5 burning questions for CAD / PLM tech in 2018

5 burning questions for CAD / PLM tech in 2018

It’s a new year outside. The time is running fast and we are moving towards 2018 with new questions about PLM technology and business. Even it might sounds like I have all the answers about CAD, PLM vendors, products, technologies and future trends, it is not true. While some CAD and PLM related questions are decade long, I’m looking into some of the questions I’m hoping 2018 will answer for us.

1- Will cloud PLM prove to be valuable for enterprise organizations?

Recent research and study made by CIMdata confirmed that enterprise companies are going to spend money in the next 12-18 month on cloud PLM. The ultimate result will be interesting. One option – large companies can finally discover cloud PLM value. An alternative take- enterprises will be unhappy with PLM cloud results and send vendors back to do whiteboards, to look for new solutions, develop and acquire new technologies.

2- What PLM company will provide data is a new oil

I stated it many times – data is the new oil and industries will be transformed. However, there is something missing. While all companies are talking about data-driven approach, data in the center, big data, machine learning and many other things, I cannot see the clear-cut winners in PLM industry that have utilized their data to transform the way they do business and destroy rivals. Every company wants to be data-first, but it’s unclear what firm delivers.

3- When does product design, engineering and manufacturing collaboration reinvention backslash

For the last 20 years we’ve gone from mostly manual paper collaboration style into modern 3D and online web collaboration tools. Now we’re moving into even future with VR / AR sets. But we only concluded that need more focus actually get something done. Even for small manufacturing firm that may include the IoT, new approaches and introduction of AI assistant for workplace. There is no collaboration magic bullet – this is what we learned for the last 20 years in my view.

4- Will cloud CAD systems (eg. Onshape, Fusion360, etc) start replacing existing desktop CAD or we will see next 10 years of co-existence of cloud/desktop tools?

I think, we learned in 2017 that existing CAD desktop tools are more sticky that we thought. As much as engineers like innovation, they are very conservative in their own tools. For many of them, you need a special effort to kick them out of “comfort zone” of existing tools. Cloud CAD systems are bringing lot of innovation, but require change. And that change is hard. There are 2 possible options that might happen in 2018- 1/users will start dropping existing desktop tools and move the cloud; 2/ we will see more co-existence between tools.

5- Will Aras be able to push out traditional vendors (Dassault Systems, Siemens PLM and PTC) from large OEM in automotive, aerospace and defense.

News about Aras implementations are extremely positive and company seems to be growing with addition of new money invested in 2017. However, as I can see, current strategy is an “overlay” to use Aras together with existing PLM legacy. While the strategy is good, customers are paying to both vendors in most of the cases. Will 2018 introduce a new era in Aras business development and Aras will start replacing existing vendors from large accounts?

What is my conclusion? 2018 year is promising to be very exiting for PLM and related engineering software. IoT, cloud CAD and PLM, more data intelligence. These things are enough to fill us with innovation and blogging for an entire year.  I hope to get more information and data about the progress PLM companies are doing in these direction. Share you opinion, speak up! 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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