In one of my previous posts, I raised the question if PLM needs to develop its own process tools. Looking at the few announcements made by IBM and Siemens PLM, I asked myself the following question again: Where is PLM going regarding the implementation of Business Process Management (BPM) and SOA related frameworks? For the moment, I have more questions than answer, but my basic assumptions follow:
- From the PLM standpoint, business processes (or collaborative business processes) are a significant portion of what enterprise PLM does.
- There are about 100 companies in the world that are doing something more or less associated with Business Process Management (analysts normally talk about 10-20 top players).
- Pure BPM players are rarely involved into PLM implementations; PLM companies normally provide workflow and process functionality by themselves.
Comparing PLM and BPM process capabilities, I have concluded that:
- PLM provides a very good product-oriented workflow, but is relatively weak in enterprise functions and administration, and other middleware components.
- The BPM offering is always more agile and more generic compared to PLM business processes.
- BPM normally provides connectivity adapters… and for PLM products too.
The very interesting piece of IBM PDIF framework is related to IBM Web Sphere Process Server and additional process-oriented middleware components. I wonder what combination of PLM software from Siemens PLM will support the process components of PDIF and how they will work together. Similar frameworks are available with other big enterprise stakeholders such as Microsoft, SAP, and Oracle. How can their respectful products provide similar functionality?
Speaking broadly about PLM and BPM, I found the following questions interesting.
- Will PLM follow the traditional path and continue to develop BPM components to make their PLM Process technologies stronger?
- Will PLM vendors be interested in the acquisition of one of the available BPM pure players to get more “process stuff” on board?
- Will PLM adjust more to the BPM capabilities of large enterprise and platform vendors?
I look forward to your comments and opinions.