New PLM vs Old PLM?

New PLM vs Old PLM?

Nobody Gets Fired For Buying IBM. I’ve heard this phrase many years ago when I was learning nuts and bolts of the PLM sales process. PLM software was originally developed for large companies and the selection process in these companies is very complex. Back in days of CAD releases that happened once a year (in the best case), companies usually waited for 2-3 Service Packs to fix bugs. Back in the same days, PLM buyers were looking for software packages based on their maturity, time in the market and existing customers.

My attention was caught by Ganister blog – Why new PLM? Ganister is a fresh software outfit founded by Yoann Maingon. Ganister is very early with some fresh PLM ideas like graphs, user experience, performance. I’m sure will discuss these things late in my blog. My favorite passage from Ganister’s blog was about “PLM competition is getting old”.

Let’s be honest, the competition is getting old! For some managers or buyers it is a good thing. It is seen as a stability, and the demonstration that a product has been widely accepted by the market, it reduces the risk on their decision. But you might also ask the end-users, the ones who should make their work much more efficient once you have implemented a PLM solution. Most of the feedback coming from these users are bad. The user experience is declining (if it was ever good). Sometimes it is not because the software is getting worse. It is just that it is not following the market and the standard user experience users are expecting.

I can hear some “fathers and sons” problem. According to Ganister, existing PLM companies are slowing down and selling mature stuff to known PLM buyers looking for stability as criteria of PLM success. Things like end-user experience, efficiency, new development standards are not counted and you cannot find it in the market.

Ganister message made me think about PLM buyers. Who are those people and organizations? What are they looking for and where is the next opportunity?

Conservative PLM buyers

This group of customers is well known. An average IT of the enterprise manufacturing company is concerned about many factors that can ruin their life such as new technology, new products, new experience, and new business models. The outcome of these processes is usually very predictable these companies are bolting 20-25 years old software into their processes and spending a lot of time, efforts and resources to make it work. The things you can hear from these buyers — we always worked this way, these are best practices and we only use stuff that used by many other companies.

“We “don’t “buy IBM” around here”

I can see a growing group of PLM buyers that are looking for opportunities to buy and adopt new products. These are companies and buyers that looking into new technologies for data management, they are crazy about user experience, performance, and ideas. Some people will tell that this is a ‘generational thing’ – a new generation of buyers are thinking differently. I don’t think so, because I think it is not that new stuff is only purchased by young buyers. In my view, these are buyers that saw an opportunity to change things. I can see more and more people looking into how to buy new systems these days.

Where is the opportunity?

There is little to no opportunity to deliver a comprehensive PLM solution to compete with old and mature PLM vendors. To work on a specific niche and at the same time follow you vision and strategy is the way to find new PLM buyers. I’m curious who is this new buyer for Ganister and look forward to learning about it in the next blogs.

What is my conclusion?

PLM buying pattern is changing these days. I can see a clear division between “new” and “old”. Things won’t change overnight, but the shift in PLM buying behavior is moving towards changes, bringing new systems and technologies as well as focusing on fast ROI and agile implementation. 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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  • Great Article Oleg and thanks for the mention. We do believe we have built a great piece of software but we also know that one PLM solution doesn’t fit all. I didn’t say one size because I don’t think it’s a matter of size. We made a very scalable solution working from 2 users to potentially thousands of users. But for now we still have a “flexible PLM” approach. And by looking at the market for years we know there’s a great split of customer types:
    – the ones who want everything already packages and would accept to give up some of there specific processes to fit with a “standard”
    – the ones who believe they are special and want to have a total control over their PLM configuration
    – and now the ones who do PLM without knowing it is PLM, for them it’s just part of their digitalisation process.
    We could say, “hey we can do all three with our solution” but in the end it feels like, some companies like the Dakar Rally raid and others like Formula1 races (maybe not the best references for US readers 😉 ). You can’t deliver a car to succeed at both competition.
    After ten years in PLM, spending a lot of time with customers, reading sales technic books, I know this is a tough market, and we are very thankful to our first customers and our main investor for understanding our approach.
    One other thing in our strategy, is our relationship to service integrator. We believe most companies still need external consulting to implement PLM. Ganister has also been built for service integrators. This is a strong item of our strategy, we spend a lot of time working on the “implementation experience”. We will describe it more in a futur article, but that’s already what is seducing for our partners (even though we know sales is their first focus).

  • beyondplm

    @yoannmaingon:disqus thanks for sharing more information about what you do. Indeed PLM market is diverse and one size doesn’t fit all. Good luck with your solution! Is it a toolkit that can be installed or it is online SaaS service? You didn’t mention that, so I thought I’d ask if you can share.

  • Thank you Oleg ! Our first offering is Saas. (but it’s not multi-tenant)
    We still believe system integrators are a key actor in our delivery process and we give them access to the necessary tools to manage this.
    Giving access to partners to the toolchain is a bit special I guess, so maybe you wouldn’t call it SaaS.
    Today, to allow partners to play with the system on their computers we also provide them with the software itself. It takes 2 min to install, it’s a good way to start understanding Ganister.

  • Malcolm Panthaki

    Hi Yoann. From what little I have seen in the videos, I am impressed with your directions. You may know that Aras has been on the same path for well over a decade, pushing many of the same browser & cloud-based “new PLM” features and platform elements that have been missing or badly implemented in traditional (desktop) PLM tools that are now 30 years old!
    What are the primary aspects of “new PLM”? I would like to gather together a succinct and clear definition of this platform category. Oleg calls his company & blog, “Beyond PLM” – Oleg, what do you define as the key characteristics of being “beyond traditional PLM”?
    And not only do I think it is important to list the key characteristics of “new PLM”, but it also needs a better category name – MUCH better! Any suggestions?

  • Hi Malcolm, thank you for your great question. I totally relate your question to some recent discussion I had with PLM industry leaders looking for the “next PLM” and consulting companies trying to sell PLM 4.0. I think some companies are ready to put a lot of money on the next PLM and it is hard to not lie to them and let them think they are right. I think the next big revolution in PLM is making anyone able to reach what they call PLM 2.0 which is just going beyond PDM.
    Two strategies to achieve that:
    – either a SaaS model with a well predefined datamodel and set of business rules, I personally hoped this would be possible but it is not yet.
    – either a preconfigured toolbox has much flexible as possible.

    So taking the second path makes us pretty close I guess to some of the Aras DNA.

    Our différentiation comes from the following key aspects of PLM:
    – Relationships is key ! scalibility in PLM is not scalibility of the netflix platform, the more you complete the digital thread the more connections you will need to traverse. Ganister is provides UI, configurability and a dedicated database technology to ensure this is correctly delivered.
    – The next one is our relationship to partners. We want to be the go-to solution for partners. so far we have spent more than 20% of our dev investment for helping integrators to deliver Ganister. We believe that they are the official success factor of a PLM implementation, they need to be given all the right tools to succeed.

    So again, my definition of beyond PLM (as of today) is : get PLM 2.0 easy to reach for everyone. (With a good platform, 3.0/4.0 will come then 🙂 )
    There are going to be more info on our website next month !

  • beyondplm

    @malcolmpanthaki:disqus Beyond PLM is a blog and consulting, which I’m not doing so much, because I’m fully dedicated to my company – At OpenBOM we deliver multi-tenant network PLM platform. Check out our website and blog –

    Beyond PLM name is coming from my vision to share knowledge about PLM as it is known today and more importantly to explore “beyond” from PLM point, moving to unknown and further side of PLM.