IoT platforms and PLM software landscape

IoT platforms and PLM software landscape

I continue to reflect on everything I’ve learned last week at PTC LiveWorx. One of the most important messages was the reassurance of how PLM is important in the overall strategy of digital transformation. According to Jim Hepplemann, CEO of PTC, there is no way you can digitally transform manufacturing without the information coming from CAD and PLM platforms.

Some analysts like Chad Jackson called it “old school”, but anyway confirmed that Bill of Materials (BOM) is extremely important and it is a core issue for manufacturing.

My last blog from PTC LiveWorx – PLM is cool raised a few good questions about the positioning of IoT and PLM in the industry. Here is the one of the most interesting I’ve got from Yoann Maingon of Aras. According to Yoann, IoT and PLM cannot be on the same level.

I think there is no agreement about the right diagram of presenting PLM, CAD, and IoT in a single marketing chart. What was done by PTC at LiveWorx was mostly presenting pillars of PTC strategy. Nevertheless, the strategic relationships between these pillars is an interesting question and I decided to dig a bit more in trying to learn what is the state of the art positioning applied to enterprise software, engineering applications, and IoT.

The Forbes article – Seven Things You Need To Know About IIoT In Manufacturing can give you some interesting tips and leads. Note the article is written by Dassault Systemes IQMS, so it can be a bit biased like every vendor content. Nevertheless, I found the following passage relevant to the question of IoT and PLM relationships.

IIoT platforms are beginning to replace MES and related applications, including production maintenance, quality, and inventory management, which are a mix of Information Technology (IT) and Operations Technology (OT) technologies. IoT Analytics is seeing IIoT platforms begin to replace existing industrial software systems that had been created to bridge the IT and OT gaps in manufacturing environments. Their research teams are finding that IIoT Platforms are an adjacent technology to these typical industrial software solutions but are now starting to replace some of them in smart connected factory settings. The following graphic explains how IoT Analytics sees the IIoT influence across the broader industrial landscape:

The image is coming from IoT Analytics report – IIoT Platforms for Manufacturing 2019-2024. The report is cost 6,000$ which I cannot afford it using my blog budget, but the image presented in Forbes article is interesting.

It looks like IoT platforms are overlapping operational management with most of MES platforms functionality as well as coming to connect with enterprise applications such as SCM, ERP, and PLM. For what it worth, the article is not presenting PLM contained in IoT platforms and confirming, data is critically important. What do you think? How is it accurate?

What is my conclusion? There is high importance of data in IoT and connected processes. Data about the product is critical. Therefore, I can see a very positive sign by PTC to uplift the role of PLM applications in IoT strategies. Marketing charts are still required clarification and adjustments. This is where I can see some valid points mentioned by PLM analysts and architects today. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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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  • Quick correction: I’m not Aras lab anymore but I still run a lot of Aras related activities. 🙂

  • Oleg

    Yoann, thanks for clarification. I’ve made a correction in the text. Best, Oleg

  • David

    I’m observing how all the PLM players are trying to turn their PLM platforms into IoT platforms and now that AVEVA has a IoT platform too , I’m realising they are quite different beasts. A customer recently challenged me to map enterprise tools against the Gartner digital transformation platforms diagram and I came up with this. As you can see PLM does intersect several areas but IoT also splits into live monitoring and control and more of a business level use of the same data to track KPIs (in this diagram EAM/Enterprise Data platform)

  • Oleg

    David, thanks for sharing! Your certainly succeeded to draw PLM as a rectangle, which is a challenging positioning task :). Best, Oleg