Thoughts about PDM/PLM jumbos and PLM glue

Thoughts about PDM/PLM jumbos and PLM glue


PDM v. PLM. This topic is usually raising lots of questions. Still is… People are getting confused by names and functions. Few years ago, I wrote 3 posts comparing PDM and PLM from different aspects – data, process and integration. Recently, Chad Jackson made me think about PLM and PDM topic again by his write up of Enovia capabilities. You might read my PDMish, PLMish and other CADPDLM bundles following Chad’s post.

Aras blog is bringing PDM v PLM topic again. Navigate to PDM or PLM? Yes. story by Peter Schroer – CEO and President of Aras. Peter draws a clear functional line between PDM and PLM. The following passage put all “dots” in comparison between D and L in product development.

PDM doesn’t provide product configuration management (effectivity) or enterprise process management. It doesn’t keep the design in synch with product workflows or requirements management, it doesn’t manage non-CAD and non-file based data very well, and it doesn’t track where that part or assembly fits in to the entire system lifecycle process. While PDM is useful, it doesn’t help make supply chains more efficient, it doesn’t improve quality or customer satisfaction, and it doesn’t help increase revenue.

The recipe I captured in Aras’ blog is suggesting PLM to play the role of glue that connect PDM (engineering) and extended enterprise (rest of the company).

PLM, or product lifecycle management, is the glue between PDM and the extended enterprise. PLM takes product data and puts it in the correct context for each user. For some users the CAD file is the center of their universe, but for many others CAD-based data is just a small subset of the entire set of product information they work with.

The last things about “glue” made me think about future integration strategies in PDM/PLM world. It was a time when everybody had a dream of a single PLM system used by everybody in the company providing a holistic set of functions. However, nowadays the number of “single PLM” believers are going down.

So, what comes next? Few weeks ago, I’ve been discussing the idea of Future unbundling strategies in PLM. Thinking more, I can see future separation of giant systems into small services as something more feasible. I can see how small features and functions are getting traction in a company to fulfill a specific need – change management, configurations, engineering BOM, etc.

What is my conclusion? I can see more tools and service diversity in the future. It is very hard to provide ready to go out-of-the-box set of functions. Compared to that, I can see set of services to make product development, collaboration, data management and communication more efficient. Some of tools can be cloud- and some of them – on-premise based. Social platforms will play a role of one-big-system-glue. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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  • PERASSO Gregory

    Hi Oleg
    More than glue, I will say Oil or Lubricating !

  • Good comments, Oleg.
    I like to say that the differentiator between PLM and PDM (plus other enterprise systems) is the “synergy”. In my dreams of the PLM future, the biggest added value that PLM offers is the synergy between the different types of data in various engineering enterprise systems. I described PLM Synergy more here: .

  • Kerry Lamb

    Hi Oleg,
    Like you said the “social platforms” will be playing a larger role in the enterprise business model and PLM is pretty well established as a component of enterprise business model. The services architecture is obviously more friendly mechanism for allowing a customer to “build and maintain” or “Plug and play” the system “they need” and “can afford” verses what one vendor may offer.
    Today, I see many customers looking more closely at the “cost” verses “benefit” numbers when they are buying additional functionality or looking at upgrading a system. Too many vendors have very poor integrations between products they have purchased over the years and their core PLM products. This has also added to the complexity of doing an upgrade when there are migrations involved when the vendor making core changes to their data models to accommodate these new acquisition functionalities.
    In other words the smarter customers are looking at costs of initial purchase, customization, deployment, and ongoing maintaince / upgrade costs. And what many are finding is that the benefits of single sourced solutions are very expensive and somewhat restrictive making them re-think their PLM decisions.

  • beyondplm

    Gregory, thanks! funny analogies 🙂

  • beyondplm

    George, thanks for your comment and link! synergy between data types is a very important thing. Since the moment we agree “single system is not an option”, merge and fusion of data is an absolute priority. Best, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    Kerry, thanks for you insight! For long time, the demand for better vertical integration was a clear priority for many customers. As a result many vendors got benefits of selling “packages” and convinced customers to buy all products from a single vendor. I can see a new trend towards more diversification and “service consumptions”. Cost vs. benefit is the most important factor here. Best, Oleg

  • Hi Oleg – re your comments about future unbundling….I absolutely agree!

    See here

  • beyondplm

    thanks for sharing the link! Yes, unbundling will rock in coming years… I’m pretty sure.

  • I am waiting for the day we move past “PLM vs. PDM.”:) Every single person including myself has their own opinions about the differences but I rarely get into those conversations these days. Do not get me wrong having a clearer distinction between PDM and PLM has its benefits as it would give context to a subject with just using a TLA very similar to CAD. If we hear someone talking about CAD we automatically narrowed the context of what they are talking about because so much is said without needing to be said.

    Oleg, I could not agree with you more about the unbundling of PLM or any complex software. I think the drive and largely the requirement for vendors to create more granular set of solutions is the convergence of users desire for simplicity, reduced cost/benefit and the need to get benefit from any investment in a short amount of time. A complex unified (monolithic) solution which does not have a fast turnaround from the time the user invests to the time they see a return on investment is simply want clients do not want.

    Granularity has a better possibility of having a greater return of investment when you take into account the precise resource of time. The challenge with this strategy is the old issue of integration, however the trend which now vendor’s are taking the ownership to integrate with other vendors is making at least me see the light at the end of the tunnel. In addition, vendors current trend to open their systems which builds an ecosystem around their solution(s) is very promising.

    These are just my current thoughts and I would encourage anyone to comment.

  • fguillaumin

    Hello Oleg! Glue make me think about my past posts about SOA.
    Nevertheless the question regarding monolythic or non monolythic is a technical question. I don.t know a user wanting to have different tools with different ergonomics. It is more because PLM apps are not (yet?) capable to provide a full set of functions or because it is very difficult to maintain a global PLM application at corporate level, with upgrades or new versions, like SAP for example, that we need to think about a more complex set of applications.
    One day should come this monolithic applications in the PLM domain.

  • beyondplm

    Denis, thanks for your thoughts and insight! I absolutely agree- industry will be moving towards granularity, unbundling and past TLAs. Old boundaries were important to sell “solutions” that will be converted into set of granular services. It doesn’t mean we stop using PDM and PLM words, especially in case this language is understood by customers. Just my thoughts… Best, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    Francois, I think customers (and vendors) should have monolithic vision and granular technologies (services). IMHO, as a vision PLM is good. However, as technology services, SOA, etc. is the way to go.

  • “Monolithic vision and granular technologies” Interestingly put

  • beyondplm

    In terms of PLM strategy for organization (if we speak about specific organization) or industry (if we speak about vendor) I can see it solid, taking into account broad company strategy, business processes and overall view – this is what “monolithic”. However, technologies must be flexible, configurable and agile – to me it means “granular”.