PLM and Micro Blogging

June 9, 2009

As I stated in the intro. I use Twitter. I got curious a while ago how this technology can be used in Engineering. Consider Twitter an internet based text messaging service. Yammer is the corporate intranet variant. Tweets are the actual blog posts (like this article). Twitter is in fact a so called micro blog. Twitter can be read by all, whereas Yammer only by those that share the same company email domain name. Coincidental, posts on Yammer are still called tweets.

My observations: With an established (Twitter) name, people interested in your ‘messages’ will ‘follow’ you, i.e. they take a subscription on tweets that you post. You may have an announcement and this you can post with a link to an (tiny) url if there is an external source. Key challenge in an extranet Twitter, how get to get people interested to ‘follow’ you. In the Yammer (intranet) example, engineers may want to create a Yammer project group, for example the project for a new engine development. Such group will have a ‘moderator’ to controlling who should be member. All team/group members would ‘follow’ this project. The nice thing; … with a posted tweet you can instantly reach all project followers. It allows you to post a question, an announcement and then expect the social network principles to ‘instantly’ provide you with the answer or opinions you are hoping for. A mobility aspect and this based on personal experience tweets in Yammer, and at member’s choice, can be forwarded as text message to ‘company’ mobile devices or even to a Twitter client installed. So even while you are on the go you can still follow and submit specific project tweets. Having worked with many engineers over the years I believe that such functions are extremely useful and would increase the effectiveness of engineering tasks because you can post an instant question or notice to the team for example: What have we decided regarding…, Where can I find…, Be careful with… I am now working on…

Twitter type of functionality is not the same as IM because the IM intent is to provide conversational messaging to an individual and invitees whereas with Twitter you reach a group. If needed you can reply to the individual directly (including privately).
Finishing this post. This technology is developing with the speed of light. You see plug-ins emerging everywhere and I would be curious which PLM vendor would be first to support this trend its collaboration platform. For example in Twitter with specific tags you can ‘push’ post to Yammer… so from the extranet to the intranet…. or suppose you would create a part, and you want to consult the group, you would create a Twitter part number tag and replies would come back against the user and the part number tag. To create some last confusion, posts on Yammer are in fact still called tweets and not something like Yams

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