Friday, October 26, 2012

Will MS Surface Become a Zune?

This week, Microsoft (MS) announced their latest foray into the hardware space. The MS Surface is their latest attempt to win over the scores of users already loyal to their OS, and potentially many new adherents. The Surface is a cross between an iPad and a laptop. It might be just the thing for users on the go, as a second device, or for those who only need a browser and a few apps.

Initially, when I heard about the Surface, several months ago, I was very excited. I thought that this device might even be the best of both worlds: an iPad with a great keyboard that can be used in many business situations, and a laptop replacement while on the road. It appears to be built well, and there is a commitment from MS to really make it work. The early reviews have been mostly great, and I was feeling good.

But, then I looked at my bookshelf. There I spied my Zune; the music device from MS that I bought many years ago. This device was their answer to the iPod. Initially it looked like it would work well, and have a chance to take over some of the market that Apple had created with their wildly successful iPod and iTunes. However, the success that MS envisioned with this hardware never developed, and today it can be used as a coaster, a door stop, and a paper weight.

In the past MS has not shown the ability to make hardware successful. It makes me wonder if the Surface will join my Zune on the bookshelf as a lovely door stop. The Zune was announced with much fanfare, and many people thought it would be successful; it was not. I am not sure all the reasons why, but it just never lived up to expectations.

So, will the Surface join the Zune on my shelf? Not if I don't buy one...

What do you think?



Is Your Business Ready for PLM?

Ready, set go! The race to implement PLM has started. Many people will approach PLM implementations like a sprint, when in reality it's a marathon. Successfully implementing any technology in your business is challenging, but PLM is especially tricky. That's because PLM is a strategic decision, not just software; and PLM never ends! There are also many people that must be involved to achieve PLM success.

What can you do to make sure your business is ready to get the most out of PLM? Here are some key areas that you can evaluate to see if you are ready for PLM success:

1) Executive Support - If you do not get support from a high level executive sponsor for PLM, you won't make if very far. PLM is a strategic activity with an enterprise vision, and it means that it must be supported from the very top of your organization.

2) Organizational Support - There will be many organizations that need to be part of the overall PLM implementation. If you do not have support from key people in all of your organizations, you will struggle to successfully implement PLM.

3) User Support - Do you have a good plan to involve your users in the PLM selection process, and a good Cultural Change Management Plan to continue interactions with users after the initial implementation?

4) IT Support - Like it or not, PLM technology will involve a large amount of commitment from your IT organization. If they are not on board, or if they just look at PLM as another piece of software to install, you really won't get very far with your PLM implementation.

5) Education - Are all of the people involved with PLM properly educated? If you educate right from the beginning, you will get much better success with your PLM implementation. All of the above people need PLM education so that there is no confusion about what PLM is, and how it can benefit your business.

There are obviously more aspects of PLM to consider, but these are some of the key items you must evaluate BEFORE you dash off on your PLM race.

What areas of PLM are you working on today?



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Is PLM Just a Bunch of Old Guys?

The recent CIMdata PLM Roadmap saw great attendance, and great speakers. One of the topics brought up by several speakers was the lack of young people at this conference. I don't think this is any different from most PLM conferences around the world. If you look at who attends these conferences, it is mostly 40+ years old guys. I can speak from experience, since I am one of those old guys.

Many of the new technologies that will impact PLM in the future, like mobility, cloud, social, and others have NOT been embraced by the "old" guys at these conferences. When asked for a show of hands of how many people would be tweeting at the conference, about 6 people raised their hands. Overall, there were only 18 people that tweeted at the conference; there were 300+ attendees!

The question I have to ask is: "how can we get more young people involved in PLM?" If you looked at most PLM conferences, you would get the idea that only old guys are interested in this technology. This is far from the truth, especially when you consider how much technology is used by younger people today. But, how can we get their inputs into what we are doing with PLM?

I don't know that answer, but I think it is VERY important that we figure out how to engage with our younger engineers and PLM technology users to help us understand how new technologies can provide the PLM environment of the future.

What do you think?


Friday, October 5, 2012

CIMdata PLM Roadmap Hits the Mark Again!

The CIMdata PLM Roadmap 2012 concluded this week in Plymouth, Michigan. If you missed it, you missed a sold out PLM event that provided detailed discussions about Systems Engineering, Model Based Design, Simulation, and more!

The conference started with an excellent talk from Jon Hirschtick, the father of Solidworks, about the future of the CAD market. He told the engaged audience that CAD was only about half done, and that there was still many opportunities in this space. The afternoon had sessions about PLM implementation, using analysis in your PLM activities, how to interact with vendors and systems integrators.

The best part of the conference was the hallway conversations, the lunch time discussions, and the new information shared among industry peers. There was a vendor area called Eye On Technology where many PLM vendors provided information about their excellent solutions.

There was great food, great people, and a good time had by all. The CIMdata website has more information on future conferences, and information about how you can get education and information about PLM.

See you later,