for mobile yesterday. Navigate to the following link to read it – The New Salesforce.com CRM Platform Is Chatter And It’s Made For Mobile. What was interesting is how Chatter is proliferating to become a universal way to get information out of CRM system and communicate with other people. It made me think about social system and shifting paradigm from File Explorer way to Social way. Here is an interesting passage I captured:

Chatter, the company’s activity stream service that it launched in 2010, now has the capability for a customer to access records, edit them and take action on an account, all from a mobile device. It essentially brings CRM to the customer’s mobile phone, iPad or tablet. The updated app is now available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. The app is a significant improvement over the Salesforce.com mobile app, and has one feature that is particularly noteworthy. Chatter Publisher overlays the Chatter activity stream. Its look is reminiscent of the tiles feature on Windows Mobile Phone and the overall Windows UI.

File Exporer Paradigm

For a long time, File Explorer was a main user experience paradigm we had on the computer. File explorer was with us from early days of Windows. File explorer (folder) paradigm expanded with the tools like Outlook and becomes even wider discovery paradigm for information – folders / hierarchical discovery.

File explorer paradigm expanded even into first versions of mobile devices. On the following picture you can see an early version of mobile device UI also presenting sort of file explorer.

PDM/PLM systems are inherited File Explorer paradigm in many ways. Most of successful PDM projects inherited File Explorer user experience because it was familiar and usable. Even today, many PLM UIs looks like File Explorer.

Social Paradigm

Social paradigm roots are taking us to early days of social networks. It started as a communication tools only (messaging, chatting) and expanded as a tools to share content among group of people (Twitter, Facebook, Google+). The function of content share became even more important when mobile came to place. The ability to embed content such as video, photos in communication expanded the reach and value of these tools. The information delivery model shifted from “folder, file and share” to “activity stream with embedded content” coming from social peers.

Enterprise vendors took the activity stream paradigm beyond the point of photo/video sharing. Social applications like Chatter and others are helping you to share information content coming from files and other enterprise application in the way similar to Facebook and Google+ are sharing photos and videos. The last Chatter update just proved it again.

What is my conclusion? Shifting paradigms. In my view, we see it just in front of our eyes. What was obvious and straightforward experience for PDM/PLM systems for the last decade will become a nonsense for the generation of 2010s customers. People want their working environment to have the same experience as games, internet and mobile devices today. I can see “activity streams” paradigm as an an interesting experience that will displace current enterprise systems UI in many places. I don’t expect enterprise systems to be like Facebook. However, I think social applications will play a significant role in the future of user experience. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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