Monday, April 15, 2013

RIP: The Death of the PC?

Is the PC dead? How will the next generation of computing look? What impact will this have on PLM? I was thinking about all of these as I read a recent article: So If The PC Is Dying, What Happens With Microsoft Next? I want to change the title to: So If The PC Is Dying, What Happens With PLM Next? What do you think is the answer? I like this quote from the article:

"What PC decline really reflects are changes in the innovation cycle and changes in the workplace. It also illustrates how desktop behavior, just like our preferences on smartphones, has migrated to apps and away from enterprise software suites."

Another great article on this topic, "The PC is Not Dead. Yet." by John C. Dvorak of PC Magazine talks about how technology has made the PC almost too good. What I think he means is that the hardware has gotten so good with storage, display, and other options being good enough for many years to come; there is no good reason to buy a new one. I like this quote from the article:

"The last nail in the dead PC coffin comes from the PC itself. The personal computer, for all practical purposes committed suicide."

Paradigm Shift

No matter where you stand on this issue, there is no way to ignore the paradigm shift that is happening across the computing industry. New, more portable devices with lots of power are in user's hands. Every day we see new ways to use apps, the cloud, big data, and other technologies to make computing easier. The old style of computing is wearing thin: monolithic programs that are hard to learn, infrequent updates, and resource hogs.

COFES 2013

Even Microsoft (MS) is starting to get into the game, at least as far as devices are concerned. At the recent COFES 2013, MS was there presenting Windows 8 and CAD/PLM applications running on 12+ devices. With Windows 8 on many devices you can now start using full-powered PLM solutions on laptops, tablets, phablets, and probably many other devices in the near future.

Collaboration Unchained

What does this mean for PLM? I don't have all the answers yet, but I think it will have a big impact on collaboration, for one thing. In the past, unless you had a powerful workstation at your disposal, you could not really participate in the PLM activities at most companies. Now there will be more opportunities for many people to interact and share information as the design process progresses. Like crowd-sourcing, this will provide the ability to entertain more new ideas, from more people, and include more options in your design process.

Vendors Beware

Vendors had better get ready for the brave new world of PLM. In the future there will be far less toleration for monolithic programs that require tons of resources to support design activities. Users will expect more app-like behavior, and more simplified interactions with information on many devices. Those vendors that persist in offering the same old style of solutions for PLM may see their customers going somewhere else to find a much better PLM experience.


So, what direction is your company taking with PLM? Are you looking for a better way to do things? The technology is coming...are you ready?

What do you think?



Friday, April 12, 2013

Email: "I'm Not Dead Yet!" PLM: "But, you're not well!"

I recently read an article about the demise of email. The article was titled: "The death of email: time for leaders to get social". In this article, they referenced a report titled: Social media and employee voice: the current landscape from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). The report made the following point:

"Employers are urged to recognize that social media drives collaboration and transparency, and those who do not embrace it will find themselves at a disadvantage."

I am seeing this more and more in various places on the internet. It is also true for PLM. There is no better platform for sharing and collaborating than the ones that are used to support social media. A Facebook style of interface provides an easy way for engineers and others to collaborate and share information during the product life-cycle.

Another interesting snipet from the report:

"Findings revealed that senior leaders are often unable to grasp how social media works and the power of the data it can generate."

I have found this to be true myself. When I educate people about how PLM can improve their business, I often mention social media. Most company executives scoff at social media as just a toy, or a large time-waster. When I ask them if they use any of the social tools, they say things like: "Well, I tried Twitter once, but I just don't get it." or "My kids use Facebook, but I don't really have time for that." The implication is that it is a toy for small children, and it does not have value.

I also liked this quote from Jay Larson at Jive software:

"Today, if a CEO sends out an email message, how do you know who read it? How do you know who hit delete? How do you get feedback? You don't; you send it out to the ether and hope for the best."

Today, there are many PLM-based tools to support collaboration and sharing information throughout the enterprise. All of these tools are better than email for bringing people together. It has also been shown that when more people are involved with PLM, there is greater innovation. Dassault Systemes has their SWYM platform; PTC has Windchill SocialLink; Siemens PLM has Teamcenter Community, and the list goes on and on.

Check out some of these, and see how they might be used in your business today. Believe me, your competitors are working on this now, and you may be left in the dust. Email won't be dead anytime soon, but there are much better tools to support collaboration within the PLM environment.

What do you think?