Accenture’s Digital PLM Portal – back in the future?

Accenture’s Digital PLM Portal – back in the future?

old-yahoo-portal-

The buzzword from late 90s caught my attention yesterday – portals. Here is the press release from Accenture – Accenture’s New Digital Portal Helps Product Developers and Engineers Accelerate Deliveries to Market as it came yesterday. The following passage is interesting.

The Accenture Enterprise Product Information and Content (EPIC) Portal consolidates large amounts of product development data from multiple enterprise systems in a single, organized view, reducing the time needed for product developers to search for this data by up to 95 percent. Leveraging this portal, these professionals can use analytics to anticipate and solve problems, as well as develop insights and make better-informed decisions.

Accenture developed the EPIC portal for companies that design, engineer and manufacture complex products in the aerospace, automotive, consumer products, electronics, industrial equipment, high-tech and life science industries. The portal features pre-defined integration with product lifecycle management, enterprise resource planning and a range of other applications used in product design and production.

Back 20 years ago “portal” was a hot in web IT word. The proliferation of web browsers accelerated the attempts of portal builders to share a portion of internet market. Web portals became a a starting point of web browsing and it was set as a home page. Web portals which relied on HTML iframes gave rise to a need for web access points which either required frames or sites that had to offer non-frames alternatives.

Enterprise portals was a first internet tech intro in manufacturing organizations

Portals provided a typical set features (e.g., news, e-mail, weather, stock quotes, and search) that were often presented in self-contained boxes or portlets. Enterprises of sized began to see a need for similar starting place for variety of enterprise repositories and applications. These applications were migrating to web-based technologies at the same time.

So, back in late 1990s, enterprise software vendors started to produce pre-configured enterprise portals. These software packages were a toolkits for enterprises to develop own custom enterprise portals. You probably remember Epicentric, Plumtree and few others.  The space quickly turned to be crowed by application server vendors such as BEA, IBM, Oracle and Sun. Few open source vendors emerged from that time too. Typical portal provided set of the following features – Sign-in, integration, federation, enterprise search, access control, analytics, etc.

Accenture is on the top of PLM IT world

Engineering.com article – Accenture Pushes IBM off the Providers Throne brings some perspective on PLM market numbers from 2015 provided by CIMdata. Here is the passage from the Engineering.com article:

On the PLM Service Providers Top 10 revenue generators list, Accenture not only rattled IBM, but pushed them off the throne. Accenture’s revenues grew from $550 million in 2013 to last year’s $652 million. This 18 percent increase catapulted Accenture to the top.

Why enterprise PLM is coming back to portals?

This is a question I’m asking myself. Why PLM IT is coming back to the idea of enterprise portals  from 1990s? Navigate to the following link to grab more information. The solution is intelligent Product Lifecycle Management Portal – see picture I captured from Accenture website below.

accenture-epic-solution

It contains all right buzzwords you can imagine from leading IT provider in enterprise PLM space. Getting back in the history of portals, my hunch is that Accenture knows how to hard-wire solution and data coming from multiple systems into a single consumable web infrastructure. I wasn’t able to find any specific technical and implementation details.

What is my conclusion? Yahoo was a hot deal 20 years ago. Everyone defined Yahoo as a home page to explore the internet. Manufacturing companies are thirsty for product data and related information. It looks like enterprise portal is the best thing enterprise IT world can offer to large manufacturing companies these days. It hints on the level of information integration complexity. It is one more confirmation that manufacturing future will depend on solving old PLM/ERP integration problems. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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  • Stan Przybylinski

    Hi Oleg, in our report we did estimate that Accenture passed IBM in SI revenue associated with PLM for calendar year 2014, in part because of their acquisitions of PRION and PCO Innovation. Whether IBM is rattled or not, I know nothing about that. I hope to speak to someone in IBM Global Business Services (GBS) at the upcoming InterConnect event in Vegas to learn more about their efforts.

    Stan Przybylinski
    VP of Research
    CIMdata, Inc.
    http://www.CIMdata.com
    Twitter, Skype: smprezbo

  • Stan Przybylinski

    A question for Accenture is whether this portal is the evolution of some Microsoft SharePoint-based stuff I was briefed on a few years ago.

  • beyondplm

    Stan, thanks for mentioning that! I don’t remember any information about Microsoft SharePoint based stuff developed by Accenture. Do you have any public link to that?

  • beyondplm

    Stan, thanks for clarification! I updated the text of the blog. I mistakenly assumed the article quoted you, but apparently misread quote-unquote text. Best, Oleg

  • Stan Przybylinski

    No, it was something they had done for a specific client at the time. But the functionality was similar to what the PR said.

  • beyondplm

    Thanks! Got it.

  • Loic Mouchard

    Hi Oleg,
    my comment will not be directly focus on the Accenture product, but more generally. I base my though on the fact that no software can fit all needs, and you need to combine many of them.

    I actually know some manufacturers who are implementing their own client to connect one or multiple applications, especiallyin the automotive industrie. Think about your last post http://beyondplm.com/2016/01/18/nobody-wants-to-use-plm-products-and-its-okay/, you can imagine that developing your own client offers you lost of possibility for your users to use an application that fits their specific needs (but with some implementation effort). You then use the PLM software in the background as a framework.

  • beyondplm

    Hi Loic, You’re right- one size doesn’t fit all. But, to develop software is expensive. There are still manufacturing companies that believe that they can also develop their own software. Fundamentally, the logic manufacturing companies are using is the same as development of manufacturing tools. But, the trend is to search for flexible OOTB solutions that can be easy adapted and configured. So, from that standpoint, automotive companies are usually using PLM systems(s) as a toolbox and framework.

  • Loic Mouchard

    Hi Oleg,
    to develop software is expensive, but customisation projects are also expensive.
    Developing only your own User Interface (part of the software) should allow you to work on (relatively) smaller projects, to mix solutions, be independant from one vendor solution or strategy (on the long time).

  • If it doesn’t come commercial-off-the-shelf, you probably just haven’t looked enough.

  • beyondplm

    FWIW – Most of companies I know, even if they decide to develop UI by themselves, would prefer to use of specialized PLM toolkits for that. Otherwise it is too hard and too expensive.