Should PLM apps be jealous about Facebook?

I usually think I have nothing to add to discussions about comparison between PLM and social networking. Two facts have contradicted this opinion recently:

  • I had chance to test the Facebook app for iPhone
  • I read the article about Facebook connections as a map

I see here 2 facts:

  • Facebook propose a high level of ergonomics in his iPhone app, far away from ergonomics proposed in our favorite PLM applications
  • Facebook fosters a level of collaboration that any PLM application owner should be jealous about

Is there a link between those facts?

Useful or full featured?

I found a recent post from Oleg with a funny picture. This picture is better than a long discussion about what it is better to get:

  • a full featured PLM application
  • a useful application

Examples are:


I don’t know for a camper, but as a PLM user I am sure which one I may choose.

Unfortunately, most of the PLM applications we meet are of the first kind. Why? Some quick thoughts:

Complex business processes

BP are so complex that implementers simply choose to display everything to all users, having not the information about restricted usage per user or per group of user.

IT design

PLM is supported mainly by IT department which don’t know the BPs, or choose to mix many different business processes in the same application.

New capabilities

Introducing new functions without killing the previous ones which might be obsolete are increasing the volume. Always try to kill existing functions!

Lack of user feedback

I believe user feedback is not at the level today for enterprise applications, compared with what can be found on the web. Today, the smallest shoe vendor in the US provides a way to post comments about its products on his website. PLM vendors are far away from that practice. Even if some surveys are sent once a year into a company, the level of feedback provided is not at the level where it could be used.

What do you think?

Is it easy to find data in a PLM application?


Do you know deep web? From wikipedia, “The deep Web “…” refers to World Wide Web content that is not part of the surface Web, which is indexed by standard search engines“. So making it short, web pages that we cannot access through our preferred search engines.

Oleg pointed out some time ago that PLM apps could not help searching deep corporate web! What about deep PLM? While PLM apps are always claiming they contain the product knowledge, the corporate data or other major information inside the company, it may happen that it’s quite difficult to find data into a PLM application. The PLM applications are true, the question is:  ”Can I find the data I am looking for into the PLM app?” And I have to admit that as our PLM apps are quite complex, the typical user may encounters difficulties finding what he is looking for.

Still following wikipedia,  the first reason to not find the data the user is searching is:  ”Dynamic content: dynamic pages which are returned in response to a submitted query or accessed only through a form, especially if open-domain input elements (such as text fields) are used; such fields are hard to navigate without domain knowledge“.

Domain knowledge. Here we are. A PLM app is usually “simply” coding business processes which are supposed to be well known by the entire user community. None should ignore the law. Yes. Unfortunately, laws are not always known, the user is guilty, his penalty will be to not find what is is searching for. The second penalty may be to re-create the data…

I would like to share with you an idea:  provide easy access to data in PLM application. Just a trend to make it easy:

Quick Access

This panel introduce domain knowledge, and may implement complex queries, bringing results to the user which should know how to enter the query, but don’t know how to browse data to reach the result.

What do you think?