I was catching up on some of my online reading. CIMdata commentary on Oracle Open World was one of the articles that caught my attention. Navigate here to read the commentary. It is interesting to see how Oracle is transforming into cloud company. However, my interest was related to news about Oracle PLM products.
Historically, Oracle acquired Agile PLM company more than a decade ago. As part of the acquisition Oracle owned few products and trajectory of some of them was not clear. Some of them – Oracle Agile PLM Advantage and Oracle Eigner PLM seem to be not supported. It is also not clear how much development Oracle is placing into Agile PLM product.
So, what is the future of Oracle PLM? I was trying to find an answer on this question in CIMdata commentary. Here is the passage that can probably give you some hints.
Oracle PLM Cloud continues to mature, including adding their process PLM offerings to the cloud roadmap and developing important synergies with their evolving Internet of Things (IoT) strategy and offerings.
In their move to the cloud, Oracle fundamentally rethought most aspects of their business. They also took the opportunity to rethink the boundaries of their applications. This is of critical importance to the Oracle PLM Cloud suite. Before the cloud, Oracle had five different project portfolio management solutions because of their organic solutions growth and many acquisitions. They now have one, Oracle PPM Cloud, with the ERP development team taking a lead role. Similarly, they had two main quality solutions, one in the Oracle Agile portfolio and a second in their E-Business Suite (EBS). Their R13 release offers one solution addressing both PLM and supply chain quality.
Oracle has also rethought about the age-old dilemma of PLM/ERP integration, by creating a single integrated item master that is used by both Oracle PLM Cloud and ERP. This “enterprise product record” results in seamless integrations of data flow from PLM to and from ERP, change management processes that transcend PLM and now include ERP and CRM users and data. This is an important advance and helps them with their digital thread and digital twin strategies.
Another interesting point is Oracle use of 3D PDF technology to share data across value chain.
Oracle is using technology from Tech Soft 3D and Anark to generate role-specific technical data packages in 3DPDF. While the promise of PLM was originally to provide all actors in value chains with ready access to the needed product and process data, many look to 3DPDF to share this information. Oracle will be expanding what information can be included in these 3DPDFs in future releases.
It made me think Oracle will be trying to blend PLM and ERP functionality. Integrated Item Master is an interesting start. I’m sure PLM implementation will benefit from seamless access of Item Master information across multiple applications. At the same time, it will be interesting to see how Oracle will solve a problem of Bill of Material unification between revision -driven engineering view and effectivity based manufacturing view. 3D PDF is a good solution, but I’m interested to learn more how it will be combined with the need for cloud-based collaboration.
What is my conclusion? Oracle seems to be on the move towards to re-architect their PLM assets 10+ years after acquisition of Agile PLM. I like the idea of PLM-ERP blending. However, it can be a challenge for large enterprise manufacturing companies already using CAD-PLM suites from other vendors. At the same time, an improved Oracle PLM can solve a problem of PLM-ERP integration. New PLM functionality provided as part of blended ERP-PLM will provide a foundation to integrate with external PLM packages. Another question I have is about about smaller manufacturing companies. SMEs are first target in cloud strategy by most of CAD, PLM and ERP providers. Most of SME companies aren’t ready for PLM and ERP solutions. Therefore blending of ERP and PLM can be an interesting option. I wonder if Oracle new PLM strategy will target these companies as well as part of PLM-ERP blending. Just my thoughts…
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.