PLM Jungle or PLM State?

PLM Jungle or PLM State?

I read a blog post by Stephen Porter of Zero Wait State called – The PLM State: Why can’t we all just get along?. I think Stephen raised an important question of vendors co-existence in the engineering software ecosystem. It made me think about PLM Software Landscape and trends going around.

PLM and Enterprise Software Trends

In my view, there are few important things that happen today in PLM and engineering software world. I’d like to name few of them – vertical integration, increased speed of change and influence of consumer software. Vertical integration becomes more and more important in PLM. Customers are not interested to spend time integrating products. Customer demanded to have things integrated and work together from the beginning. It raises many questions about how vendors will maintain integrations. Speed of change represents growing dynamics of businesses. Engineering and PLM software will need to adjust their clocks with businesses. 12 months changes processes seems to be as something that business will stop accepting very soon. The cost of change becomes even more important. It raises a lot of questions related to traditional software release frames and speed of updates. Influence of consumer software becomes crucial. I think, we love all new applications and devices that came to use for the last 5-7 years. You can see a clear difference between “weekend life” and “business week” life. I can see a clear demand of customers to adopt “consumer behaviors” in the enterprise.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

This is another very important aspect to mention. During the last 10-15 years, PLM and other enterprise software companies tried to apply best practices and other strategies related to software product unification. My conclusion after these years is simple – one size doesn’t fit all. The need for diversification becomes more and more clear. Solutions are moving towards customization and differentiations of users in the organization. It will imply a growing amount of multi-vendor software use by customers.

Focus on Customers

Last, but definitely not least. The relationships between customer and vendors are moving in a very interesting direction. It reflects the overall software trends towards openness and customer excellence. The growing amount of Open Source, SaaS and other new business models will decrease customer’s lock-in on a specific software. It reflected in what customers will be looking for in the future PLM and Engineering Software.

What is my conclusion? I think, changes are coming to PLM Jungle from the outside world. Current models will not survive. The wave towards more dynamic business, openness, and customer un-locking is too strong to ignore.

Best, Oleg


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  • Mark Levitt

    Good posting Oleg. Providing customers with tools that meet their unique needs is definitely important. Determining who, where and when to do customization is just as important. We’re responding to a growing trend toward demanding capabilities right out-of-the-box with minimal customization by the customer. One customer is seeing 97% of their requirements being met out of our PLM box. Another customer commented that they would prefer that we customize our software rather than they customize our software. A third has actively reduced the degree of customization to limit the time, money, and complexity involved in managing software upgrades.

  • Sporter

    Thanks for the shout out and I obviously have opinions on this topic. I agree that customization and integration have become negative words in the PLM world but they are always going to need to be part of the solution as you point out with your “one size doesn’t fit all” comment. It comes down to how easy and inexpensive the customization and integration are and what is involved in maintaining it. Vendors that develop flexible solutions that lend themselves to customization either by the vendor or the end user and provide open interfaces to other solutions will thrive. Those that try and lock a client in to one type of solution will see their market share dwindle. As you highlight in you blog the new product devleopment environment is changing rapidly so successful vendors must develop adaptable solutions.

  • MarcL

    Mark – Hear what you’re sayin… however, tend to agree with Oleg and Sporter. One-size-can’t-fit everyone.

    Sure there was this one customer that was able to use it OOTB, what about in 6 mons when business reqs change, mkt opportunity emerges? Are they stuck? What about the next company that has completely different competitive processes?

    These are real issues that don’t get addressed by the “just buy it now ‘as is’ don’t worry, it’ll work” pitch. Truth is that enterprise PLM deployments at global companies are constantly called on to adapt… and quickly.

    Flexibility, agility, extensibility, ease of integration – these are the characteristics that market leaders demand… and not attributes that today’s other major PLM providers can deliver.

    That’s why we’re open, why we connect, why we enable. Because no one knows what the future holds – so we better be ready to adapt… not impeed.

    Just my 2 cents? What’ ur take?


  • Leonid Ototsky

    Cool !!! Oleg . Suppose there I have pointed out some else directions here ( in the 3rd and 4th parts ) –

  • beyondplm

    Mark, thanks for your comment! I think, your explanation of diversification is going in the right direction. I think, you explained why “one size product development system” cannot fit requirements of manufacturing companies. There is no “average Joe” there. So, it fails into small potential market share or expensive services to customize things. What is your take on this? Best, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    Stephen, Yes, adaptable solution is probably a right word. I think, if PLM vendors will start looking more in the internet and mobile tools, they will find a way to do it right. Just my opinion, of course.

  • beyondplm

    Marc, I’m with you on this case. Just imaging, if all manufacturers are using the same “best practices”, they will be all “average”. There is something wrong in OOTB use case. Best, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    Leonid, thanks for this link! Best, Oleg