From the category archives:

Technologies

super-cloud-pdm

Cloud is transforming businesses and technologies. CAD and PDM are going to be transformed too. If you had a chance to follow my blog last week, you probably read my thoughts from Develop3D LIVE conference in Warwick, England. If you missed, navigate to my previous post – Develop3D LIVE set the stage for cloud CAD competition.

I found it interesting, but cloud CAD is coming at first to solve old PDM problem – multiple file copies, revision management, branching, data sharing and collaboration. If I look on both Autodesk Fusion360 and Onshape, I can see that PDM functionality is coming included. By doing that, new future price of PDM licenses is finally set to zero. However, there are some complications too.

Does cloud CAD/PDM solve all data management problems? There is no simple answer on this question. Here is the thing. If you think about single system – Fusion360 or Onshape, you can think about PDM as a solved problem. However, if you zoom out in your company business, the first question you can ask – what happens if I want to use both systems? Should I get two clouds? What will be interoperability between these two and future cloud CAD systems? Some of my thoughts about that are here – will cloud CAD inherit data interoperability problem?

Actually, cloud CAD systems are not alone in this multi-cloud challenge. My attention caught by TechCrunch article – BetterCloud Raises $25 Million From Accel To Create Universal Tools For Monitoring The Office Cloud. The opportunity BetterCloud is related to management multiple cloud services used by the same organization. While Google Docs and Office365 are much widely used than Fusion360, Onshape and cloud SolidWorks, the problem is very similar. Here is my favorite passage from the article:

That competition has been great for corporate IT departments in providing choice, but the diversity of options has also dramatically increased the complexity of managing these clouds within a corporate environment. Identities need to synchronize across platforms, and monitoring the performance and security of these services is challenging, particularly in a time of austerity in many IT budgets.In short, managing multiple clouds – or even just one – requires a whole new set of tools.

The association with Google Docs and Office is especially helpful, since Onshape is using Google Docs paradigm to demonstrate core principles of new cloud CAD architecture.

Manufacturing companies are familiar with the situation when they need to manage multiple PDM systems. Very often, this is a CAD/PDM/PLM configuration for companies using multiple CAD systems and central PLM/ERP systems. In such situation, companies are managing CAD data with PDM developed by each CAD vendors. It helps to maintain CAD version compatibility and support multiple CAD systems. Does it mean that double PDM tax will be coming to the cloud too?

What is my conclusion? Cloud systems are slowly became reality in many businesses these days. However, while solving one problem, it can bring new problems. Or, actually, it takes an existing problem and moves it to another place – to the cloud. Engineers will have to work with multiple cloud systems and leverage their advantages. However, it also creates new level of data management complexities. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of sumetho at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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break-limits-plm

The conventional opinion of many people in PLM domain is that technology is not a main problem in PLM industry. At the same time, PLM vendors having significant challenges to convince customers to adopt new versions of their products. Manufacturing companies are replacing PLM platforms every 10 years (some people can even come with 20 years benchmark). When you think about technological improvement, even ten years is a number which can put any manufacturing company back in dinosaur era in terms of what tech they are using.

My attention was caught by article  The Past and Future of Systems Management written by Ben Horowitz. Take some of your time during the weekend and read the article. If you have more time, I can recommend you Ben’s book – The hard thing about hard things. I found Ben’s insight about new cloud based architecture very important to understand for future development of PLM products. According to that, traditional systems would not work for modern, massive, cloud-based architectures. In fact, they would not work properly for cloud-based architectures of any scale. One of the most interesting points I captured is related to the move of system architecture “from servers to services” and the fact applications are now collection of micro services.

Traditional systems are server centric — Even relatively modern systems management products like New Relic treat servers as sacred resources which must be kept alive, but Facebook loses servers every day and it doesn’t matter. Facebook doesn’t care about servers; they care about services. Knowing when a cluster of services that provides, for example, an identity service is out of capacity is critical, but getting paged in the middle of the night because you lost one server in a cluster of 20 is asinine. Applications are now a collection of micro-services — These micro services are often managed by separate teams with all sorts of upstream and downstream dependencies. Having a solution that tracks all the relevant metrics across all the services fosters a much more collaborative environment where teams can communicate with one another (versus logs, where only the developer who wrote the app can really understand what’s going on).

It made me think again about existing PLM technologies and architectures. Most of them are 15-20 years old and they are completely server and database centric. Few years ago, I explained that in my Future of PLM databases article. In my view, the end of single PLM database architecture is coming . The new PLM system architectures can change a way customer can adopt and manage their PLM environments. Here is the idea to think about.

plm-tech-step-outside-rdbms

All existing PLM products are developed on top of existing database technological stacks. Nothing wrong with that, but here is a problem – the scale. The amount of data PLM systems have to handle is growing in scale and reach too. Manufacturing companies are dependent on significant amount of information originated and maintained outside of organization – product catalogs, supplier and other reference information. In addition to that, in many situations, the data is owned by multiple companies – not a single OEM. How traditional PLM platforms will handle that?

What is my conclusion? The conventional wisdom of PLM architectures and implementation is to put information in a single database. It must change. Modern engineering and manufacturing environments are different. It is more likely network of sacred resources rather than single PLM database. New product architectures and technologies should come to handle that. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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plm-watch-app

It looks like CAD industry was too busy with Onshape for the last two days and forgot about Apple Watch event that actually happened almost at the same day and time. It took me some time to get up to speed with all publications about Apple Watch. Full disclosure – I didn’t buy Apple Watch yet. However, I’m using Android Watch for the last six months, which gave me some additional sense about wearable device use cases .

There are so many publications about Apple watch these days, so it is hard to pickup one. However, the following TechCrunch article caught my special attention – Salesforce First Enterprise App To Jump On Apple Watch Bandwagon. Salesforce is enterprise application and platform. It has some connection to the same eco-system of customers CAD/PLM companies are focusing on. Here is an interesting passage:

Salesforce wanted to be a part of the wearables revolution and even launched a Wearables SDK last June. Today they released three products designed specifically to work on the Watch. First of all, there is the previously mentioned Salesforce Wave for Apple Watch. This provides an at-a-glance view of important information you want to be notified about. He acknowledges that this is not about detailed analysis, but getting key data when it matters. If you want more, you are going to go to your phone or tablet on the road (or your computer in the office). The second piece is Salesforce1 for Apple Watch which provides quick access to the entire range of Salesforce information including sales, service, marketing and employee community. For instance, a sales manager might get an alert when a discount is required on deal and a marketer might get an alert when a campaign reaches its pipeline goal.

The second group of application made me think about some use cases for product lifecycle management applications, which is consistent with what I experienced with my Android watch for the last six months. I call it “short session”. It is an interaction with the device which long usually very short time. Let’s call it less than 2 minutes. How I came to that 2 min threshold? Actually, this is an outcome of my experience with GTD two minutes rule. If you have a task which takes less than 2 minutes to accomplish, you better do it now. Taking action to accomplish this task later will be not cost effective and will take more time.

Here is the thing. I can see some PLM related tasks that really have a very short time span. Few examples – ECO alert, document approval, task notification. To have quick action delivered to your watch can be an interesting opportunity PLM developers can discuss with their customers.

What is my conclusion? I think we are getting into uncharted territory again. Almost 5 years ago, I asked the question – Who can generate 3D/PLM content for Apple iPad? It raised many debates back in 2010… Fast forward into 2015. Nobody is asking questions about usefulness of mobile devices and tablets. It seems to me your wrist  is a new place to innovate for PLM and we need to watch that :) . Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image credit – Salesforce and TechCrunch

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Is public cloud reshaping PLM landscape? Time to re-check…

March 6, 2015

The question how to implement PLM cloud is one of the most confusing when it comes to the decision about choosing one of available PLM solutions on the market today. The time when PLM vendors used “cloud” as a differentiation is over. Most of PLM vendors are comfortable with “cloud” word and the number of companies […]

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Rethinking PLM ROI in cloud era

March 5, 2015

To measure ROI is important part of PLM implementation decision. These days companies are less interested in 3-5 years implementation roadmaps. Therefore, discussion about PLM ROI can be very painful. It is better to get prepared upfront. PLM ROI is not a simplest thing to get into.  I put some of my thoughts why hard […]

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How cloud CAD can avoid “double PDM tax”

March 4, 2015

  My yesterday post – Will cloud CAD inherit data interoperability problem? raised few interesting discussion about cloud data management in PDM/PLM implementations. How cloud CAD/PDM will make our life simpler? In my view, the most important part is to exclude files from data management chain. By doing that, new cloud based CAD systems are […]

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Will cloud CAD inherit data interoperability problem?

March 3, 2015

Cloud and CAD are probably getting to the point where it starts become a real thing. Autodesk Fusion360, Onshape, SolidWork Industrial design. It is likely to absorb some PDM functionality to make collaboration, branching, revisions and other data management tasks easier. Cloud CAD means no files, so engineers have nothing to mess with… Life is […]

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Cloud CAD infrastructure is getting more PDM-ish

March 2, 2015

PDM was long time a step child for many CAD systems. To deal with CAD files, their relationships and dependencies including multiple revisions of document was complex and painful. So, many customers just gave up and stored files on shared drives. It was okay until the our life was disrupted by a new way to […]

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3D printing of electronics can change product data management

February 4, 2015

3D printing is changing the way we can manufacturing products. Which potentially means changes in how companies are going to manage product development processes. While it is still unclear how it may happen, I wonder if 3D printing can also change the way we manage data about product. Forget about 3D printing as a way […]

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What I learned about PLM from six years of daily blogging

February 3, 2015

Here is my personal story about blogging. I started to blog more than six years ago. The idea of blogging came to me from intensive meetings with customers that I had as Dassault SmarTeam CTO. I spent time discussing implementations and problems customers are experiencing with PLM solutions. These discussions inspired me to spend more […]

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