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…

Research Rap: Social Networking in PLM – Takeaways from COFES

A quick peek into some research on … social computing in PLM that I am currently working on. I had the opportunity to lead a discussion at COFES (Congress for the Future of Engineering Software) this morning on the use of social networking in design and engineering. I am just starting my research project for a paper, so the timing was very good to start the discussion. I will share my key takeaways from the conversation with you now, and of course post a link to the paper when it is ready.

How Does Social Computing in PLM Help Collaboration?

What I learned this week … is based on responses and my own reflection stemming from my post
Is Social Networking in PLM Just More Collaboration? from last week. In that post I talked about how social networking capabilities can add more than just collaboration by extending into “discovery.” But what I want to circle back on now is that yes, social networking capabilities can also play a significant role in collaboration. In my enthusiasm with what could happen for manufacturers that are willing to stretch the boundaries of their current business, I may have made some pretty big assumptions in regards to people understanding what is most likely their first step in embracing these technologies in product innovation and engineering – which is enhancing collaboration in design and product development. So in this post, I want to step back and comment on the near at hand values of social computing and PLM, and potentially put the horse back before the cart for many. Will social networking make your product development team as happy as this picture? Probably not, but it might just help make your products more profitable.

Why Social Networking in PLM is More than Just Collaboration

What I learned this week … came as the result of a conversation I had recently with some of the people I know who are passionate about the use of social computing to improve product development. The examples that we kept discussing were good, but to me I kept hearing about better collaboration. Important, but from my use of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. I kept feeling like there was more to it that I wasn’t able to articulate. In one of those “aha” moments (aided by one of my favorite innovation tools, the white board) I finally got it. I would like to share that with you if I can.