Homegrown PLM, focused tools and dis-integration

Homegrown PLM, focused tools and dis-integration


Integration is a popular word in PLM. It is a good word. It gives you a good taste and promise of the right approach, technology, strategy. Just say that – “integrated PLM deployment” and it feels good. Doesn’t matter that integration means bunch of code written using different languages, scripts, tools and SQL hacks.

Product lifecycle management tools are not very much integrated unless you buy it from a single   PLM vendor. Engineering.com article Big Win for Siemens When Chinese OEM Implements End-to-End PLM gives you a good insight on end-to-end PLM strategies.

Desay SV Automotive, a leading Chinese producer of automotive electronics, has chosen to partner with Siemens to implement an end-to-end PLM solution for project management, 3D modeling, collaboration, quality and manufacturing. They boast extensive experience and advanced technologies in digital and intelligent manufacturing that will enable us to implement a unified solution for project management, 3D modeling, collaboration, quality and manufacturing. Their team understands our business – where we are today and where we need to be – and they can meet our product development needs. With this partnership, we plan to gradually move ahead towards our goal of transforming into a digital enterprise.

Integration seems to be a big problem in PLM industry for both small and large firms. The discussion about integration becomes very interesting when it comes together with growing amount of focused tools. CIMdata – one of the leaders in PLM research even created a special category in their annual report – focused application providers. I captured the following slide few weeks ago during CIMdata annual forum in Ann Arbor, MI.


Same topic was raised by Dan Racker in his PLM Connection article – PLM is deal. Long live PLM. The article speaks about PLM tools and options  outside of “single brand” implementations. Here is my favorite passage.

Most of prior successful PLM installations have been based primarily on a single brand of software that manages the collective functions for PDM, BOM, change management, some project management tasks, access control and increasingly feedback loops from CAM and CAE. Where organizations were able to take advantage of these many integrated functions, and also able to match their process to the PLM systems process organizations have seen wildly successful ROI.

But many organizations have struggled and continue to struggle with large installations that never quite fit their process or require an overhead that engineering teams struggle to maintain. Further much of the promise of PLM in terms of actually managing the lifecycle of a product have gone unrealized.

PLMConnection is suggesting the name for the trend – “Dis – integration of PLM”. If you want to learn more, PLM Connection is planning roundtable webinar –  Is the new PLM right for you. Registration link is here.

Focused tools and PLM Dis-integration discussion made me think again about Lego-izing PLM topic and discussed I had about it during COFES 2016 few weeks ago.

Pre-connected application integration paradigm has lot of challenges. Event it is hard to implement, it is easy to think how to develop connectors to multiple tools and build orchestrated scenarios. Vertically integrated PLM suites are solving these problems by wiring productions coming from a single vendor based on data models and predefined behaviors. But companies have tough time to integrate these tool with homegrown product development tools, ERP systems and other business applications. This type of integration is a still a huge roadblock to implement an efficient hand-off iin manufacturing organizations.

What is my conclusion? Integrated PLM suites are good, but expensive. They are also facing significant challenges when integrating with homegrown PLMs, enterprise BOM implementations, manufacturing, service and other tools. Will dis-integration become the next trend in PLM? As the cost of vertically integrated PLM remain high, manufacturing companies might consider some alternatives. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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  • I think whenever you start a PLM solution, the best integration move you can make is not to integrate but to be open, meaning your PLM solution’s data should be easy to access with the needed layer to be secured as well (IT securtity but also roles based access). And in this field, today, I think Aras is the leading one. The exposed web service makes it really easy to integrate.
    Then the integration work has to be done by integrators with the simples tools possible (look for the more recent ETL, and ESB, I personnaly work with Talend (http://www.talend.com/)
    And an advice to anyone who is looking to get a PLM solution. The integration question should not be “do you have an integration with X?” (you don’t know what X will be next year) but it should be, “what makes you easy to integrate with any other system?”

  • beyondplm

    Yoann. brilliant advise, 100% agree. The right question to ask “what makes you easy to integrate with any other system?”

  • David Sherburne

    I agree with Yoann. ARAS has a simple straight db structure that is easily understood and all fields are available. Also makes it easy for data migrations in and out. They are all about experience and less about lock in. We integrate to Teamcenter, Rally and our Quality System with more planned.

  • beyondplm

    David,thanks for your comment! Indeed, Aras is probably the newest on-prem PLM system in the industry with cleanest data model and tools. What is your take on how to integrate with Aras when it runs in the cloud?

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