Who invented PLM internet architecture? XML PLM deployment and future innovation

Who invented PLM internet architecture? XML PLM deployment and future innovation

Few weeks ago, my attention was caught my Jim Hepplemann tweet.

When I co-founded Windchill nearly 20 yrs ago, it was 1st to market as an internet-based PLM solution. The vision to see #IoT = #PLM is why @PTC ranks the highest in the new @Forrester Wave PLM For Discrete Manufacturers report.

Tweet message doesn’t suggest any specific characteristics of PLM architecture.. My hunch, going back to 1990s, Windchill internet architecture was most probably state of the art.

I was looking for a specific feature that allows to PLM vendor to claim “internet characteristic”.  I found Aras press release from early 2000s actually presenting Aras architecture as first true Internet architecture. Read the following press release – Aras Announces the First True Internet Architecture for Product Lifecycle Management. Here is a passage from Aras press release. According to Aras, XML (or how Aras calls it “model driven”) architecture is an important technological advantage Aras is using these days to speed up PLM deployments and migrations.

Innovators self-describing system and use of run-time logic are radical departures from conventional enterprise software architectures. Total Cost of Ownership is drastically reduced because all of the business rules, data definitions, screens, and data structures are stored as XML in a standard relational database along with the data. Then, Innovator interprets the XML at run-time. Traditional enterprise applications require software developers to code, compile, and link system objects making customization, integration, and technology migration time consuming and costly.

Aras Modeling Language (AML) is built using XML architecture. The following article AML, The Extensible PLM Language, Explained can give you more information about that feature.

Aras takes XML to a whole new level in the form of the AML dialect built into the very core of Aras Innovator. AML is simple, easy to learn and extensible.  If you choose to embrace it, you can form your own AML and use it to run your enterprise PLM Platform in ways only you could dream up. <AML> tag:  serves as the top level of an AML document, and may contain one or more <Item> tags.<Item> tags may contain one or more property tags (named after the properties) and a <Relationships> tag, which in turn may contain one or more <Item> tags. Got it?  Okay, let’s cover some examples.  Keep in mind that everything in Aras Innovator is an Item and every Item has a type (its ItemType name).  Permissions are also checked on every request and an error will be returned if the requested operation is not valid for the current user.

I found very interesting that XML driven architecture is making pathways to Teamcenter as well. Easy configuration ideas are supported by Teamcenter as I learn from the following set of Teamcenter blog articles written by Bob Donovan. Check these articles here – PLM Administration Tools to Deploy Custom Software in Three Easy Steps; Easy PLM? Take a closer look at Deployment Center; and Speed Up Software Updates for Shorter Downtimes

The following new features related to the ability to provide fast custom updates to Teamcenter environment caught my special attention. Here is a passage:

Releasing new capability at a faster rate is a big benefit to Teamcenter customers. However, new features often require business logic server library updates, client extensions, administration data, and BMIDE extensions. All of these additional extensions have to be included in the service pack or patch to enable the new feature to function correctly, which takes time, especially when you have to apply them one-at-a-time, or serially. To speed things up,you no longer have to apply service packs and patches serially … we are pleased to introduce a new parallel process for faster downtimes that you can apply whether you’re running Teamcenter 9, 10 or 11.

With the release of Teamcenter 11.4, we have introduced a new parallel process to speed your downtimes, along with workarounds that you can apply whether you’re running Teamcenter 9, 10 or 11. Read Software Field Bulletin (SFB) 11415 “Teamcenter Parallel Patching” (customer-only access) for a detailed description of the issue, resolution, and workaround, which I will summarize here. When using Teamcenter 11.4, there will be a new process to follow. First you should select one of the four pool managers to update first using TEM. Let us call this the primary business logic server and the other three are the secondary business logic servers. When the update of the primary business logic server is completed by TEM, you can then update all other pool managers in parallel. This means that all secondary business logic servers can be updated at the same time.

What is my conclusion? The impact of internet architecture is everywhere in our lives these days. On demand computing services, global access scale, new data management technologies, mobile communication – this is only short list of technological advantages that was brought to us by last 20 years of internet development. As it was suggested by Joe Barkai article Ranking The PLM vendors – software features do not offer much differentiation anymore. PLM buyers buy more than software; they buy a shared vision, a clear product roadmap, domain expertise, and a long-term commitment to those. I doubt such status quo is sustainable and PLM vendors will look for technological advantages to outperform competition and offer more value to customers. How to convert new tech into better PLM platforms and how these new PLM platforms will look like? This is a good questions to ask PLM technologist and architects. Who was the first is interesting for history. But who will be the last one is more important for competition. 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.


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