What Will Be The Role of Mobile Applications in PLM?

What Will Be The Role of Mobile Applications in PLM?

Mobile is growing. For the last few years we had chance to see massive introduction of mobile user experience. In the place where before we’ve seen only mobile mails and messages, new mobile devices (especially iPhones) are leading to the complete experience and capabilities. I decided to share my thought about why, I think, new mobile experience will give a new opportunity to PLM?

What is the most problematic side of PLM? I think, this is mainstream user adoption in the organization. PLM perceived as a complex, not usable and mostly required for engineering organization. However, there are many opportunities that can be discovered by PLM if the decision will be to move it to be mobile.

Process Monitoring
Most of the process monitoring is going via email or alternative process management applications. In this context, the information that needs to be presented and/or reviewed is relatively simple and list oriented sets of data (list of the approval, dependencies, open ECOs, issues, etc.). To have an ability to monitor these activities via the mobile device can speed up processing and operation of engineering and manufacturing organization.

This is hugely undervalued activity by PLM applications, in my view. To have an ability to report, BOMs, ECOs, Drawings and other information are highly valuable. To have it handy on your mobile device, in my view, will be a great benefit.

This is a growing opportunity in my view. I’m sure you had chance to see 3DVIA Mobile. I think it opens an opportunity for new user experience that can be realized in both enterprise and consumer space. I already can image how digital imaging can be used to resolve some manufacturing shop floor situations as well as consumer experience with new products buying, customer support and some others.

Marketing and Sales
Last, but definitely not least. Mobile applications can provide an opportunity to present product features, promote some interesting product usages, provide guidance and troubleshooting.

What is my conclusion? The main point for tomorrow organization – it will become dynamic and mobile. You shouldn’t be on  your desk to need information and make a decision. So, PLM needs to think how to embrace mobile and improve PLM acceptance in the organization on this way.

Best, Oleg


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  • Oleg,

    I see at this moment a good possibility for Mobile PLM on he Shop Floor. I just finished a project where people on the shopfloor had to fill-in a FAT (Fabrication Acceptance Test) in the PLM System. The problem is that they have to walk around the Machine they are testing and because of this it is impossible to use a laptop.

    The only problem I see is the size of the screen. I can not imagine that people want to view a 3D Model from a Mobile device.



  • Menk: Thanks for sharing example case! Agree, screen size is a problem. I’m awaiting to see bigger device soon. I think we’ll see more devices following Apple table intro… Best, Oleg

  • Oleg,

    I think that an interesting question will be the business model to charge for PLM applications for a mobile device.

    A fwe years ago, I think it was 2004 or 2005, I had the opportunity to see a few applications developed for Teamcenter on PDAs, tablet PCs and similar mobile devices: in the specific case, it was in the MRO domain.

    The main concern of such devices, is that the mobile application requires, to be usable, tailoring to the exact context of the user, and therefore very much tailored to the individual customer. This makes a mobile application for a customer very costly to develop and maintain (regardless of the technology used to do the job).

    So the question arises: are we PLM software providers willing and capable of investing to provide generic PLM application that can be used by all our customers without tailoring, will a mobile PLM app be something developed by a 3rd party using our integration libraries (e.g. a SOA layer), or will customers develop their own PLM apps?

    By the way, these guys using Teamcenter on tablet PCs were using full 3D visualization, masurement and markup capabilities, e.g. to annotate for example points of failure of a part.

    Kind regards

  • Paolo, Thanks for sharing your experience. What you are talking about is what I called “previous tablet wave”. I think new touch interfaces and iPhone experience changed minds of many people. So, first need to come use case, then a business model can be discussed. With growing interest in SaaS, there are plenty of choices for difference business organization. On the other side, “mobile” cn be also associated with “personal”. This is also an interesting business model for the organization – combination of personal devices and private/public cloud apps… What do you think? What is the most interesting mobile space in the enterprise? Is it manufacturing? Sales? Marketing? Best, Oleg

  • Manuel Joseph


    The advantage of using PLM over Mobile space comes to sales/marketing. Because they are concerned more about data, which are text/2D, may be 3-D not too much ( may be they can share the image to a Projector at a customer site). They could be important to get updated information on Offer drawings and need not worry if they have the latest in the laptops.
    In other fields, I see limited usage for e.g. engineering managers may use it to visualize data to approve/reject design changes, participate in workflows, but if they think, they need more detailed investigation, they need to take the help of machines.
    Due to the limited market, i believe that there are not many developers, who see an interest in developing apps.

  • Manuel, It makes sense. Sales/Marketing would love it, but systems need to support the ability to get up-to-date materials as you said. Engineering managers would love to have iPhones to monitor/approve processes. Developers will stay on reg lapt/desks. Manufacturing is questionable… Best, Oleg

  • I agree with your point of view, but I also have their own ideas, such as …

  • Hello,

    To add, I believe Mobile device is equally important when talking about manufacturing sites, can help in maintaining quality aspect of manufactured product, team managing, etc. Thinking about mobile on the broader scale, it can make an organization to operate without any paper and pen work. Moreover information on mobile is available with you everytime, so thought process and new ideas can be worked upon at any time. Since the things can be made as per the industry’s requirement, it has opened doors for the companies to work, while carrying information on their mobile handsets.


  • Prateek, I completely agree. To add mobile on a global scale in the company can be very beneficial. However, it raises lots of questions such as – 1/ how to support existing apps, 2/security, 3/people’s communication. Best, Oleg

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