Top PLM Vendors. Let’s face it – every vendor has its strength…

Top PLM Vendors. Let’s face it – every vendor has its strength…


One size doesn’t fit all. This is especially true in enterprise software. It also applies to engineering organization and manufacturing companies. Every organization is trying to come with a strategy how to organize engineering, product development, manufacturing, maintenance and other related functions. So, the same applies to PLM vendors. It is hard to make “apples to apples” comparison of PLM vendors and products. Details are important and without knowing small parts, it is hard to recommend as well as publish something that can be re-used in a general way. However, what to do if you need to choose or at least make some comparison of PLM vendors and their products? I’m sure you are familiar with SWOT analysis. It made me think about PLM vendors SWOT…

My first reaction was – no… this is probably mission impossible. In the past Gartner made Magic Quadrants. It provided a reliable source of information to compare software products and vendors. The last PLM Magic Quadrant (PLM MQ) I remember was done in 2007. I think Gartner stopped to produce them. I reproduced last PLM MQ in my blog – PLM Perfect Storm 2012. I hope you will agree with me –  it is very hard to made any decision based on that chart.

PLM analyst Jim Brown from Tech Clarity produced a very interesting set of publications recently – Strategic visions of major PLM players. In addition to that, Jim also published separate articles describing PLM vision for Autodesk, Dassault Systems, PTC and Siemens PLM. It is a very good read – I certainly recommend you to spend few days analyzing what is strategic mind of key PLM vendors.

Honestly, I cannot see how possible to create a generic PLM vendors SWOT. Kill me if you want. A specific comparison can be done for one customer case or industry. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to give up and wanted to finish this post. It made me think about what is single top strength of every PLM vendor. Well, this is probably doable… Because, each of these top 4 vendors is doing many different things, I need to scope what I mean by PLM here. The agreement about “what is PLM?” is another interesting discussion topic. I won’t go there today. In current post, I limit PLM to what called cPDM (according to segmentation proposed by another analytic company – CIMdata).

So, too many disclaimers… This is a time to show things off. Here is the list of top 4 PLM vendors with single, most significant strength. I listed vendors alphabetically, to prevent any speculation about order or priorities.

1- Autodesk PLM

Autodesk is a new player in PLM market. Back in 2012, Autodesk introduced cloud PLM offering – PLM360. A combination of this story together with Autodesk broad reach in all industries and markets is clear advantage. So, here is Autodesk PLM strength: Autodesk PLM360 cloud story, channel and partnership opportunity.

2- Dassault Systems

The history of Dassault PLM is going back to first large PLM implementations Dassault made in aerospace and defense industry. In my view, Dassault focus was to create an ultimate integration story between CATIA products and related parts of data management and collaboration of ENOVIA. Thus, I can see CATIA-ENOVIA vertical integration as the major Dassault Systems’ PLM strength.

3- PTC

Originally started from Pro-E (now Creo) product line, PTC developed and acquired several PDM/PLM products. These days, PTC PLM offering relies on Windchill platform. Windchill is a very mature product that keeps the original pure web architecture. Windchill scalable product and architecture is clearly strongest part of PLM from PTC.

4- Siemens PLM

Siemens PLM has probably the largest PLM (cPDM) marketshare covered by multiple TeamCenter products developed in the past. These days, TeamCenter is Siemens PLM flagship platform absorbing all existing and new developed PLM products and customers. Therefore, I consider  TeamCenter product line maturity and install base as the biggest strength of Siemens PLM.

What is my conclusion? What do you think? Do you agree with my analysis? PLM products are multifunctional. PLM industry is complex. I wanted to mention “single the most significant strength” that applies to both – company and product. Every specific case can bring additional aspects that can highlight variety of characteristics and product parameters. If you are selecting PLM now, I can recommend to read my old post – How to choose PLM? , which is a bit outdated (from 2010) and check another one – 7 rules for selecting PLM in 2014. Again, as usual, nothing scientific. These are only my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Update (22-May-2014)

As I expected, this post raised lots of comments. I appreciate all my readers that came back with comments and questions for the last 2 days since I published this post. The largest amount of comments addressed the absence of two products/vendors from the list – Oracle/Agile and SAP PLM.

5- Oracle / Agile PLM 

Historically, Oracle acquired Agile PLM, which was one of the biggest neutral (not involved into CAD-related business) PLM vendors. For the moment, the core strength of Agile PLM is Oracle market share and family of product as well as out of the box functionality related to BOM management.

6- SAP / PLM

The core strength of SAP PLM is the fact it comes from SAP. The usage of SAP in a company as a platform is long term strategic decision. As soon as company decides for SAP, the strength of PLM addition from SAP will allow to cover all aspects of product development processes that not involving design and engineering.

What is my conclusion (22-May-2014)? To create good comparison is an interesting work. Few months ago, I’ve been posted about Crowdsourcing and PLM consultants’ future. For the moment, I feel like this post is making real field test. Again, appreciate all comments that help to make this article better.

Another minor update for article title. Number “4” is not relevant, so let’s get rid of it.

End of Update (22-May-2014)


Disclaimer: I’m Autodesk employee now. In case you want to see it, here is my LinkedIn profile. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are my own only and in no way represent the views, positions or opinions – expressed or implied – of my employer (present and past).


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  • Stortip

    I have been working with all of the major PLM players for 25 years and recognize each has strengths and weaknesses. In compiling your list how did you include AutoDesk in this group and exclude Oracle/Agile? If you are talking PDM then you have a case but not PLM. The supply chain, portfolio management, quality, compliance/regulatory and cost aspects separate PLM from PDM. The case can be made that Agile is not in the top 4 or 5 or 6 for PDM functionality but it has one of the completest offerings in the other PLM areas. To complete your strength summary: Agile Strengths: Oracle market share, non-PDM modules, and OOTB user experience.

  • Ulf

    Hi Oleg, as you relate to the segmentation proposed by CIMdata, please
    note that in terms of direct revenue in cPDM, the order of most
    successful cPDM vendors for 2013 is: 1)SAP, 2)Oracle, 3)Siemens,
    4)Dassault, 5)PTC. This was presented by CIMdata in their 2013 Market
    Analysis in the 2014 PLM Market & Industry Forum. I always appreciate your open, neutral blog. This is one of the rare blog entries where you do not seem to have the full picture. Including Autodesk on the one hand side, but excluding Oracle Agile from the list appears a bit tendentious here.

  • beyondplm

    Agile is successful product. The most closest definition of the scope I’m talking about is cPDM (if I follow CIMdata classification). I excluded both ERP (Oracle and SAP vendors) from the list, originally. However, I’ve got many comments about that – online and offline since this post was published. I think, your characteristics of Agile strengths are correct – make sense to mention them.

  • beyondplm

    Ulf, thanks for your comment! Yes, SAP and Oracle is on the top of CIMdata (if I’m not mistaking list was revenue driven, correct?). Originally, I excluded ERP vendors from the list. I know, this is questionable and there are debates about that. As I mentioned in the previous comment, I’ve got quite many comments about ERP/PLM connected vendors – so, I’m planning to do another rare thing – to update blog (it will be done in a visible way, so you will see that)

  • marclind

    Looks like you left us out of the mix…

    7 – Aras PLM Vision 2014+

    Aras has a very complete PLM suite. While some might assume that a company that isn’t one of the largest in the market would have a PDM-centric solution or limited capabilities, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Aras supports processes that even some of the largest vendors struggle with.

    I like being “Lucky #7” 🙂


  • beyondplm

    Marc, Lucky #7… I like that :). As I pointed earlier in my comments, I was capturing “vendors” and not “suites”. I’m reading more about Aras accomplishment and Aras’ customer references from your last ACE even in Chicago and it looks pretty solid.

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  • Partha

    I had a short stint on oracle agile PLM implementation. Based on that experience, I think the major strength of oracle PLM is that it’s very easy to use( usability) with little training and the integration with oracle ERP is almost seamless. And I don’t have to say much about oracle support.

  • beyondplm

    Hi Partha,

    thanks for sharing your comments! Indeed, Agile PLM (I guess this is a product you are talking about) is well know for easy of use for BOM /ECO management. It was polished during many years and I don’t think it changed much since the acquisition of Oracle). Since it is part of Oracle, to integrate it with Oracle EBS is probably easier compared to other PLM systems.

    I’m not sure got your point about Oracle support… is it good or bad?

    Best, Oleg

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  • gatorback

    I have led the acquisition, config and install of 2 instance of Aras Innovator. Solid product and excellent customer support. Evaluators can try it before buying it.

  • beyondplm

    Hi Gatorback. Thanks for your comment. I’m considering to update my blog and probably to come with #7 – Aras.

  • beyondplm
  • marclind

    Nice. Good to be early in the alphabet 🙂
    MarcL |

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