Monday, March 21, 2011

Open Web 2.0 vs. Apps

Check out the great post from John Battelle called A Report Card on Web 2 and the App Economy .
He brought two topics together that I’ve been thinking about:
-          Web 2.0 principles – I was using them on Social Product Development defined
-          Apps – I was wondering about their relevance for PLM in No PLM apps at M-Days2011 - why not?
John Battelle analyzed how apps compare to today’s web in terms of the Web 2.0 principles originally established by Tim O’Reilly. He summarized his findings in this image and then discussed each in a bit more detail.
web 2 report card.png
(Picture copyright by John Battelle,
As you can see, apps don’t stand a chance against today’s Web (2.0) when measured in terms of Web 2.0 principles :-) .

So, what does this mean for PLM apps?
First of all, the PLM apps that currently exist represent a client for the corporate PLM platform, i.e. some of the principles just don’t apply.
But I think we can still transfer some of his thinking to PLM: 
  • the control of data ownership is an essential topic, as discussed in End-to-end OOTB vs. open, standards-based PLM . By using apps as an online PLM client, we don’t create new issues in this field. But offline usage with the related data synchronization issues or even peer-to-peer networking of multiple mobile PLM devices would create new issues.
  • We haven’t reached the End of the Software Release Cycle in PLM. On the contrary – release updates are still major projects with significant cost and risk. I like John’s comment that “the Web has totally checked this box - when was the last you checked what version of Google you were using?” With PLM apps, we just have to take care that we don’t pile up new release update issues.
  • The rich user experience is where apps potentially beat native Web 2.0 applications – although you could argue that there are a lot of nice Web 2.0 site  and a lot of bad apps. But John’s point was that the user experience of apps could be so compelling that you just throw-away all the other principles of Web 2.0.
So where are the compelling PLM apps?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The future workplace in engineering

Does your company have an IT policy? If yes, chances are that it talks about the Internet to be used only for work-related purposes etc.. Newer versions of these policies even deal with social media, probably by banning the use of Facebook, Twitter and even blogs during work.

I always wondered how people can even get their work done in such companies, not to speak of outperforming the competition. Being able to listen and potentially communicate with your customers, your competition and your potential future workforce is a competitive necessity.

Marianne Levinsen, Futurist and Chief of Research at the Danish centre for future studies, describes the digital natives as a pretty challenging future workforce. The border between private and work life just disappears when you are connected to your colleagues in a social network and when you are “always on” with your mobile phone. OTOH, she also points out the gap between the different generations and the resulting challenges in motivating them. I just ordered "The 2020 Workplace" in order to dig into this topic.

The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow's Employees Today
(Amazon affiliate link)

Luckily, engineers tend to embrace the new stuff a bit faster than others. Social Product Development gives us a glimpse at the future workplace in engineering. And for the others, it might be a good start to loosen up the IT policies and start using social media for business benefits. What do you think?