2011 – The Year Social Computing Explodes in NPD and PLM?
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What I learned this week … came after reflecting on this video on social computing in PLM I ran across on PTC’s website. I spent a significant amount of my time and energy last year trying to understand the implications of the social networking explosion on product innovation, product development, and engineering. It was interesting to listen to the podcast with the benefit of time moving on a bit to reassess the situation and see what will likely happen in 2011. So what happens next?

Brief Background and Views

Take a look at the video, but my viewpoint in a nutshell is:

  • Social networking and social media have ramped up significantly in our personal lives (Facebook, YouTube, etc.)
  • Social computing is continuing to gain ground in work environments and applications (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
  • Product innovation is a team sport (inherently requiring collaboration and cross-functional participation)
  • Facebook and similar tools aren’t appropriate for new product development (NPD), but the concepts are (see Facebook fail post)
  • The content for the social interaction around product development and engineering is the product (making it a natural to integrate it with PLM)
  • Early adopters are on the move and gaining benefits (see early results from the Spike research I worked on with Kalypso)

My Crystal Ball Says 2011 Will Bring…

First, I don’t have a crystal ball and I can’t see the future. All I can do is tell you that this is one of the most obvious directions companies will take. This is as close to a “no-brainer” as they come. I do believe that social computing is happening in product innovation and NPD and will continue to expand. The tie to product data is also intuitive to me, although it will take more time and work. So here are my thoughts:

  • Collaboration – This will happen sooner rather than later, it is the proverbial “low hanging fruit.” Companies will leverage generalized applications like Microsoft SharePoint, as well as specialty applications like Vuuch. The PLM vendors are actively working here as well, including PTC with SocialLink and Dassault Systemes with SwYm, and Siemens PLM. Integration to product data and existing PLM process will take longer, but the direction has been set. With so many companies still trying to get the basics in place (let’s face it, there are a lot of product data management (PDM) projects still in the works to put the foundation in place) I don’t think that this will cross into the majority this year, but there will be a lot of projects going on.
  • Discovery - Finding ideas, people, and information internally is coming. While collaboration is typically within the known product development or engineering team, discovery extends this to a broader group. I think we will see progress on this in 2011. This can start relatively easy with discussion groups and innovation portals. I see a lot of companies experimenting with this. I believe a lot of this will be internally focused, however, which doesn’t stretch business models or existing processes but enhances them.
  • Product Knowledge Management -This is an interesting one, and I think it will take longer. The promise here is not only to collaborate and discover, but to capture that interaction for future reference. This requires integrating the interactions back into the product record and storing them. The value is there, but it has to be done in a coordinated, integrated fashion so will take longer (in my opinion).
  • Community, VOC, New IP -Developing external communities and gathering ideas from the outside is something I have always said will take longer. I am rethinking that. It requires people to think differently and develop new business models. But I have seen innovative companies get behind this.  For example, Kimberly-Clark talks about an innovative program in this interview. My opinion has changed as I view this as a standalone initiative. Full integration to innovation processes and NPD (and particularly engineering) will likely take longer, but a good idea that doesn’t require a huge investment is not going to wait in an innovative company. I see vendors like Brightidea, Congistreamer, Imaginatik, Spigit, and a host of others making an impact here in addition to the traditional companies.

Implications for Manufacturers

Things are happening. The world is changing the way we communicate, and the leaders will find a way to be more innovative and drive higher levels of profitability. Innovation has started and will continue. When? That is the big question. My crystal ball only works backwards (researching what has already happened). But I think we will see a lot of progress this year. Check back with me in 2012 when my crystal ball (aka rearview mirror) is working.

So those are my thoughts for 2011, I hope you found it interesting. Let me know what you think, or more importantly what you are planning to do about it!

Comments

  1. Prasad says:

    Nice article. Here are a few more social initiatives in Product Development that I know of.
    1) Siemens has a product called Team Center Collaboration which is build on top of MS Share Point. This was in existence for long time and a very stable product.
    2) http://www.marechi.com : A social networking site for 3D SImulations. It is to 3D CAE models and Simulations, what youtube is for videos.

    • Prasad,
      Thanks for your comment. The Teamcenter Community product from Siemens is a very good example as well, thank you. I am also paying attention to what they are doing with HD3D which and how they pull together product data from Teamcenter into the design itself.
      I am not familiar with Marechi, looks like they are in beta mode. Are they similar to 3DVIA? I will look into them. Do you have any suggestions on who I should contact there? My e-mail address is on the Tech-Clarity website if you want to send it to me directly.
      Thank you,
      Jim

  2. Prasad says:

    Nice article. Here are a few more social initiatives in Product Development that I know of.n1) Siemens has a product called Team Center Collaboration which is build on top of MS Share Point. This was in existence for long time and a very stable product. n2) http://www.marechi.com : A social networking site for 3D SImulations. It is to 3D CAE models and Simulations, what youtube is for videos.

    • Jim Brown says:

      Prasad,
      Thanks for your comment. The Teamcenter Community product from Siemens is a very good example as well, thank you. I am also paying attention to what they are doing with HD3D which and how they pull together product data from Teamcenter into the design itself.
      I am not familiar with Marechi, looks like they are in beta mode. Are they similar to 3DVIA? I will look into them. Do you have any suggestions on who I should contact there? My e-mail address is on the Tech-Clarity website if you want to send it to me directly.
      Thank you,
      Jim

    • Prasad,nThanks for your comment. The Teamcenter Community product from Siemens is a very good example as well, thank you. I am also paying attention to what they are doing with HD3D which and how they pull together product data from Teamcenter into the design itself.nI am not familiar with Marechi, looks like they are in beta mode. Are they similar to 3DVIA? I will look into them. Do you have any suggestions on who I should contact there? My e-mail address is on the Tech-Clarity website if you want to send it to me directly.nThank you,nJim

  3. John says:

    I think that you forgot one plm/ppm Vendor coming up on the NPD-horizon namely SOPHEON (with Accolade) but especially with their Roadmapping software “Vision Strategist” more and more companies realize the advantages of implementing roadmapping software.

    • John,
      I am familiar with Sopheon and their portfolio management and roadmapping software solutions. I wasn’t aware that either had a social computing aspect. Maybe I need to check back in with them?
      Thanks,
      Jim

      PS – sorry if this comment shows up as a duplicate for some. I posted this last week and it was not showing on the comments page so I reposted it.

  4. John says:

    I think that you forgot one plm/ppm Vendor coming up on the NPD-horizon namely SOPHEON (with Accolade) but especially with their Roadmapping software “Vision Strategist” more and more companies realize the advantages of implementing roadmapping software.

    • Jim Brown says:

      John,
      I am familiar with Sopheon and their portfolio management and roadmapping software solutions. I wasn’t aware that either had a social computing aspect. Maybe I need to check back in with them?
      Thanks,
      Jim

    • John,nI am familiar with Sopheon and their portfolio management and roadmapping software solutions. I wasn’t aware that either had a social computing aspect. Maybe I need to check back in with them?nThanks,nJimnnPS – sorry if this comment shows up as a duplicate for some. I posted this last week and it was not showing on the comments page so I reposted it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Interesting discussion Jim. I am not as bullish on this for 2011. Primarily due to where the world currently sits with regard to the economy. The global economy is currently still in, or exiting slowly from a deep recession. I would think that most (all?) mfrs will try focus on keeping their ship afloat and doing the “core” right, rather than dip their toes in the newish area of “social” PLM. Sure there will be some advancement, but I think it will be a few years until this really takes hold at a broader level.

    • Scott,
      Thanks for sharing your view. I have seen a lot of companies picking up projects they had on the back burner. A lot of these projects are being done with very few resources and sometimes being done without a corporate mandate. Companies are starting small and experimenting. Maybe the difference of opinion comes from perspective? I don’t see this as a big money maker for vendors in the near term. But I do see manufacturers increasing their efforts. I think we both believe it is strategic for vendors to move in this direction, regardless of whether there is short-term money involved. Would you agree?

  6. Interesting discussion Jim. I am not as bullish on this for 2011. Primarily due to where the world currently sits with regard to the economy. The global economy is currently still in, or exiting slowly from a deep recession. I would think that most (all?) mfrs will try focus on keeping their ship afloat and doing the “core” right, rather than dip their toes in the newish area of “social” PLM. Sure there will be some advancement, but I think it will be a few years until this really takes hold at a broader level.

    • Scott,nThanks for sharing your view. I have seen a lot of companies picking up projects they had on the back burner. A lot of these projects are being done with very few resources and sometimes being done without a corporate mandate. Companies are starting small and experimenting. Maybe the difference of opinion comes from perspective? I don’t see this as a big money maker for vendors in the near term. But I do see manufacturers increasing their efforts. I think we both believe it is strategic for vendors to move in this direction, regardless of whether there is short-term money involved. Would you agree?

  7. Erin Schumpert says:

    Hi Jim,

    Very interesting article and thanks for the mention.

    There are a number of industry leaders who are doing an amazing job of creating engaging employee and customer idea communities. Telecom leader AT&T has over 300,000 employees and has a set of ideas (that were discovered using Spigit) that are set to be announced later this year in their 2011 product line. BusinessWeek wrote an article that features AT&T and their use of Spigit. You can read more here:

    http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/sep2010/tc2010097_904409.htm

    Other companies such as AAA, Overstock.com and Comcast are also doing some amazing things when it comes to innovation.

    BusinessWeek also recently featured Spigit in a video where Cisco discusses their quest with Spigit to find its next big business ideas from employees and outsiders alike.

    You can watch the video here:

    http://feedroom.businessweek.com/?fr_story=c16a8ecdc55c12d00795f89d4dfee184a05293eb&chan=technology_special+report+–+ceo+guide+to+collective+intelligence_special+report:+ceo+guide+to+collective+intelligence

    If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out eschumpert@spigit.com.

    Thanks!
    Erin

  8. Erin Schumpert says:

    Hi Jim,nnVery interesting article and thanks for the mention. nnThere are a number of industry leaders who are doing an amazing job of creating engaging employee and customer idea communities. Telecom leader AT&T has over 300,000 employees and has a set of ideas (that were discovered using Spigit) that are set to be announced later this year in their 2011 product line. BusinessWeek wrote an article that features AT&T and their use of Spigit. You can read more here:nnhttp://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/sep2010/tc2010097_904409.htmnnOther companies such as AAA, Overstock.com and Comcast are also doing some amazing things when it comes to innovation.nnBusinessWeek also recently featured Spigit in a video where Cisco discusses their quest with Spigit to find its next big business ideas from employees and outsiders alike.nnYou can watch the video here:nnhttp://feedroom.businessweek.com/?fr_story=c16a8ecdc55c12d00795f89d4dfee184a05293eb&chan=technology_special+report+u2013+ceo+guide+to+collective+intelligence_special+report:+ceo+guide+to+collective+intelligencennIf you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out eschumpert@spigit.com. nnThanks!nErin

  9. Sankar says:

    Hi Jim

    Wonderful article. I would like to know your views on this: as social media technology (or Facebook technology) stands today, we can crowd source ideas in four forms: 1) text (Facebook), 2) design images (Facebook), 3) engineering drawings (where Facebook can fail), and 4) applications (Facebook). Do you think a Facebook like third-party community tool for product developers (to create, share, co-create engineering drawings, prototypes, etc), that can be used by manufacturers who want to co-create is possible? Already companies like Ponoko are trying to do something. But still the entry of PLM vendors to establish a Facebook for product development seem more viable. Your comments, please

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi JimnnWonderful article. I would like to know your views on this: as social media technology (or Facebook technology) stands today, we can crowd source ideas in four forms: 1) text (Facebook), 2) design images (Facebook), 3) engineering drawings (where Facebook can fail), and 4) applications (Facebook). Do you think a Facebook like third-party community tool for product developers (to create, share, co-create engineering drawings, prototypes, etc), that can be used by manufacturers who want to co-create is possible? Already companies like Ponoko are trying to do something. But still the entry of PLM vendors to establish a Facebook for product development seem more viable. Your comments, please

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