Sunday, January 30, 2011

Social Product Development defined

Over the next couple of blog posts, I would like to explore the field of Social Product Development. So let's start with a definition:

Coming from the PLM perspective, I won't spend much time on defining PLM – I will just go with the CIMdata definition of PLM as:
A strategic business approach that applies a consistent set of business solutions that support the collaborative creation, management, dissemination, and use of product definition information
Supporting the extended enterprise (customers, design and supply partners, etc.)
Spanning from concept to end of life of a product or plant
Integrating people, processes, business systems, and information

The issues in defining the dynamic topic of social computing or Web 2.0 are well described in
Web 2.0 Architectures: What Entrepreneurs and Information Architects Need to Know
(Amazon affiliate link)

As a starting point, the book cites the famous „What is Web 2.0“ article by Tim O'Reilly and the table comparing old Web with Web 2.0:

Web 1.0

Web 2.0
-->Google AdSense
Britannica Online
personal websites
--> and EVDB
domain name speculation
-->search engine optimization
page views
-->cost per click
screen scraping
-->web services
content management systems
directories (taxonomy)
-->tagging ("folksonomy")

More basic, let's consider the following technologies Web 2.0:
  • Blogs, wikis and other community spaces for collaboration
  • Real-time communication and sharing including status updates and presence detection
  • Profile pages of experts – making their specific skills searchable
  • Social search mechanisms including rating and tagging
The book goes beyond such a list of basic technologies and extracts some patterns that characterize successful Web 2.0 companies:
  • Participation – Collaboration among self-organizing communities
  • Mashup for content aggregation
  • Collaborative tagging or folksonomy
  • Rich user experience or rich internet application (RIA)
  • ...

With this, lets define Social Product Development as the use of Web 2.0 technologies and patterns for PLM.

This picture is catchy, but I think it also is misleading: the intersection is just too small. I would consider social computing more as an infrastructure upgrade for PLM – especially for the collaborative pieces of PLM.

In the next posts, I would like to focus on
  • real world examples of companies using social product development
  • best practices for the implementation of social product development
Please share your descriptions and links in the comments section of this post.

1 comment:

  1. Jens,
    Thanks for your post. Your provide a lot of good information in one place. I look forward to reading more about your views on social product development. I had the same reaction to the Venn diagram of social computing and PLM. The overlaps are not small, nor are they segmented in one area. I think that social computing capabilities (which as you mention are a collection of many different things) will be pervasive in PLM (as well as other enterprise systems). The big question will be whether or not generalized social computing technologies will provide value as compared to purpose-built social product development / social innovation solutions. I think that the integration of the capabilities with the context of the product is non-trivial, and that standalone solutions will fall short. They may play a role in the infrastructure, of course, but the end applications will be tailored to product innovation and product development (in my opinion).
    Good discussion, thank you.