Collaboration is critical functions in PLM applications. To unlock the potential of social collaboration for engineers is a dream of PLM vendors for the last few years. At the time people may see Social PLM DOA, I don’t see the opportunity to improve communication and collaboration as a lost one. We certainly passed what I called Social PLM 1.0 era. In my view, absence of ultimate "single social function" made first wave of social PLM products to fail. I can see future opportunities in PLM social mobile applications and some other directions I want to discuss today.
Noise vs. signal ratio was too high for most of social collaboration products. This is true for many "uncontrolled" social communication models based on "following" people, groups or even products/project data. However, direct chatting has no problem of noise. If you can control the way you can take a communication (or discussion) to a closer list of subscribers, it will solve the problem of noise. I explored this idea last week in my post few days ago – Do we need PLM walkie-talkie?
The following WSJ.D article caught my attention yesterday – Twitter’s Product Checklist: Better Search and Group Chats? Twitter financial chief Anthony Noto exposed some ideas about Twitter’s product roadmap. I touched the importance of search in my 2 years old article about future PLM user experience. Today I want to speak more about Group Chat. In my view, this feature is very interesting. Here is a passage from the article that speaks Twitter group chat idea.
The CFO also hinted that group chats might be in the pipeline. Direct messaging, Twitter’s private chat function, has traditionally been put on the backburner. Because Twitter’s service is public in nature, the role of private messaging has always been a subject of debate within the company. Over the last year, amid the explosion of messaging apps, Twitter has given direct messaging a more prominent role. Noto suggested direct messaging might become more social.
Today, users can only send a direct message to one account at a time. But if, say, Noto tweeted about a football game and a couple of his “college buddies” replied to it, “I’m not sure I want to have (that) conversation in front of my boss and the rest of the 271 global users. I might want to take that to a private setting which you can do through direct messaging. Today you can only do that one to one as opposed to one to many. So that’s an example of innovation around sharing or expression that we can pursue over time.”
What I found very interesting is a mix between open and close communication channels. Most of products in engineering collaboration field today today can do one of them. However, to make both and to create a user-controlled switch between them can be a neat feature.
What is my conclusion? Communication and collaboration space is hot. We are overloaded with information. Search can solve the problem of getting right information from your archives. However, search cannot solve the problem of getting right real time information and optimize communication between people. Private chatting applications are booming these days. But we haven’t seen one that fits engineering domain. There is no silver bullet in collaboration domain. To find right combination of features and experience for engineers can be a tricky job. I can see it as a opportunity on the table for existing PLM vendors and startups. Just my thoughts…