• This infographic shares the importance of developing a cohesive digital thread when developing formulated products in the consumer packaged goods industry. The digital thread should be driven by customer requirements and incorporate the recipe / formulation, specifications, packaging design, compliance information, claims, cautions, ingredients, labeling, artwork, and more to provide a full view of the product and it's design history. An effective CPG Digital Thread relies on an integrated Product Innovation Platform to connect product data from early in the front end of innovation through development, … [ read more ]

    The CPG Digital Thread (infographic)
  • Join Tech-Clarity's Jim Brown on this webinar sharing  recent survey results from almost 200 Consumer Packaged Goods companies, delving into their quality issue and how top performing CPG companies achieve better quality without suffering from excess internal cost. Learn the process, organizational, and technology approaches that Top Performers leverage to overcome their challenges and drive cost-effective quality. This Business Review Webinars event is brought to you by Dassault Systèmes BIOVIA. Register for the June 20th webcast now (free of charge, registration required). All registrants will … [ read more ]

    Cost Effective Quality in CPG (webcast, survey results)
  • On Thursday June 8, 2017  please join Michelle Boucher as she conducts a live interview with Mark Turner, Technical Manager for Development IT at Alcon, a Novartis Division. They will focus on key topics for medical device companies, including the Case for Quality. During the discussion, Michelle will share research on medical device industry trends. She will also discuss the implications for the Case for Quality and offered advice to efficiently manage regulatory compliance. Throughout the discussion, she will have an interactive conversation with Mark Turner. Mark will reveal how Alcon addresses their … [ read more ]

    Live Interview – Medical Devices: Making the Right Choice — Your Case for Quality
  • This eBook shares survey results analyzing companies' ability to hit new product development (NPD) targets, then offers seven practical tips identified by the research as best practice processes, organization, and technology leveraged by the top performing product developers. The research provides recommendations to companies based on the approaches taken by the Top Performers, those that are able to outperform their competitors in revenue growth, margin expansion, and delivering innovative products to market. Please enjoy the summary below. For the full report, please visit our sponsor Autodesk (free … [ read more ]

    7 Ways to Outperform Your Competitors in NPD (eBook, survey results)
  • Medical Device companies have the opportunity to leverage digitalization and the digital enterprise to develop innovative products and bring them to market quickly. Watch this edition of Tech-Clarity TV to learn about the digitalization opportunity and stay tuned for the rest of the series detailing specific business improvement opportunities including: Digital design Digital design transfer Paperless manufacturing The video shares how medical device manufacturers are embracing digitalization and gaining significant benefits including faster time to market, increased quality, and improved … [ read more ]

    The Digitalization Opportunity for Medical Device Companies (video)

Social Computing and Product Collaboration “2.0”


A quick peek into some research on … the use of social computing and “Web 2.0” techniques to enhance product collaboration. The report, Issue in Focus: Product Collaboration 2.0 – Using Social Computing Techniques to Create Corporate Social Networks not only discusses how social media and Internet-based technologies can improve product collaboration in corporate social networks, but also how manufacturers’ use of social computing allows them to capture and leverage the interactions as a new source of corporate product knowledge.

The Research Findings

One of the key messages of the report is that companies are starting to embrace social computing and “Web 2.0” capabilities to take advantage of social media for business purposes, creating “corporate social networks.” It is important for many companies to make a clear distinction between personal use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, etc.) and “real work” using social computing. While many large companies have shut down access to social media sites, these same concepts offer the ability for engineers, product developers, marketers, manufacturing resources, sourcing, and others in the product innovation process to share and contribute.

There are two primary threads to the research:

  • Improving Collaboration – As reported in my previous post and research Going Social with Product Development, capabilities like presence detection and interactive file sharing help make existing collaborative processes better. This is particularly important to replace the day-to-day “water cooler” conversations that have disappeared in today’s globally dispersed, virtual organizations and support processes such as concurrent engineering. For example, manufacturers can create a virtual “community space” to give team members a central location for information. This collaboration extends beyond Engineering as well, and helps product developers include downstream considerations from Manufacturing, Purchasing, Quality, Service, and other departments early in the design process.
  • Capturing Product Knowledge – Another key finding of the research is that as manufacturers adopt social computing in PLM, they are developing a digital record of the product development process. Decisions, discussions, false starts, brainstorms, and other interactions can now be captured and stored electronically. Using PLM, they can also be associated to the product and the project to form a permanent record of the process. By integrating this social interaction with search capabilities in PLM (see Unlock My Product Data! Business Intelligence in PLM), the potential to turn collaboration into a corporate asset is tremendous. Beyond capturing internal knowledge, corporate social networks can also be used to collaborate with suppliers and customers to gain better insights into the “voice of the customer,” capture requirements, and generate new product ideas – developing new knowledge and intellectual property (IP).

Implications for Manufacturers

There are significant business benefits to be unlocked by applying social computing techniques to product development. Manufacturers have an opportunity to improve collaboration inside and outside of the enterprise by leveraging these new techniques. After all, social computing is about sharing content within a community. Isn’t that what collaboration is all about? Sharing and getting feedback? And while the thought of using Facebook or Twitter to share your intellectual property may not sound that appealing (as we discussed in Flogging the Facebook for Product Development Horse), the same concepts are being applied to (and integrated with) PLM.  I believe that these capabilities will be a big part of product innovation moving forward, and that companies that get started sooner will have a big advantage over their peers. This is a new and exciting frontier, and we all need to explore and learn so we can tap the new potential ahead of the competition.

So that was a quick peek into some recent research on social computing and collaboration, I hope you found it interesting. Does the research reflect your experiences? Do you see it differently? What are your plans? Let us know what it looks like from your perspective.

And as always, please feel free to review more free research and white papers about PLM and other enterprise software for manufacturers from Tech-Clarity.


  1. Interesting read Jim. You are absolutely correct that capturing product knowledge in a “social” manner in PLM is important for product development. This type of knowledge sharing opens up a new line of communication and captures that “hallway discussion/dialogue” that may not always get shared but can certainly provide some good data. We are finding that our customers are benefiting from this type of information sharing by being able to capture this additional data within Omnify and tie it to the product record (like you referenced above). This gives customers even more visibility into product information that will help to improve their product development, product quality, timelines, etc…

Speak Your Mind