Future PLM platforms and SAP / Oracle technological wars

by Oleg on January 25, 2012 · 10 comments

All existing PDM / PLM technologies were created 15-20 years ago. I hope I’ve got your attention :) . So, let me speak a bit more about technologies today. Past 10 years of web development for the consumer market created a significant technological foundation that cannot be ignored. Most of the enterprise software in production these days is running on the technologies created at least a decade ago.

Let’s talk first about major 4 PLM providers – Dassault Systems, PTC, Siemens PLM and the platform they use for their flagship PLM products. Enovia from Dassault technological foundation came from MatrixOne acquisition former MatrixOne/Adra development 15-20 years ago. PTC is using Windchill coming back in 1998 from CV acquisition. Siemens PLM platform – TeamCenter is also coming from acquired and transformed product lines of Metaphase and IMAN.

Thinking about PLM platforms, you cannot avoid and not to speak about long time pure-PLM rivals coming from ERP software – SAP and Oracle. Oracle is leading the way towards full-fledged usage of Oracle Fusion platform. Despite multiple delays and re-orgs, it seems to me the way Oracle is thinking about business application platform for enterprise. Oracle is also leveraging their in-house innovation of database technologies.

I was reading an interesting article by ArnoldIT – SAP: Lemons from Lemonade for Search vendors. The article referencing technology coming from SAP called HANA. According to SAP blog:

HANA is the foundation and the core of all that we do now and going forward for existing products, new products and entirely new frontiers. We are transforming enterprise software with HANA, and we are transforming our entire product portfolio,” Sikka said in a statement earlier this week announcing that SAP HANA is now generally available worldwide. “But HANA is more than a product,” Sikka continued. “It is a new paradigm, an entirely new way to build applications. It is the basis for our own intellectual renewal internally at SAP—where we rethink how we design, build, deploy, service and sell products—and the basis for our customers’ and partners’ intellectual renewal—where we help customers rethink existing business problems and help them solve entirely new challenges using design-thinking.” (Source: The Top 10 Reasons SAP HANA Is Disrupting Larry Ellison’s Grand Plans]

Take a look on a very interesting video about HANA evolution.

Few screenshots I captured from this video (below) clearly shows the technological problem PLM vendors are trying to solve already for many years- creating a scalable business application platform capable of handling the complexity of data needed for product development and manufacturers.

Typical problem of enterprise applications.

The complexity of platforms and solutions today.

HANA way to solve the problem.

What is my conclusion? The complexity of enterprise PLM software is skyrocketing. PLM products are running on proven, but outdated platforms. My hunch – all major PLM vendors having some future technology platform projects on their back-burner. I don’t know if it comes as Enovia V7, TeamCenter Future or Creo Enterprise. What is clear to me is that PLM companies need to come with the next technological platforms to leverage last 10 years development of web and consumer space. Otherwise, they will be dismissed by newcomers. ERP vendors such as Oracle and SAP also keep stakes in this enterprise software game and need to be watched carefully by PLM players. Just my thoughts..

Best, Oleg

Freebie. SAP didn’t pay me to write this post.

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