I am happy to write about our new online community – PLMWorld.org. If you have not done so already, please visit our new site (shown on image at left) http://plmworld.org. If you have already visited the site, you will find that it has a lot more rich content than our previous website.
One of the criteria for selection that led PLMWorld to choose this new website was to provide an online community experience for our members: learning about and searching for other members, exchanging information and posting various topics about Siemens PLM products. Facebook and LinkedIn gave us a model from which we wanted to develop this new website for our members. To accomplish this, we knew the new website needed to be based on the same Web 2.0 technologies found in social media applications. As we added Facebook and LinkedIn groups before launching the website, we observed how quickly many users started using them to discuss and share information about Siemens PLM technologies with each other. Now we hope that you will consider moving in to PLMWorld.org and build your own community here.
Our new website has been running for three months now. There is so much more to offer and what you can do, than there was before. We are getting new ideas in every week on how to improve some of the new feature and implementing them as quickly as we can. Like an artist working on the next masterpiece, PLMWorld.org is a “work of art in progress”. Users can create their own profile page with a photo, post an online resume and share your published works with others. You can find other members not just by name, but also by topics or interests. You can even find conference presentations once you have completed a survey for all past conferences.
In this article I would like to focus on the community section. We have moved the community forums from our old website to the new one, with a much improved and better user interface than before.
The Communities page can be accessed by clicking the “Communities” link from the orange navigation menu near the top of the web page. No matter where you are in our new website – the orange bar will be your navigation tool, linking you to the various sources of valuable information available with just a few clicks.
From the Communities drop-down, you will see a list of many community pages available. We have discussions forums, RUGs, SIGs and Focus Groups. One thing you may not have noticed is that you can view all these links without having to log in to the website. The discussion forums and links to individual communities themselves do require membership to the website.
If you just click on the link to Communities, you will also see the home page for all communities and you can bookmark the page in your web browser for future reference. The Communities home page conveniently shows both quick links to the communities and helpful links to other parts of the website.
Become part of a ‘Community’
You don’t have to wait for the next annual conference to find out what is going on with Siemens PLM and what your colleagues are doing with Siemens PLM software tools. You can join any community all year round that suits your interest and signing up is very easy. If you want to attend a local PLM World conference or meet with other members in your area, check the Regional User Group (RUGs) page. If you want to join a group that talks about Teamcenter Community, join a Special Interest or Focus Group (SIG). Or if you want to join a discussion about recent trends in software or product improvement, check out the Roundtable, Customer Involvement Process (CIP). If you want to post a topic, sign in to one of many PLMWorld discussion forums.
Regional User Groups now have their own websites within PLMWorld.org site. All information about joining the RUGS in your area, upcoming conferences and contacts can be found in each RUG Chapter link. Go to the Regional User Groups page which you can link from the orange drop down menu under Communities or from the Quick Links box on the Communities home page. We encourage RUG leaders and contacts to take every advantage of what the website can offer to help increase interest and membership to your local chapters.
SIGS and Focus Groups
Besides regional user groups, you can also participate and join in one or more Special Interest and Focus groups. These communities are product focus groups that focus on Siemens PLM products within the NX and Teamcenter family of products. You can find out about each group before joining by clicking on More Information button next to each group and if you wish – you can join the group to participate.
During our annual conference – roundtable discussions are formed to enable members to come together to discuss various hot topics about Siemens PLM software. This site provides registration for future roundtable discussions, links to documents and materials presented in previous conferences and invites members to suggest topics for future conferences.
If you have a topic you would like to see at a roundtable discussion at next year’s conference, email Jon Jarrett.
Customer Involvement Process (CIP)
Our new website has a CIP site where you can find out about submitting an Enhancement Request (ERs) for Teamcenter Engineering, NX and other Siemens PLM software products. Before our next conference in 2012, you will be able to vote on submitted ERs just prior to the conference where the highest voted ER’s will be presented to Siemens PLM for review and implementation. Get your voice heard by participating in this worthwhile process.
The discussion forum is the one place where members contribute by posting topics about Siemens PLM products and commenting on other postings by their fellow members. To be able to post in the forum, you will need to join the PLMWorld community by going to the homepage and click on the Join PLMWorld link.
Once you have a membership, you will have access to all the forum posts and be able to create your own posts. When you arrive at the discussion forum home page shown below, you will notice most recent topics in the favorite’s box on the right side. You can set up your own favorites (more on that in a later article when I talk about setting up your profile and favorites) so you can track topics that are of interest to you.
To enter a forum, just click on any discussion forum shown in the screenshot. You will see a list of products within the forum, the latest post dates and whether you have already read the topics or threads. A red square next to a topic means you have not read anything in this thread. An unfilled square means you have new posts in a thread you have started and a grey filled circle means you have already read the thread or last post is older than 30 days.
As you drill down into each topic, you will arrive at a user’s posting where you can reply to a post using a rich text built-in editor which includes bullets, different font styles and sizes and also the option touploaded a file.
Like most discussion posts, you can review your post before sending it or cancel if you decide not to respond.
A Rich Text Editor for creating your own or replying to other posts
So far we have briefly discussed the many rich features your new online community provides. We have only covered one of many sections - the community section and there is indeed a lot more to explore. Take the time to navigate other parts of the website using the orange menu bar I described earlier. Look for future articles as I cover more features of our new community in detail.