PLM and The Future Of Files In Organizations

Thanks for one of my readers who sent me the link to Wrench Enterprise. Their presentation about project collaboration and file sharing, made me think about files in enterprise organization. I think, even after many years of web oriented applications and implementations, files remain a very important piece of every enterprise organization. The collaboration between different people in the organization with involvement of files is growing, in my view. I see few interesting trends in the future of files in the engineering and enterprise organizations.

First, let’s where all these files are coming from. The significant piece of files comes from CAD/CAE applications. They have been targeted by multiple PDM Applications for the last 15-20 years with variable success, in my view. Another significant chunk of files comes from Office applications – Emails, Word, PowerPoint and, of course, the King of the road – Excel (or an alternative spreadsheet application). The third big part of files is various outcomes / reports from multiple engineering and enterprise applications. So, what will happen with all these files in the future? What organizations will do with this huge amount of files?

Here is my take on this. I can see possible three trends related to the future of files in the engineering organization – (1) Dissolve in Web Apps; (2) Acquisition by Content Servers; (3) Migrate to Cloud Storage(s).

Dissolve in PLM Web Applications
This trend will present the future move to web type applications from desktop applications. In my view, it represents a strategic move, but at the same time it will be a relatively slow process. Enterprise and engineering organization is very conservative, and it will take a lot of time until the majority of web apps in the organization will be web based.

Acquisition by Enterprise Content Servers
This is an interesting one, in my view. Content Management can grow in enterprise organization. Content Management has a small presence in engineering compare to the traditional PLM folks. The growing amount of SharePoint-like solution, reminds me about the the future movement in this direction.

Migrate to Cloud Storage
The most un-realistic for the short term. Organization in general and engineering organization specifically wants to keep their data closely and this is directly related to IP protection. The security concerns are still high. However, I’d expect an interesting trend for small organizations to outsource and host their servers. And it means the solution will become a very practical soon.

I’m interested to hear your comments and thoughts, as usual.
Best, Oleg



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  • I think what will be interesting here is to see how companies will create software that ties into the cloud storage providers. First I remeber hearing of was Jungle Disk (now owned by rackspace) using Amazon S3.

    My favorite so far is Dropbox. It doesn’t get any simpler. I can share/work instantly.

  • Josh, thanks for your comment! It is interesting to see how companies will balance between corp. needs and personal usages of services like dropbox etc.. What is your take on this? Best, Oleg

  • Stanislas


    I think it’s already the 1st case that have been choosen by DS for V6. There’s no more CAD files left ! They’re automaticaly saved in the Enovia vaults…
    But in my mind the second option is the more accurate as the Entreprise Content Management will grow and get the files for all apps.


  • Stanislas, Thanks for your comment! You are right- CATIA V6 is an example. I’d imaging ENOVIA vaults as well as other PLM-like vaults to disappear and replaced by Content Enterprise Vaults. Actually, I’d expect (3) and (4) to merge together and become public and private cloud with similar functions. Best, Oleg

  • Oleg, good question. I think there is an issue with finding and processing files from one team member to the next in the context of workflow or projects. We process data through the workflow using a system called Vdot, it tells me which data is beeing processed or ready to go, which tool I need to process the data and provides a dashboard of the overall status (

  • Thomas, Thanks for your comment and link! I think, the problem you specified does exist. However, my point is that role of “file” will be changed in the future to be somewhat different. Best, Oleg

  • Good Article Oleg. In my view with more organizations embracing electronic signatures the need for physical files will decrease. One of the major reasons why files with hard copies of documents existed was lack of electronic signatures on them and willingness of regulatory authorities to accept such signatures

  • Jyotirmoy, Thank you for your comment! You made a good point about electronic signatures. This is probably true for lots of engineering and manufacturing organizations that still require a signature on physical docs or 2D electronic prints. Best, Oleg