Almost two months ago, I had a chance to read a blog article by Mobile Beat with some intriguing name “Open is for losers” by Dave McClure. Take a look and form your opinion. Understanding the overall intention to provoke a good discussion around this topic, I decided to follow this blog post in some time to read discussion and see people’s opinion on this topic. It happened that independently some of PLM Think Tank posts generated some interesting discussion related to the topic of Openness.
Today, I want to get back and discuss how I see the future of openness in PLM and Engineering Software.
Standards, Formats, Data Models
The discussion about standards and formats is life long. Do you think CAD and PLM industry will be able to generate a reasonable quality standard answering to the needs of industry? Discussions in this field are varying from request to develop independent formats and ends up by requests to disclosure existing data models, formats, etc. I don’t think these discussions may produce results in near future. The development of common formats and models is too expensive and, in the end, will require to have a set of tools to work with. The interesting potential will be to borrow some of the emerging web technologies.
APIs, Toolkits and Platforms
API is the most referenced way to make software open. Combined with a set of patterns, technologies and buzzwords, this is probably the way to do it in real life. The biggest remaining problem in this space is reliability and compliance of these APIs within the time. In addition, APIs and other internal mechanisms are under heavy licensing by vendors. I don’t see any silver bullet these days that can make any major improvements in this space.
Applications and Solutions
The reality of a current situation is that customers are working with multiple applications, products and solutions. In many situations, I can see no interest for a particular vendor to enable easy data migration from one tool to another. Therefore, we can see multiple software vendors or service providers that can help customers to solve this problem.
What is my conclusion today? How To Climb To Open PLM? This is the most important question that needs to be asked collectively in the industry. I think, the industry movement into PLM openness is the indicator of industry maturity. I can see ups and downs on this road. A critical mass of openness needs to be delivered by vendors to turn on the switch of benefits from open PLM. Multiple established vendors and newcomers will need to invest enough resources to make it happen. The remaining players will be able to deliver better solutions. Some of them can probably die on the road. Just my thoughts…