The Social Media has been the fastest growing phenomena and the one with the largest impact in our lives, since the IT industry exists. In just a few years, it went from inception to creation of $ 100B+ value (collective market caps). Facebook’s IPO, although it was considered as a technical-financial failure, was not just a record breaking valuation, but an example of record breaking growth rate for a company founded in 2004. It came after a series of other record breaking IPOs in social media, including LinkedIn, the leading professional social network, Zynga, the leading social gaming platform, Groupon, the leading Social buying platform, Yelp, the leading social rating platform, etc…
Is The Social Media Phenomena Just Another Technology Bubble?
Not really. In fact, the tech bubble in 1999 and 2000, was about IPOs and high market caps on companies with no revenue, and obviously no profits. Social Media companies today are all generating revenue and are profitable ! Moreover, younger generations just can’t live without them. They need to share, interact communicate and collaborate almost in real-time. So dear older generations, Social Media is here to stay, get over it!
How did we get here?
Search for the roots back in 1979 with the BBS (Bulletin Board Systems), and then the network and the web. Social Networks are simply the connection of people through networks becoming mainstream, enabling them to socialize digitally. Consequently people are replicating their human interaction habits from distance, easier, faster, cheaper, in a very convenient manner, and almost in real time. Social Networks are here for good and to stay, simply because human beings are born to live in societies, and not alone.
Can we truly collaborate socially on product design and PLM?
The same way human beings are not born to live alone, engineers, designers and more generally employees are not expected to work alone. In a similar way, and to increase efficiency and productivity, and to save time, management is looking into ways to enable collaboration, through the extended enterprise, easier, faster, cheaper, in a convenient manner and almost in real-time. Exactly like our digital life described above, just like when we socialize. This is social collaboration. So yes, not only we can, but also we should collaborate socially.
Why has Social PLM been slow to pick up?
It’s not a surprise to see PLM picking up social habits slowly, just like some other enterprise processes and tools. Keep in mind that B2B has always been slower than B2C and Manufacturing Industries and engineers have been slower in adoption than marketers and media. Combine all these factors and you understand why it’s been slow. It is right now struggling with a few challenges, including the questions and concerns about security (similar to the concerns about individual privacy on social networks). Tools and processes are right now fine tuning the control buttons so that security issues become under control. Other enterprise applications are also getting more social. CRM applications , for instance, have already become a lot more social, some having replicated the social networking mechanisms and processes inside their own models. SalesForce’s chatter is a good example of a convenient and handy social vision of CRM users daily interactions.
Interested in more in-depth answers to the above questions and a lot more subjects around social collaboration, product design and PLM? Then mark your calendar for Social PLM 2012.