PLM User Accounts

PLM is enterprise tool and eventually a major part of employees will have a task to do in PLM Tool. Normally PLM Tools provide User account management modules where organizations broadly call it as People and Organization.

User Roles and Responsibilities are well defined in most of the organization and PLM implementation starts with configuring Access for users. But my experience with PLM Implementation project is something confusing.

PLM Tools are deployed as a independent tool. Then administrators start creating user accounts and then roles and then assigning them to on demand basis in some cases organization go for single sign-on or LDAP integration which is another project in itself.

Though this feature has complexities involved, should PLM Vendors not provide a handy way to integrate organization users with ease of operation? Following are thoughts on the way it should be.

  1. After installing PLM Tool in production environment, PLM Tools should have a wizard to integrate available network users directly into PLM Tool.
  2. It should just have a list of users available in Organization which can be seen from PLM Tool.
  3. PLM Tools should provide creation account button/command against each user, which should take administrator to user creation and configuration wizard.
  4. This wizard should be configuration so that it can fetch data related regarding his reporting and department structure so that account approval processes can be integrated within PLM itself.
  5. Like we get task for approvals in PLM, it should be another task to approve user account and assign role by his manager.

If PLM Tools have this type of feature they will provide following benefits.

  1. Adding a user friendly feature to PLM for user accounts.
  2. Complete tracking of user accounts.
  3. Automation of workflows with available information within other tools in organization.
  4. Quality time to invest on other PLM admin activities.
  5. Managers being informed and aware of subordinate’s access and roles.
  6. Reduction in gap of understanding of a functional user of tool and administrator of a tool.

I hope that I see such future in coming days.

thanks and regards
Ashish Kulkarni

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PLM and Social Network Features

These days we always talk about Social Network, its features and related stuff in PLM. In past few days, while working with PLM End Users I faced user frustrations about multiple emails sent by PLM systems. These emails are many times non value addition items. These are not only flooding inboxes but make user confuse to prioritize their activities.

Intension for sending email notifications is really good. But now it is old fashioned and more important is not work it by making your smaller inbox full of System Generated auto mails. Specially when today’s user use Facebook, LinkedIn in and twitter on their mobile phones, then sending emails for notification is really old fashioned.

What I think is to give a twitter like service in PLM so that user can see notifications, tasks on his/her will by just clicking on “25 new notification ” or “12 New Tasks”. It should also give an ability to tag these updates by Project Name or Part Number or anything else that user is interested in. So that user can ignore unwanted notification without leaning up mail box and also enjoy social network features in PLM.

This will not only reduce load on mail servers and inboxes but also improve PLM Application performance. I would love to see such features for tasks, notification and lifecycle changes and anything that an end user can think of. I think this is not impossible. May be a plugin can help.

thanks and regards
Ashish Kulkarni

DB2 Concepts and Enovia V6 Installation on AIX

Enovia V6 installation on AIX with DB2 was always a problem for us to maintain various environments. We always used single instance and single database. Moreover Application Server, Web Server and Database Server were on same hardware.

This time database server was different. Somehow db was moved to other server without consulting environment owner. Hence our environment was directly affected. We tried to move some parameters by changing few paths in environment and installation files. But it did not work. We made sure that we have a db2 client installed on our application server. But all efforts were unsuccessful.

Finally we concluded that if instance is moved or renamed will not work for current environment and new installation is required. So we decided to for a new installation. Following was our plan which was successful for installation. Deployment is pending.

  1. We used existing instance (e.g. INST1)
  2. We used existing db user (e.g. dbuser)
  3. Now we created 2 different databases on DB Server. (e.g db1 and db2)
  4. Next task was to configure client to access these 2 databases. Hence we created one more instance on client (dbuser, yes we kept name same as server db user). Our client has same user name for db user as dbuser on server.
  5. We cataloged dbs on client instance as db1db for db1 and db2db for db2.

Rest all was easy to do. When we install Enovia V6 on AIX using DB2 as database system we need 2 parameters. Following are the details.

  1. Database Instance name on which we catalog our database. In our case this name is dbuser (Do not get confused. J This is instance name on client with same name for database user. ) This is required while installing Studio as well as Server.
  2. Catalog Name as connection string which is used to generate Bootstrap file (e.g. MATRIX-R)

Rest of the Enovia installation is almost same as on windows. On 2012, DS has provided GUI for installation which is a great help for administrators. Yes, there are few annoying things like installer always refers to default path and does not consider your custom paths even if you provide at the start of installation.

This was a good learning for us when installing Enovia V6 2012 on AIX with DB 9.7.

If you have any queries, please ping me.

-Ashish Kulkarni