Recent presentation on SolidWorks World 2010 about evolution of PLM drove me to think about what is the future of 3D and PLM in longer term. For those who haven’t had chance to see these materials, please take a look on the slide below. What we can see is the strategic move from the world of PLM to the world of (3D) Lifelike Experience
Does it mean PLM vendors is moving back to their 3D roots? Does it mean for PLM to be less involved into overall product lifecycle and processes? Maybe this move will allow better balancing between operational efficiency of ERP to manage corporate resources and combine it with the ability of PLM to manage a comprehensive set of product data?
Historically, PLM grew up from the ability to manage 2D and 3D geometry data. In the beginning, it was about CAD files. Ability to manage product data was the obvious strength of PLM in comparison to material-purchasing world of ERP. Unfortunately, PLM clashed with ERP on their interest to manage engineering product data and interest to drive processes in the organization. PLM made significant efforts to take over management of organizational processes around product design, planning, manufacturing and support. Nevertheless, “money talks” and PLM is still considered as a “step-child’ when you present this solution to CIO in comparison to ERP. In my view, by moving focus into Lifelike experience and Virtual 3D, PLM can become dominant in the overall product creation (from the requirement to material behavior) and leave ERP with operational responsibilities.
Does it mean PLM gave up? I don’t think so. In my view, move towards Lifelike experience, shows transformation from the process-focus into the end-to-end product-focus. PLM will be able to manage a complete set of product information. This is a very interesting move that can change enterprise system landscape. PLM (or 3D Lifelike Experience?) will be more focused on product engineering including all aspects of product requirement, design, manufacturing and user experience. ERP systems will be more focused on the processes and resources.
What is my conclusion? Move from PLM to advanced 3D can remove long term clash between ERP and PLM in the process management domain. ERP will expand into process management focus and PLM will be taking their position in the product engineering management with big emphasizing of 3D, Realistic Design and Manufacturing. Sounds like a rational decision to me.
Just my thoughts… What do you think about that?