What I Learned: Flogging the “Facebook for Product Development” Horse

What I learned this week… is that it is really fun to pick on Facebook because it doesn’t have the capabilities to support product innovation, product development, and engineering. Of course, it was never intended to and that is probably not a market that they are really very interested in. But it is fun, and also helps to bring home some of the requirements that are important for social computing in PLM. This post started as a reply to Stan’s comment on my “not building an airplane on Facebook post,” and I realized after about 17 pages of comments that maybe I had better turn it into a blog post. Thank you Stan for bringing up a lot of very good questions.

What I Learned: We are not Going to Design an Airplane on Facebook!

What I learned this week … came from a participant at my session on Social Computing in PLM at COFES last month. A quote from the session has been haunting me since that time, and I haven’t been able to place my finger on why it has resonated in my head. I think because it is both meaningful to me and meaningless at the same time. The quote was “We are not going to build an airplane on Facebook!” The statement drew a lot of chuckles, and I have to believe it’s a true statement of fact. But I think why it haunts me is that people are willing to discount the value of a hugely important trend (the use of social computing technologies in business) because the examples they have don’t quite fit the way the currently work.

One-to-One: NovaQuest – On a Quest for Better PLM Implementations

I had the chance to talk with … Joel Lemke and his team at NovaQuest recently about their business plans and their strategy to help companies gain value from PLM. NovaQuest is a relatively new company, formed by IBM and Dassault Systemes veteran Joel Lemke (along with a host of other talent). Their quest is to help Dassault better implement Enovia PLM solutions, particularly in under-served markets such as small to midsize businesses (SMB) and “non-traditional” industries. This company has a lot going for it, and fills an important role in the Dassault Ecosystem.

What I Learned: Is Social Product Development Viable without PLM?

What I learned this week … came from a post on PLM Think Tank (aka PLM Twine) titled 5 reasons why Wiki fails for PLM collaboration which I think points to an interesting set of questions:

Is social computing software enough on it’s own to support product innovation, product development, and engineering?
– Will social computing software evolve to handle more full PLM-related requirements as it matures?
– Will PLM leverage social computing platforms to extend their capabilities?
– Will PLM embed social computing capabilities of their own?
Here is my take on an interesting conversation, and some of my thoughts on the direction that social computing in PLM might take.

One-to-One: Search is Shaping Up with ShapeSpace

I had the chance to talk with … Drew Sherlock of ShapeSpace a while back, and then had the opportunity to meet him in person at COFES. We talked about the importance of search in in engineering and product development, and how searching by shape is adding another way for companies to find (and hopefully easily reuse) parts. Search has received a lot of attention over the years – particularly as companies are trying to consolidate search across multiple data sources using enterprise search. In design and engineering, search has evolved to include parametric search (search based on attributes, typically on metadata that describes a part) to complement more basic text search techniques. But can a company have too many ways to search? Given the potential benefits of reuse – and the tendency for most people to reinvent the wheel when they can’t readily find a good starting point – I will say “not yet.”

Research Rap: Impact of Economy on Smaller PLM Vendors

A quick peek into some research on … how the economy has impacted smaller companies in the engineering software market. This is a follow up to last my post on the impact of the economy on the engineering software market as a whole, with the detail I promised on smaller vendors. Last week I tipped my hand by saying that smaller companies believe they will weather the storm, and some feel they will come out stronger on the other end. That generated some interesting discussion, so I thought I should hurry to post some detail, so here it is…