How PLM will catch the wave of analytics

by Oleg on October 31, 2014 · 0 comments

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Data has tremendous value for any manufacturing organization. Nobody can dispute that. One of value propositions of PLM is to have an access about product data and process information in a meaningful form. You can find lot of information about it online. Here is just one example. Navigate to Tech Clarity report – Business Intelligence extending PLM value by Jim Brown. I liked the following passage from the blog post introducing the report:

The perfect storm of application and implementation maturity has set the table for significant value to be unleashed from PLM. The data currently buried in PLM systems is an untapped source of value for manufacturers. Now, companies are turning to Business Intelligence (BI) in order to tap into the wealth of product knowledge generated and available in PLM repositories. And like ERP, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and other enterprise applications have proven in the past, there is strategic and tactical business value waiting to be delivered.

However, not much was done to bring it into reality. Most of reporting functionality of PLM products is clunky. Significant effort needed to bring right data in the right form. In many situations, customers are using services to generate and run reports. I touched the topic of PLM analytics a year ago – What is the future of PLM data analytics? My main point back one year ago was about speed of report generating and analytic processing. I can see some changes in the recent time. PLM vendors are starting to focus on how to improve data access user experience and speed of reporting.

PLM vendors are not alone in the hunt for data analytics these days. Few weeks ago, Salesforce.com announced about their plans to democratize analytics and bring it to every user in a simple way. Navigate your browser to the following link to learn more about Salesforce Analytics Cloud powered by Wave technologies.

The following  screenshot captured from Salesforce Analytics cloud website made me think Salesforce is not limiting analytics to CRM data. The vision of Salesforce Wave is much beyond – the plan is to reach out to data located on the desktop, public internet, social networks and enterprise applications. It includes partnership with other vendors too.  Sort of grand vision…

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It made me think about the role PLM vendors and PLM products will play in new analytics wave plans. My attention caught by PTC announcement – PTC Joins New Salesforce Analytics Cloud Ecosystem to Extend Internet of Things Technology.

PTC will use its PTC ThingWorx and PTC Axeda Machine Cloud® technology to extend Wave by providing access to streaming Internet of Things (IoT) data from smart, connected products. Specifically, the integration will empower PTC and Salesforce customers to view data generated in a unified experience. The insights gained from the data will allow business units across an organization to more easily develop data analytic strategies that deliver stronger business value to their customers.

CIMdata provided an additional insight on PTC and Salesforce partnership here. To me, the key thing is related to unified experience. That was the key missing part in business intelligence, reporting and other data extraction technologies developed in the past.

What is my conclusion? Salesforce made a huge platform step by introducing Salesforce Wave. However, the future success of Wave is dependent on data availability. How fast Salesforce will be able to provide access to data locked in other enterprise platforms? The value of mixing CRM and PLM data can be significant and it can help PLM vendors to bring customers to their platforms. However, to catch the wave can be a tricky part for PLM platforms. It will require significant shift in openness and state of mind. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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How to sell PLM to enterprise IT

by Oleg on October 30, 2014 · 0 comments

Enterprise IT adoption cycle diagram made by Simon Wardley made me feel sad and funny at the same time. I found it one of the best visualizations of many situations I’ve been in the past when working on PLM sales and implementation situations. This is a brilliant reflection of technology adoption route for IT department – ignore, prevent, tolerate, allow, integrate (credit Joe Drumgoole tweet).

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It made me think about how to prevent a conflict with enterprise IT earlier in the PLM sales process. Today, I want to share some of my recommendations. These steps helped me in many situations. This is not a silver bullet, but I found them useful. PLM system and implementation cannot live in isolation. It has to be integrated with many other systems and processes in organization. Therefore, to learn them early during the sales process can be very beneficial.

1- Learn about enterprise IT 

You need to make yourself familiar with basics of enterprise IT. You can bring engineering people to help you at this stage, but you need to get basic information about company enterprise infrastructure, data centers, data management. You need to learn how IT is managed. Is it local team? Does company use outsource IT consultant and service company, etc.

2- Get information about related enterprise software

PLM system cannot live in isolation. So, it will use databases, connect and use variety of application services, integrated with ERP and CRM systems. It will help you a lot to gather information about enterprise software. More specifically, you need to learn about fundamentals of how company is doing item master management, material planning and manufacturing BOM.

3- Find matched solutions 

Do some homework and research to find similar solutions and/or references to products already used by a company. It will help you to find precedents and patterns you can refer during the review with IT organization.

4- Ask for meeting with enterprise IT to discuss PLM values and architecture

Don’t wait until late stage to discuss architecture and specific deployment aspects with IT organization. Do it earlier in the process to identify potential conflicts of infrastructure and process implementation – security, data ownership, workflows related to manufacturing planning  and supply chain. During the meeting, try to show how IT organization will benefit from adopting PLM solution. It can come in many places – better data management, process optimization, collaboration with suppliers, data integration. Very often, IT organization suffers from complexity of processes IT people need to support. Explain to IT how PLM solution can help if you will have one more vote inside of organization.

5- Make reference call with IT people 

Find existing customers that you can reference with similar enterprise infrastructure and solution landscape. Nothing can be more convincing IT people, than speaking to people having same roles in another company. In many situations it can help to solve problems much faster.

What is my conclusion? Enterprise sales requires communication with IT people in organization. One of the mistakes is to think that you need first to convince business and engineering people about PLM solutions. In my view, this is wrong approach. You need to work proactively with IT, otherwise IT can destroy the deal at very last moment. To get references from existing well-known customers is one of the best ways to pass IT. To have certification and/or partnerships with vendors, which products already used and can be referenced is another complementary approach. If you see a major conflict in architecture, system approach or IT strategy, you better get an alert about that early in the process. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Diagram by Simon Wardley’s  blog - Bits or Pieces?  (CC BY SA 3.0)

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Uber and Smart Product Lifecycle

by Oleg on October 29, 2014 · 0 comments

MCawards14

I had a chance to attend MassChallenge Awards event tonight at Boston Convention Center. For those of your who is not familiar, MassChallenge is global startup competition and acceleration program. You can get more data about MassChallenge here and by visiting their website. What is distinguish MassChallenge from many others similar program is the fact it is one of the largest non-profit accelerator created with the vision to build global network of value creation programs.

MassChallenge Award event gathered few very interesting speakers. Among others, Mass Governor Deval Patrick, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt  and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. You can get more details about award event here.  To me, the presentation of Uber’s Travis Kalanick was one of the most impressive. Travis talked about Uber development in Greater Boston as well as demonstrated few very interesting data points about Uber and Boston.

I want to share with you few slides and examples from Uber presentation. The first one shows a snapshot of active Uber rides at specific moment of time in Boston.

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The following one shows drivers efficiency distribution

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The next one shows median time (in minutes) you need to wait to get Uber car.

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The last and the most interesting shows data about arrivals of cars at Boston Fenway over the course of RedSox season.

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These slides reminded me of an article from Uber’s blog I had a chance to read few years ago, Uberdata: how prostitution and alcohol made Uber better. Yes, I know, it’s quite an unusual topic, at least for this blog. Nevertheless, I think this is a must read article for anybody who deal with product lifecycle software these days and here is why…

Uber folks are running some very interesting analysis of data over the course of Uber lifecycle. Think about Uber as a product with its own lifecycle. Uber is gathering information about Uber customers, requirements, environment and product experience. After that, Uber folks are running some very interesting analysis of data related to Uber in a specific city and multiple cities. Here is a very fascinating quote from Uber blog:

This finding is a perfect example of the fascinating insights you can get when you combine big, seemingly disparate datasets. By trying to figure out how to predict where to position our cars, we got a peek at the ebb and flow of the life and crimes of San Francisco. Expect more of these kinds of posts in the next couple of weeks.

Article describes a very interesting story of correlation between Uber rides, welfare payments, population dencity and social activity in the city. The last includes statistics by prostitution crime by week/hours.

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The approach Uber is taking is getting more and more popular these days. It made me think about completely different way of looking on every product. Think about product lifecycle. The majority of functions covered by PLM today are related to management of engineering and manufacturing planning data. However, step out of traditional product lifecycle mantra and think about experience and product data. Think about combining these data sets together. PLM tools should look on the product and how improve product experience. We are not using data efficiently today and it resulted in suboptimal decisions made by manufacturing companies and bad experience.

What is my conclusion? PLM companies need to think how to move from the position of “just capturing data” to the position of using data proactively to manage product lifecycle in a very smart way. It includes capturing every bit of information about product experience, customers, environment and translating it into meaningful actions. It will start a new era of PLM managing smart product lifecycle. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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Tesla, iPad on wheels and BOM management complexity

October 28, 2014

The complexity of manufacturing is skyrocketing these days. It sounds reasonable for many of us when it comes to spaceships, jetliners and defense systems. You can think about car as something much simpler. Navigate to Ford Heritage website article – Ford Celebrates 100 Years of the Moving Assembly Line. The complexity of Ford Model T […]

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Will PLM vendors work with Apple and IBM on Mobile First?

October 28, 2014

  Few months ago, I posted about potential for Apple and IBM to open a door for mobile PLM future. Blog raised lot of questions, but I haven’t seen any groundbreaking announcements from CAD and PLM vendors since that time. Maybe I missed some press releases or maybe companies are shy to announce and work […]

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5 reasons why is hard to replace Excel with PLM?

October 26, 2014

One of the most prominent marketing slogans in PLM and enterprise software is related to “replacement of Excel”. I have my own love and hate relationships with Excel. Despite all progress in user experience and other aspects of PLM software, Excel is still king of the enterprise and “export to Excel” is one of the […]

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PLM cloud options and 2014 SaaS survey

October 24, 2014

The number of SaaS businesses is growing these days. You probably had a chance to read my CAD, PLM and Top 500 cloud app vendors list few months ago. However, one size doesn’t fit all. This is certainly true about engineering software and PLM. As PLM companies are moving to the cloud, we want to learn […]

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Why to ask cloud PLM vendor about Devops and Kubernetes

October 23, 2014

I want to continue the theme of how do we move to the cloud. While Amazon remains one of the major providers of elastic computing services, other options are emerging too. If you consider to move your PLM initiatives to the cloud, you might do some analysis about how actually cloud PLM can be made. […]

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PLM and Microsoft Azure Cloud In A Box

October 22, 2014

How do you move to the cloud? This is one of topics I’m discussing on my blog for the last year. The last time, I took a swing towards public cloud. Navigate to my PLM vendors, large manufacturers and public cloud article for more information. However, not everybody will move to public cloud. At least not […]

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PLM Files Detox

October 21, 2014

The digital life around us is changing. It was a time when everything we did was running around desktop computer. You do your job, Save As… and, yes(!) put it in a file that can give you control over the result of your job. That’s the reason why engineers are in love with CAD files […]

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