I can see a growing interest of PLM providers to explore the story of enterprise search. This morning I’ve seen a mutual press release of Aras Corp. and NorthRidge Software. I liked this passage in the press-release:
PLM solutions encompass a wide range of complex data and files in a variety of formats, including CAD files, quality data, regulatory specifications, requirements, BOMs and more. With the NorthRidge Search Solution, Aras Innovator users can locate drawings, documents and other information by searching on keyword terms, phrases in the content or metadata values.
What is specially interesting in this information is that Aras is trying to follow their Open Source strategies and adopting Lucene and Solr a well known Open Source enterprise search solution and search libraries. If you want to learn more about Lucene you still can register to Lucene Revolution, which will happen in Boston in the beginning of October.
Just to remind you the previous events in PLM fast ride towards enterprise search technologies. Earlier this year, PTCconfirmed their OEM relationships with Endecca. Almost In parallel to that, Dassault Systems spent 135M Euros to acquire Exalead – a provider of web and enterprise search solution.
So, what means this enterprise search gold rush for PLM companies. I can see 3 main reasons why PLM solution providers can be interested in making their search and enterprise search arsenals stronger.
PLM Systems Complexity
This is probably the top interest. At the time that PLM concepts getting acceptance in the enterprise, complexity of the tools and implementation becomes one of the most critical showstoppers preventing PLM software vendors from going mainstream in organizations. Search as a paradigm seems to be an option to resolve this complexity.
Enterprise Software Competition
The competition among software vendors is growing. Mindshare PLM providers face a strong competition from other enterprise software vendors such as providers of ERP, Supply Chain, Manufacturing Execution and other software. Each of these enterprise application classes represents a silo of information inside of organization. Enterprise search can be a technology to find information in multiple silos.
Influence of Consumer Software
This is last, but very important. I can see a significant influence on enterprise software in general and on PLM specifically from everything that exists in the consumer software space and on the internet. Search is hugely popular because of the success of Google. It provides a significant impact on decisions of PLM vendors to follow these streams.
What is my conclusion? Enterprise Software and PLM are struggling with a “complexity disease”. On the other side, enterprise search software is struggling with the need to provide additional differentiation to their “boring” search stories. It seems to me as a perfect match between them. What is your opinion?