PLM without buzzwords

PLM without buzzwords


I’m in Dallas, TX for the next few days to attend Siemens PLM Connection 2015 conference. Teamcenter is one of the oldest brands in PLM software and I’m looking forward to learn more about that. One of the things that concerning me in PLM industry is a lack of differentiations. If you remember, my post few weeks ago – PLM and VC firms are facing the same problems – lack of differentiation. On my way to Dallas, I downloaded Siemens PLM Connection agenda here. What surprised me is that it wasn’t overloaded with modern buzzwords. Maybe it is just old fashion. Who knows… I’m still not sure if I like it or not. But sometimes, too many buzzwords are creating bad feeling before the event. You probably remember my blog post following CIMdata forum in Ann Arbor – Cloud is not the way to re-think PLM. Then what?

In my view, we are paying to much attention to trends and the opportunities behind applying buzzwords to describe what we do. Earlier today, I was listening to This week in Startups video with Peter Thiel.  The video is a bit long and probably not relevant in all parts for PLM community. However, one part, which is related to “trends and buzzwords” is must see to every person involved in PLM development.

The passage that caught my attention was about buzzwords and trends. Here are notes from the video- you can see them here.

Peter is always skeptical of sectors and trends.People always ask him what trends he sees for the future, and he never likes the question because he is not a prophet and doesn’t think the future is fixed in that sort of way. All trends are overrated. For example – healthcare, IT, location software, etc – these are all somewhat overrated.SaaS is pretty badly overrated. And if you hear the words big data and cloud computing you need to run away as fast as you possibly can. Conversely, the things that are underrated are the things that have no buzzwords and don’t fit in to any pre-existing categories. Here is the statement where proliferation of buzzwords is going to extreme – “I’m building a mobile platform for SaaS enterprises to do big data in the cloud.

What is my conclusion? We need to remove buzzwords from the lexicon of PLM applications. Many of the things PLM industry does is badly and deeply engaged with TLAs and buzzwords. I can see in the future engineering and manufacturing software without buzzword thinking about differentiations. Companies that will be able to runaway from buzzwords, will be winning future PLM competition game. It will probably include removing of “PLM” buzzword too. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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  • David

    Hi Oleg, first of all I totally agree that buzzwords don’t help to solve customer problems and that a clearer way of communicating between consumers and producers of software would be great.
    However I wanted to inject my experiences with buzzwords into the conversation and perhaps stimulate some discussion.
    When I worked for a major IT services company I saw a very interesting presentation , it basically said that they use the cynafin framework to generate new business. The idea is that very large companies (especially if they do any kind of consulting) are always looking for the next trend or buzzword to hang services off. Therefore they inject many new concepts and ideas into the market place to see what resonates with the market, for example ‘on-demand’,PLM, SoA. IoT, Big Data. These are of course based on a analysis of the current industry challenges, so not purely made up. When the market picks up on one of them services companies then sell the services to make it happen, and eventually commoditize the concepts. This is of course at odds with a traditional software vendor who tries to solve customer problems with discrete software solutions. However I have observed that as software companies grow they need to hook their ever growing platforms onto a concept to make it all understandable and to justify the services they need to sell to make things work. I personally have met many customers who have bought into the PLM vision, excited by the vision of so many buzzwords , not realising that it is not appropriate for their business, and even worse they are trying to solve some of their problems with completely the wrong approach.

  • beyondplm

    David, thanks for sharing your experience! The idea to inject TLAs and see what will stick is a good one. The problem in PLM spaces is that there are too many buzzwords that formed as xxM pattern. Which means, you take any word and forming buzword by adding “management” to that. Therefore, in PLM industry (I think) people are tired of buzzwording and it is a time to get back to core business terms – documents, design, engineering, bill of materials, change order. Just my thoughts… Oleg

  • You’re probably right about buzzword fatigue. But as David mentions above, buzzword bingo is marketing driven. The core capabilities you mention: design, documents, change orders, BOMs, all that were part of the original products 20 years ago. The acronym avalanche has been all about pushing add on modules, not part of that core. Do you think perhaps, that software providers have lost focus on making the basics great, instead of trying to be all things to everyone?

  • beyondplm

    Ed, I think, marketing are trying to go with xxM model where xx stands for any specific functional domain and “M” just stands for management. I think it started with ERP, but PLM really pushed hard to bring the message that it can solve any problem by adding “management” word. The things I mentioned are just part of normal lingo in my view that used by product designers, engineers and manufacturing folks. Talk to them in buzzwords and the next question will be “what does it mean”?