Product Collaboration 2.0

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Issue in Focus: Product Collaboration 2.0 – Using Social Computing Techniques to Create Corporate Social Networks explores the use of social computing and “Web 2.0” techniques to improve product collaboration. Explains how social computing in PLM allows manufacturers to discover new intellectual property and capture existing know-how for the future, increasing corporate product knowledge.

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Table of Contents

  • Introducing the Issue
  • The Future of Product Collaboration
  • Turning Collaboration into Knowledge
  • Collaboration beyond Engineering
  • Enabling Corporate Social Networks
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations
  • About the Author

Introducing the Issue

Product innovation has become a high priority for manufacturers today, topping the list of many corporate agendas over the last five years. While early innovation strategies gave top priority to driving growth, focus has turned to surviving the down economy and preparing to capitalize on the eventual recovery. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) has been an important tool to help companies innovate, enhancing the top line at the same time as they reduce cost to maintain the bottom line. This has caused significant growth in the use of PLM, and the extension of PLM by early adopters.

In this same timeframe, the use of social networking has exploded. People are using social networking and social media in their personal lives, adding a new dimension to the way that people interact within their network of friends. Now, companies are starting to embrace social computing and “Web 2.0” capabilities to take advantage of these collaborative techniques for business purposes, creating “corporate social networks” that tie together communities around a common business goal.

The goal of each of these trends – PLM and social computing –is connecting people and providing a way to share content. How can manufacturers leverage these trends to improve product profitability? Clearly it is not signing the Engineering department up on Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace. Instead, companies are applying the concepts and lessons learned from social networking to connect people and enhance business interaction. This shift towards corporate social networks promises significant business value, particularly as social computing technologies are applied to PLM.