PLM and chatter about digital transformation

PLM and chatter about digital transformation

My favorite article during this weekend was – My Father-In-Law Won’t Become a Coder, No Matter What Economists Say.  Read the article and draw your opinion. The transformation is happening outside and human jobs are replaced with screens and computers. Marketing and sales is a good example, but the change is everywhere.

Here is a passage that summarize it very nicely:

In other words, the theory of creative destruction works when you’re talking about specific companies or industries falling by the wayside because a better alternative has come along. The elimination of the typewriter wasn’t an economic disaster, because typewriters gave way to a better alternative that created even more jobs. More people make their living from the production of computers than ever made their living from the production of typewriters. However, the theory of creative destruction isn’t as applicable when one of the things being destroyed is the very idea of human labor.

It made me me think about digital transformation. It is one big hot buzzword these days. Everyone is talking about digital and every company is thinking how to “get transformed” and not left behind in an old analog world. On the picture below you can see the interest in digital transformation from Google Trends for the last 5 years.

There are so many articles and discussions about digital transformation. My attention was caught by SAP publication () sharing top thought leader assessment about why digital transformation is important and what is behind this term.

My favorite passage was about Digital Transformation as a matter of business survival. According to Tamara McLeary, you need to disrupt your company by revitalizing your outdated business model if you want to avoid to be eaten by more nimble, agile companies these days. And it brings an opportunity to use the new technologies. The primary reason for digital transformation is to keep company relevant in the face of exponentially changing technological world.

According to Jos Voskuil, Digital Transformation is forgotten word in PLM. Read more here. I can see his point. Manufacturing industry is very slow to adopt some technological innovation. When I just started my career in CAD/PLM, I’ve been told that 2D drawings will be obsolete in 5-10 years. 25 years later, we are still solving a problem how to put Bill of Materials on the face of the drawing and send it to manufacturing shop.

What is my conclusion? PLM has a chance to connect a divided world of manufacturing and bring digital technologies to different places in manufacturing companies. It is not a simple tasks because PLM technologies are also divided between old traditional PLM dinosaurs focusing how to control manufacturing customer data and new digital technologies capable to convert product and related data into new decision tools. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of openBoM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.

Digital transformation pic credit Gerd Leonhard


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  • Sounds like our #PLM4um this year

  • beyondplm

    Everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it…

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  • Eric Milgram

    Hi Oleg,

    As always, your most recent post is informative and highly relevant. How do you view the intersection of open source software, data science, data engineering, “classical IT,” PLM, and ERP?

    From my vantage point, large organizations are still throwing millions of dollars at ERP, PLM and MDM by making large purchases from the classical solution providers, yet they have little to show for their efforts.

    Moreover, the “monolith” approach to big IT systems that was so popular 10-20 years ago is rapidly giving way to highly distributed systems based on “data lakes” and “grid computing.” Instead of scaling vertically, for the backend, the really nimble organizations are scaling horizontally using Node.js or Nginx for the web server, Apache Spark (Hadoop is soooo yesterday) combined with a NoSQL DB like Mongo or Reddis for the persistence layer. The front ends are typically being developed via JS frameworks like Express,js, React.js or some other flavor of the day.

    Just as large companies are finally making the decision to jump into the PLM game, the old go-to technology stacks are giving way to an entirely new paradigm. What is your advice to companies who feel like they cannot keep up with the ever shifting technology landscape?


  • beyondplm


    Thanks for your comment and questions! I think, the paradigm shift is happening by moving from data control to data intelligence. I will speak about it soon . Some initial thoughts about it in my presentation last month in Germany.

    You cannot stop technology landscape from changing. But you can decide what is the right pace of changes for your business.

    Best, Oleg

  • what plm4um stands for?

  • beyondplm

    Annual CIMdata industry and market forum. Usually Apri-May timeframe in 4-5 locations (US, Europe, Assia). You can find more here –

  • ok, but “4um” ?

  • beyondplm
  • Sorry I was not online today. Oleg filled you in on the event, the CIMdata PLM Market & Industry Forum. The theme this year was digitalization. Most of the sessions covered aspects of reaching the PLM part of this vision. Oleg was there and tweeted during the event, with that hashtag”, quite a bit.