What I learned: This will be the year of SaaS in PLM

What I learned this week… came from conversations with manufacturers and SaaS vendors over the past year. I believe the market is ripe for a SaaS approach to PLM. When it comes to product development, every organization strives for efficiency, flexibility, better collaboration (internally and externally), and easier upgrades. Yet, business models that could enable such benefits, such as Software-as-a-service (SaaS), or even SOA, has not been widely adopted to support product lifecycle management. The ongoing economic malaise, however, is driving manufacturers to rethink how they deploy PLM, and other enterprise software systems.

One-to-One: Sopheon Hypes up its Customer Needs Management Capabilities

I had a chance to talk with… the team at Sopheon about their recent product enhancement in the customer needs management (CNM) space. Through an OEM agreement with German based idea management vendor, Hype Software, the product portfolio management company has announced Idea Lab, an idea discovery, management, collaboration and analytic offering – areas that were partially addressed by their existing idea management offering. With Sopheon’s existing portfolio management and product planning/roadmapping strengths, these additional capabilities at the very front end of innovation give it a strong offering in the customer needs management space.

What I learned: The Front End of Innovation is Disconnected from PLM

What I learned this week… came from The Front End of Innovation event in Boston. One thing that stuck in my mind from the event, based on conversations with end users and from presentations, is the lack of connection between the front end of innovation and the rest of the product lifecycle. Customers seem content

What I Learned: Socially Developed Engineering and Product Documentation?

What I learned this week … came from two recent conversations with manufacturers about their use of social computing to support product innovation, product development, and engineering. I am exploring how companies are using these technologies to improve design and product development collaboration, but also trying to uncover ways they are going beyond collaboration on a specific product or design. Two of my recent conversations touched on the use of wikis and blogs to present information. To be more accurate, these manufacturers are using wikis and blogs to both collect and communicate engineering and product knowledge. Pretty interesting stuff, I think.

What I Learned: Innovation at 27,000 feet on Mount Everest?

What I learned this week . . . came from The Front End of Innovation event in Boston. At day one of the event, Author Jim Collins (Good to Great, Built to Last, Why the Mighty Fall) gave a rousing presentation of findings from his latest research. According to his research, the reason mighty companies fail is not because of lack of innovation. In fact the ones that succeed in the harshest conditions, at “27,000 feet on Mount Everest,” are not necessarily ones who bring a lot of new products to market; it’s the companies that are disciplined in their innovation approach, and have the right people working on the right projects.

One-to-One: SmarTeam Customers Talk About PLM for SMB

I had the chance to talk with … several ENOVIA SmarTeam customers during my recent research. I talked with them for my paper on how mid-sized manufacturers have leveraged product innovation and PLM to get through challenging economic times and come out better during the recovery. See my Research Rap: Small to Midsize Manufacturer in an Economic Downturn? Innovate! for an overview of