PLM Perspective: A Product Lifecycle Web Tour and Critique of PLM sites

tour_guideIf you have followed Zero Wait-State for very long you may have noticed a significant transformation of our web site over the last few months. We have become ardent believers in a term called “inbound marketing”. Unless you have been under a rock it is hard not to notice all of the various companies touting their ability to get you found on the web thru search engine optimization and all of the consultants touting their ability to transform your web site to draw in new traffic. Hype usually has a source of truth and the source of truth for us was a book by Brian Halligan and Darmesh Shah called “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs”. The authors of the book happen to also be founders of a company called Hubspot which helps companies configure their websites to increase traffic and create leads for a company. Best of all their approach minimizes the need to create indiscriminate email campaigns which often are ineffective and alienate your potential prospects. Hubspot emphasizes that you must have relevant and valuable content if you want to attract interest so we have focused our efforts on creating videos and pages that we feel address Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) issues for our clients. We have also promoted this content using sites like Facebook and Linkedin targeting an audience that has indicated their interest in PLM. Based on this experience we have started to look at other PLM sites and assess their usefulness to the market. There are a number of great blogs out there and of course there are the vendor sites but how valuable are these sites in helping companies educate themselves about PLM? I think it would be a worthwhile exercise to go through and assess both blog and vendor sites for PLM and give the audiences on Linkedin and Facebook the opportunity to share some of their favorite sites as well. This article will begin a series of reviews about resources on the web for PLM. We will start with some of the more active blogs and future articles will critique the major players in PLM software solutions. Keep in mind these are my opinions and most likely the list will be far from comprehensive. I am hopeful others will chime in so we can all benefit from this exercise.

A Google query for PLM Blogs puts the “Daily PLM Think Tank” by Oleg Shilovitsky at the top of the list. Oleg is the most prolific PLM blogger out there faithfully posting his PLM musings daily(sometimes more) as his title indicates. He has a background in Smarteam and Enovia but seems well versed in all aspects of PLM and comfortably discusses most of the major solutions. From what I can tell he is PLM agnostic without an agenda toward any one solution. To date his blog has had over one hundred thousand unique visitors and has been published since 2008. He faithfully posts his articles to relevant groups in Linkedin and is active on Twitter so it is easy to find his blog in a number of places. His topics run the gamut. He has taken on the dicey PLM versus ERP topic and has posted several blogs on the future direction of PLM and incorporated social media into PLM. His articles are fairly short which I think is a good thing since we are all pressed for time. It is a lesson I think my blogs could benefit from. Based on my opinion if you are following PLM at all this is definitely a blog you should watch closely.

Right behind Oleg on the Google query is the esteemed Jim Brown’s “Clarity on PLM“. Jim’s company Tech Clarity is in their words a “independent research and consulting firm that specializes in analyzing the true business value of software technology and services.” He uses his blog to promote his company and his knowledge of PLM. This blog seems to be more tied to the industry. He frequently discusses his interaction with various PLM vendors but also takes on some topics similar to Oleg’s. In fact several of Oleg’s blogs are in response to articles written by Jim and vice versa. Recent topics include, “Reflections on Final PTC User”, and “Why does Facebook Fail for Product Development?” Again I would say this blog is a “must read” if you are interested in PLM. Some of his articles are a little too easy on the vendors but he asks some great questions and really understands the space. His analysis around PLM versus ERP and their roles in product development seems particularly insightful. Also like Oleg he is very responsive to comments left on his blog or in the discussion groups.

The last blog I will discuss in significant detail is Jos Voskuil’s “Virtual Dutchman”. This was the first blog I found when I started searching for PLM blogs several months ago. The biggest problem with this blog is the frequency of publishing. His last article was back in May. I know first-hand how difficult it is to consistently publish content for blogs. I can only shake my head in wonder at Oleg’s volume of posts. Jos is a full time consultant so I suspect he gets wrapped up in his work and uses the lag time to write articles. Jos brings a European flavor to the discussion as well as a consultant’s perspective. He is more interested in process and implementation than the latest whistles and bells of the software itself. It’s definitely a site worth perusing. Other noteworthy independent blogs that are PLM oriented or at least sometimes discuss PLM are Solidsmack which is more SolidWorks and CAD oriented and Ray Kurland’s CAD/PLM blog which is definitely more CAD than PLM. There are several other blogs that are tied to specific vendors. I will discuss these when I talk about specific vendor websites. As I stated above this is not a comprehensive list and I would love to become aware of others out there who are generated good content on PLM so feel free to make some suggestions. My criteria are that articles are published at least monthly and are mostly around PLM topics.

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