Why does Facebook Fail for Product Development? (and how to fix it)


A quick peek into some research on … on social computing for product development. Why does Facebook miss the mark? Can it be fixed? I have been talking for some time about the potential value of social computing in PLM and have mentioned before why Facebook will fail. I am preparing for a presentation next week, and decided to pull my thoughts together. So here they are, I look forward to your feedback.

The Research Findings

There are two parts to the findings. The first is a list of concerns that I have heard, here is a short list:

  • What relevance do status comments and photos have to do with serious engineering?
  • How will we protect intellectual property?
  • What does Facebook know about business processes or how to manage them?
  • What does Facebook know about engineering data? CAD files? Projects? Engineering in general?
  • Why would I trust my business performance to a technology platform like Facebook that doesn’t appear stable or perform well (sorry Facebook, that is just my practical experience not a sound technical analysis)?
  • How do I have time to pay attention to this in addition to everything I already do?
  • How do we address security concerns?

OK, part two. Can it be fixed? Yes, but I doubt they will do it. There are two reasons:

  • They are not focused on this and don’t have domain expertise
  • They don’t have the ability to connect to the underlying context, the product data

But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Let’s see what Facebook can teach us about PLM. Here are my thoughts (and if you happen to be in Helsinki next week stop by to see this live):

Implications for Manufacturers

Don’t look to tools like Facebook to help you with social computing in PLM. But don’t discount the concepts. Learn from them. They are compelling. And manufacturers are getting started. In fact, I look forward to sharing research that I am doing with Kalypso that gives some great insight on what companies have been doing.

So that was a quick peek into some recent research on Facebook failing in PLM, I hope you found it interesting. Yes, I know they didn’t design to tool for product development, so I am really not picking on them. Does the research reflect your experiences? Do you see it differently? Let us know what it looks like from your perspective.

Please feel free to review more free research and white papers about PLM and other enterprise software for manufacturers from Tech-Clarity.