Did Autodesk & Siemens just started PLM competition?

Did Autodesk & Siemens just started PLM competition?


Last week announcement about Autodesk and Siemens PLM agreement to increase software interoperability generated waves of articles. Here are few notable articles that caught my attention from Design Engineering and Engineering.com. The smell of the end of cold war between CAD vendors is coming from these articles. Although Roopinder Tara of Engineering.com mentioned Dassault Systemes as the last contender to defend CAD openness, it feels like the time CAD vendors were placing firewalls around their CAD is coming to the end.

I captured few interesting comments on my article last week here and here. CIMdata Stan Przybylinski was questioning if Siemens PLM can potentially consider Autodesk acquisition. It made me think that PLM domain can be the next place of competition between CAD vendors. After all, it was Teamcenter vs Enovia competition that pushed CATIA out of Daimler – CATIA replacement by NX at Daimler AG.

PLM360 vs Teamcenter – no overlap?

So, is there a place for competition between Teamcenter and Autodesk PLM360? On the surface, these systems are completely different.

Autodesk PLM360 is SaaS based, loosely connected to CAD data using Autodesk A360 services and mostly focusing on process improvements of small to medium size companies. PLM360 is just signed 4 years anniversary. Autodesk is not sharing much information about how many customers are using PLM360 for the moment.

At the same time, Teamcenter is PLM heavy-weightier, which is according to Siemens PLM is used by almost 8 million users worldwide. Teamcenter is deeply integrated with desktop CAD systems from Siemens PLM as well as other CAD vendors.

PLM360 vs Teamcenter future competitive trajectories

Teamcenter and PLM360 can potentially cross their paths in competing to acquire new customers. The potential growth of PLM360 towards acquiring larger accounts can bring Autodesk sales to fight for Teamcenter mid-size deals. Despite relatively high price of cloud PLM systems, it can be an affordable solution for those customers that are regular to pay for on-premise Teamcenter licenses.

Teamcenter is certified to be hosted using IaaS platforms such as AWS and Microsoft Azure. But I’d be questioning Teamcenter cloud competitiveness based on the maturity and experience of PLM360 cloud deployments.

On the other side, A360 / PLM360 is still relatively new systems evolved from Datastay and additional acquisitions and development. The maturity and breath of Teamcenter product features and technology can be overwhelming when it will come to the competition between core functional elements of PLM system.

3rd party PLM competition?

Is there any 3rd party that can take a part in the game between PLM360 and Teamcenter? There are not so many independent PLM companies these days. Two of them to be mentioned – Arena Solutions providing SaaS PLM and Aras Innovator – enterprise open source solution with free licenses and service subscription. Can one of these systems played to change balance of future competition between PLM360 and Teamcenter? Both small companies might have enough dynamic to challenge Teamcenter. However, technologies integration might be a challenging part.

What is my conclusion? End of CAD formats cold war will move competition between CAD vendors in a different segment. PLM has a potential to be the one to show differentiation and help to out-compete in the future.  Cloud technology can add an additional flavor into future trajectories of PLM competition. In the case Autodesk PLM360 will be able to increase the maturity and breath of PLM functions, it might challenge Teamcenter with agile PLM implementations in the growing segment of small to medium manufacturing businesses. The next few years will be interesting in PLM business. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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  • Stan Przybylinski

    Hi Oleg,

    Apparently some people are overreacting to the way you phrased your post above. When we spoke on this topic I said was that the type of agreement into which Siemens PLM and Autodesk entered is often a precursor to something else, like an acquisition. And that Siemens AG acquiring Autodesk would not be a crazy thing. I did NOT say that it was happening, just that I would not be surprised about it.

  • beyondplm

    Stan, Fair enough… You didn’t say Siemens can acquire. You questioned it. So, I corrected my statement. Thanks for correction. It makes sense.

    It was very hard not to get excited about a potential of another synergy between US and European PLM technology (the first one was UGS, I guess).

    Thanks for your comment!
    Best, Oleg

  • Jack Brown

    Reminds me of when Oleg came up with one of his thoughts that Tesla was going to build its own PLM system. I spent months dispelling his rumor to Dassault we were not ditching them. Too bad journalistic standards don’t apply to blogs. 🙂

  • beyondplm

    Hi Jack,

    Appreciate your directness. Thank you for sharing your opinion about your view on my writing standards.

    I refreshed my memory with regards to Tesla blog and found it as a question that I asked in public.

    Here is the link to the blog.

    The reason for me to ask this question was actually the information that Tesla is developing lot of IT stack by themselves. TechCrunch article is here

    So, many people put their comments on that blog and some of them agreed with a rational for Tesla to build own PLM system.

    As far as I know, correct me if I’m wrong, rumors are things that usually circulating from person to person. ( I checked in wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumor. ). What I did wasn’t a rumor, but a provoking question. I admit, that question is provoking, but it based on the information that was publicly shared by Tesla.

    If you believe some statements form my blog above are incorrect, please let me know which one- I’d be glad to discuss it with you.

    Look forward to you comments.

    Best, Oleg

  • Jack Brown

    Oleg, if you appreciated the directness, then you wouldn’t be trying so hard to pull off the Streisand Effect (Please research that on Wikipedia when you get a chance). If you truly appreciated the directness, then would take the commentary that Stan and I are trying to say to heart and quietly remove that post in its entirety. The dangerous thing with the post you noted in your reply is you were working for a PLM competitor at the time and that competitor was also doing business with the customer in question. In my opinion, your action violated a corporate non-disclosure agreement for you to even publicly post such a question. This alone makes me cast doubt of your true motive and integrity of your post. TechCrunch’s article you referenced was from an granted interview, your post was wild speculation that incited many people to over-react. I know you like to pose a lot of questions in your blog posts, but maybe you want to pose a question to yourself regarding the ramifications of your posts before publishing. I feel for Stan because he will be going through a long process of rebuilding trust with those that reacted and explaining what he really said when he could be doing something more productive.

  • beyondplm

    Jack, Thank you for sharing your insight and opinion! I believe that by asking right question my articles are helping people to think and make analysis. And it based only on publicly available information sources or comments such it was in the case Siemens and Autodesk.

  • Stan Przybylinski

    Thanks Jack

  • Jack Brown

    Oleg, I appreciate that you received my insight and facts. Please provide a link to publicly available information where they were considering building their own PLM system? I can tell you that you won’t find one because it didn’t exist and was never in the plan. My team did an outstanding job deploying PLM and stayed out of the radar of the homegrown movement. Our implementation is still standing. Maybe it will be replaced one day like any system, however we were as dependable as a light switch. We were there, we worked, we didn’t draw attention to get replaced. I appreciate that you ask questions, but please, please, please be mindful of what is right and what may damage your sources or references. I can only hope that you stop being defensive about this and think you have lost to your conscience, only then have you actually won. (I am dropping off of this thread, so please don’t bother responding)

  • beyondplm

    Jack, I didn’t know about the details of your team work, but the video available publicly was a good confirmation that Tesla is using Dassault Systemes technologies. However, TechCrunch article made a strong point about Tesla considering development of own IT systems as part of its innovation. I think, it will be beneficial for readers if you share more information about it (of course without disclosing confidential materials). Thanks again for sharing your opinion, insight and thoughts! Best, Oleg

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