PLM and Enterprise Integration Game

by Oleg on August 23, 2010 · 1 comment

Manufacturing company enterprise landscape becomes more and more complex every year. Companies are implementing new products and versions of existing products. PLM is one of them. One of the questions asked by any IT organization is how all products can be connected and integrated to support organization’s business processes. Historically, integration business, was considered as a very complicated. To solve a problem of system integrations with significant dependencies is not a simple task. The issue of PLM integration seems to me important. PLM business interest to support product-lifecycle related processes are heavily dependent on how PLM system will be able to maintain multiple integrations with enterprise systems – ERP, CRM, ECM, SRM, etc. The PLM’s rivals in this space is definitely ERP system. Many times, I had a chance to see how PLM – ERP integrations became one of the key topics to be resolved to improve product lifecycle management across the organization.

ERP Integration Challenges

ERP itself experiencing significant challenges in the space of “enterprise integration”. As a consequence of multiple diverse integration made by key ERP players in this space, the question of integration becomes an internal ERP problem. The key challenger in this space is Oracle with their multi-year, multi-billion program of Oracle Fusion. However, other players such as SAP and Infor are also deeply in their “integration tasks”. I recently read an article – Infor on track to trump Oracle in the integration game. Both, Infor and Oracle are making broad statements with regards to seamless enterprise integrations. Here is Infor’s passage:

“Infor ION services are designed to enable companies of all sizes to benefit from advanced yet simple application integration, business process management and shared data reporting.”

Enterprise Integration and PLM Focus

As part of their enterprise integration initiatives (Fusion Platform), Oracle is trying to bring more value into the PLM offering as well. Navigate your browser on this link to see a glimpse of integration architecture proposed by Oracle. Also, take a look on Oracle blog about Fusion Integration practices and you will learn how Oracle is planning to leverage Fusion platform to integration their Agile PLM. Does it make sense to me? Yes, it does. However it seems to me so 1990s…

What is my conclusion? PLM integration game can get back. I haven’t seen any significant announcement coming out of mindshare PLM vendors related to strengths of their integration capabilities. PLM vendors were too focused on the unification of their internal architectures in the past. At the same time, I can see PLM competition at the high-end customer segment will become stronger in coming years. With an urgent need to deliver results, PLM companies will turn their focus on win backs of big accounts. This is a place where PLM will need their integration technologies to fight against ERP vendors. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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