Why traditional PLM ranking is dead. PLM ranking 2.0

Why traditional PLM ranking is dead. PLM ranking 2.0

Recent Forrester Wave report open a discussion in the industry about comparison between PLM vendors. I published m thoughts few weeks ago – What I’ve learned about PLM leaders from Forrester Wave.

Few other publications came later speaking about how much assessment done by Forrester is reflecting the reality of PLM systems and vendors comparison and what does it mean for manufacturing companies doing benchmarks of PLM vendors during their purchasing decision process.

Check Engineering.com publication Which PLM Solutions are Best? Forrester Names PTC, Dassault and Aras, But Misses the Point – good example of discussions Forrester Wave report created.

However, my attention was caught by Joe Barkai article – Ranking PLM vendors. Here is my favorite passage:

The Forrester Wave report shows very little functional differentiation between the top 4 contenders: Aras, Dassault Systèmes, PTC, and Siemens. Indeed, unless the PLM buyer focuses on key areas in which only some of the vendors support fully (e.g. supplier management or digital twin), 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. A PLM company trying to compete based on features and functions alone will not go very far (which is why Autodesk, also evaluated in this report, has such a long way to catch up to even establish the prerequisite baseline).

I’m in partial agreement with Joe. I’ve seen many established large manufacturing companies navigating their decisions into safe waters completely based on long term commitments. But these decisions are becoming more problematic, since manufacturing companies are afraid to stuck in the past and follow legacy PLM approach. This is one of the reasons why Aras became very much popular and got traction among large companies as a potential alternative to Teamcenter and others

Think about car comparison. Long time established criteria are gone. Who cares about horse power and some basic car functionality these days? Very few people. However, high tech features are very popular as well as some other parameters.

It made me think, that the time come to introduce PLM Ranking 2.0. It will be a new set of criteria. Long term commitment and sustainability are still important. But new factors must come into a play. It will allow to provide more balanced comparison without giant checklist to compare hundreds of basic functions. At the same time, it will show the ability to vendors to solve new business problems in engineering and manufacturing organizations. Most of these problems are pushed to consulting and service organizations these days.

What is my conclusion?  Manufacturing companies need to have a better way to compare PLM infrastructure and made a decision about PLM and other technological vendors to work with. In last few years, I’ve seen examples of how people bough their car based on the compatibility to their mobile phone. I know, it is an extreme example, but it is a way to think about new realities of benchmarking. How to come with a new set of criterias helping IT and engineering software managers to make a right purchasing decision.  The question is on the table with few answers. 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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  • Hi Oleg,

    I agree with your assessment about functional comparisons. When they are differences they can be “papered over” with services or other third-party software. In our work with industrial clients technical fit is only one of many criteria that we use to assess who best meets the needs of that client. This is one of many topics that we cover in great detail in our PLM Certificate training classes.

    Stan Przybylinski
    Vice President
    CIMdata, Inc.

  • beyondplm

    Hi Stan,

    Thanks for sharing the experience and the way you work with industrial client at CIMdata. Is there anything you can share with readers about what you teach in PLM certificate classes- publicly available materials, PLM comparison templates?

    Thank you, Oleg

  • Hi Oleg,

    There is a lot of information on the courses on our Website: https://www.cimdata.com/en/education/plm-certificate-program

    including class outlines, information about the instructors and testimonials.

    We also offer some shorter e-learning classes based on the same materials.

    Thanks for asking.


  • Oleg hi, a catchy title is always good for a blog post, in particular using the word dead always scores.

    I do not have so much emotion with vendor rankings coming from any consultancy firm as I know from experience how these evaluations are done – some vendors have a better sales engine for evaluations than others.

    I agree with Stan that in case you do a vendor evaluation for a company there are many more facets that are relevant – not only function/feature/price. Before thinking about vendor selection you need to understand your future business/product strategy. Will you implement what you already know, then you might be tempted to select classical PLM vendors. Other types of PLM have not yet materialized I believe and given your position with OpenBOM I understand why you question the current status quo.

    We will not change the current status quo and ranking processes very soon. Technology is an enabler but you need a top-down push to work different (at least for those organizations that read vendor rankings). Smaller companies and new companies might experiment with new concepts (methodologies / technologies) as they are not constrained so much. All depends on the human brain to invest in changes. Just my observations.

  • beyondplm

    Hi Jos,

    Yes, you’re right, catchy copyrights and blog titles can score for good traffic. This is what we are all live for :).

    Complex business and product strategies are good for consulting business you do. High level of complexity with high risk of failure for expensive PLM projects is a perfect business environment to sell consulting. First create complexity and then hire consulting people to explain how to organize processes and build business and product strategy. Win-win.

    Enterprise and engineering IT are hiring consulting to cover their decision process. That was a great point made by Joe Barkai- companies are buying roadmaps and long term commitments, but rarely technologies. Technologies can be developed and if even something is missed, you can alway acquire independent vendors or technology later – it was done many times by many large ISVs in the past.

    However, the favorite part of your comments is this – “We will not change the current status quo and ranking processes very soon”. Who are “we”???? Management consulting people?

    Here is the thing… when did Gartner published their PLM magic Q last time? Long time ago… People got tired to publish ranking. Many of them are pointless because most of these charts are just a discussion how much higher PTC logo should come above or below Dassault and Siemens on the ranking chart.

    In a digital world, companies are checking websites, technologies, watching Youtube and tried products available online. Recent cloud PLM research published by CIMdata tells that when companies are thinking about cloud PLM, the first check they do is independent software providers recommendations and websites (not business process consultants).


    Best, Oleg

    Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM (http://openbom.com). My opinion can be unintentionally biased.

  • Oleg hi, thanks for your extensive answer, ideal for a follow-up through my blog, not sure if I will use a similar catchy tittle.

    However the topic is interesting enough to elaborate in a further dialogue. Unfortunate due to the amount of work related to my “complex” customers, I will not be able to write my full response before Jan 20th – stay tuned @ virtualdutchman.com

  • beyondplm

    Hi Jos, look forward to your blog. Good luck with customers! Best, Oleg

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