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Trends

How collaborative economy will change PLM

by Oleg on December 19, 2014 · 0 comments

plm-collaborative-economy

Have you heard about collaborative economy? If you are not familiar with the term, it is a time to get up to speed. I’m sure you are familiar with many examples of collaborative economy or so-called economy of share. Here is Wikipedia definition, which I found pretty accurate:

The sharing economy (sometimes also referred to as the peer-to-peer economy, mesh, collaborative economy, collaborative consumption) is a socio-economic system built around the sharing of human and physical resources. It includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organisations.[1] These systems take a variety of forms, often leveraging information technology to empower individuals, corporations, non-profits and government with information that enables distribution, sharing and reuse of excess capacity in goods and services.[2] A common premise is that when information about goods is shared, the value of those goods may increase, for the business, for individuals, and for the community.[3]

The economy of share is growing. You can find an interesting perspective on presenting of collaboration economy in the following article by Jeremiah Owyang of Crowd Companies – The collaborative economy honeycomb.

Reading about growing collaborative economy made me think about significant influence on a world of things and the way people and companies are interacting during the process of designing, engineering, manufacturing and servicing products. It comes across many aspects of business and can fundamentally change business relationships and, as a result, influence product lifecycle.

Remember, existing PLM paradigms and fundamental ways companies are using engineering and manufacturing software were established back 40-50 years ago. The model CAD/PLM companies used for that came from large aerospace, automotive and defense companies. World we live in today is changing. So, how it will change product lifecycle management environment?

I captured few bold examples that can give you an idea of that change. Sharing economy environment is growing and evolving. Some of these examples can be transformed in the future or dissapear at all. But, in my view, it won’t change a trend of changes in manufacturing.

Distributed manufacturing and material production

Large companies that used to build existing PLM models already had distributed infrastructure. This infrastructure was centrally controlled and managed. It includes systems and infra to manage IP, transportation, etc. All together, it presented economically feasible model for manufacturing and distribution. Existing PLM system helped to execute elements of this model – design, engineering, services and others.

The emerging sharing economy model is different. It introduced new type of intellectual property management (including IP cooperation) and leverage a network of smaller players connected around the world leading technology innovation. This ecosystem made of network of workshops that can produce things locally. However, this model requires global physical coordination between players that located around the world. The demand for infrastructure and tools to support such type of model will be growing.

Peer production in manufacturing

Peer-to-peer is a form allowing connection between individuals and organizations and aggregate around the creation of common value. Building blocks of this model are cooperation, common knowledge, shared resources and open distribution. Open source software demonstrated a power of peer-to-peer production. Modern web was significantly influenced by this software creation model.

The model of peer production is now going beyond software in many domains. Manufacturing clearly will be impacted by introducing of new forms of relationships and production. Open source software created many tools that served needs of FOSS community. We might see similar situation in software for engineering and manufacturing.

Personal manufacturing

Manufacturing is transforming. What was before only possible for large companies and government is now scaling down to one. Regular people and small manufacturing shops with small investment capital are able to setup and grow up as their business will be growing. We know many examples of successful digital fabrication and personal manufacturing. Just go on Kickstarter and watch companies there.

However, most of Kickstarter projects are failing to deliver on time. They are facing problems with scaling their product development and manufacturing processes without right tools. I covered it in my blog – Why Kickstarter need PLM.

What is my conclusion? I only mentioned few examples of how economy of share is going to transform manufacturing. Future manufacturing processes will be network driven, which will introduce a complete new model for product lfiecycle management tools. This is where cloud PLM and other SaaS tools will have significant advantage. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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standard-cloud

One of the topic that usually drives lot of attention in engineering software is standards. Or absence of standards. The story of standards goes back long way to CAD formats and multi-CAD universe. I’ve been touching topic of standards and PLM earlier. Catch up on my posts – CAD/PLM standards and toothbrush problem and PLM standards: from formats to frameworks.

With the raise of cloud technology development, the question I wanted to ask how it will impact future standards creation. Does cloud provides a better grounds to build standards in services, data exchange and communication?

InfoWorld article Open standards face an uphill climb in the cloud bring a perspective on cloud standards and enterprises. The interesting thing here – we can see again the challenge standards are facing to compete with established large vendors. The following passage summarizes the situation:

Despite initial enthusiasm for open technologies, enterprises are favoring proprietary big-name cloud providers.When it comes to cloud standards, enterprises voted with their dollars. Most have focused more on Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google offerings than on standards such as OpenStack and CloudStack. Of course, AWS, Microsoft, and Google are cloud services providers, whereas open standards are enabling technologies. But vendors that have built their public and private cloud offerings around a standard (usually OpenStack) have not been on the short list of cloud technology providers for most enterprises. In fact, most vendors that pledged allegiance to open standards years ago — including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Rackspace — have been largely overlooked by enterprises, which are mostly instead choosing AWS, Azure, and Google.

What is my conclusion? Cloud can revolutionize technological stack used in enterprise. This is an opportunity for companies to choose open standards, which will provide more openness and support establishment of new open PLM platforms. However, it is not happening yet. While large enterprise manufacturing voting with dollars and focusing on AWS, Azure and Google, small companies and individual makers can find cloud software using open standards as an interesting option. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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plm-platform-hard-rock-place

Manufacturing landscape and technology are changing fast these days. Most of existing PLM platforms were developed 15+ years ago. Therefore, a question about new PLM platforms is getting more vocal.  What will be a foundation for that platform? How existing implementations  and technologies evolve? What will be a role of standards in a future PLM platforms.

Engineering.com article Product Innovation Platform: Plug’n'play in next generation PLM – TV-report caught my attention yesterday with the discussion about what will become a future PLM platform. Verdi Ogewell speaks about multiple dimensions of future PLM platform – federation, standards, behaviors as well as brings opinions of customers on how they see future of PLM platforms. The key question debated in the article was raised in the beginning and related to “single system”. Here is my favorite passage:

Can a single system cover everything from product realization to distribution, from services to smart products and maintenance? There are certainly those who thinks so.  Dassault Systèms, Siemens PLM and PTC have set their sights on an ambitious vision of the PLM market. But there are sceptical voices too, like analyst Gartner’s Marc Halpern and CIMdata’s Peter Bilello. “No, this will not be,” they asserted during the recent PDT Europe conference in Paris where the main theme was, “Shaping the PLM platform of the future”.

It made me think about future PLM platforms in the context of marketing and technological dynamics. PLM market is very competitive. At the same time, most of the decisions usually have very long time impact. Therefore every customer win is long term win. In my old article – PLM platform wars: who is right or who is left?, I’ve been talking about ‘openness’ as a strategic advantage. In my view, it is still very important factor. Customers dislike “closed” systems. From technological and business standpoint, what can become a foundation for a new platform? Navigate to my blog -The foundation for next PLM platforms. I outlined four potential developments that can form a new PLM platform – (1) model based system engineering, (2) unbundled 3D service, (3) product development standard, (3) database technology and web infrastructure. These things can interplay together.

At the same time I can clearly see two major trends in establishment of new PLM platforms – (1) single platform trend; (2) federated platform. I want to elaborate a bit more about these options.

1- Single platform. For many years it was a strategy for almost every PLM vendor. Seriously, I don’t believe somebody realistically can think these days about single vendor providing a complete set of tools for OEM manufacturing company. Nevertheless, vendors are developing tools and acquiring technologies to create the most comprehensive product suites. At the same time, a single platform is a high risk for manufacturers. Customers are trying to diversify their investment between multiple vendors and products.

2- Federated platform. Customers and vendors are often articulating ‘federation’ as a very desired state of future platforms. Here is a thing. Federation is a good vision. The implementation is hard and expensive. For last few decades, PLM vendors invested huge amount of resources in development and implementation of enterprise integration middlewares, technologies and projects. To implement federation is quite expensive and time consuming. I can see some technological promise here coming from modern web and cloud technologies, but taking into account existing enterprise assets it is still highly sophisticated task.

What is my conclusion? Growing complexity and longevity of manufacturing products are raising questions about future PLM platforms. One of the the biggest problems is set of conflicting constraints. Customers are afraid to risk and put all product information into a single vendor systems. At the same time, federated platform is more miracle and vision rather than reality that you can get and implement tomorrow. Standard-based approaches are promising, but slow to ramp up. And, last but not least, new platform ROI is a biggest issue. Imagine, we have a future federated PLM innovation platform built as a result of multiple vendor effort and leveraging existing industry standard. To migrate existing disparate customer environments into a new platform will be multi-year project with very high cost and questionable ROI. I have no doubt, time is coming to rethink the concept of PLM platform. How to do so is a big question. Can manufacturing industry collectively afford it? This is a another good question to ask. Just my thoughts…

Best Oleg

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Future of design: how to connect physical and digital entities?

December 2, 2014

Technology can help us to expand horizons of possible and impossible. I’ve been experiencing this expansion earlier today while watching AU2014 keynote session online while physically traveling to Denver, CO. Twitter and streaming video are quite efficient way to stay in touch with event virtually everywhere. If you missed AU live streaming earlier today, you […]

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It is not easy to add “social” to PLM

December 1, 2014

My recent post Social PLM: How to pull a trigger? became a trigger for me to think and discuss “social” topic again. I found certain level of disagreement with Jim Brown’s position about how to put social in PLM. Here is Jim’s comment: @jim_techclarity: @olegshilovitsky There is a lot more low hanging fruit elsewhere. Easier to […]

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Why all PLM software will be SaaS soon?

November 26, 2014

I’ve be sharing many of my thoughts about how different cloud technologies can be used to implement PLM. Nevertheless, once in a while, I’m also getting comments and questions about acceptance of cloud PLM for large companies. Usually, it comes in the intersection of security and readiness of large manufacturing companies for cloud (SaaS) software. TechMVP […]

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Mass customization is the real reason for PLM to want MBOM

November 25, 2014

Data ownership is an interesting topic. Our life is getting more digital every day and we are asking many interesting questions about who owns data about us. Who owns the data about our Facebook profiles, who owns social media data we created and many others. While still there are some gaps in understanding who owns […]

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How to find sweet spot of future PLM UX improvements

November 24, 2014

The days of ugly UI are in the past. The trend that started from website design, mobile UI and intuitive consumer application is coming to enterprise software. Users of enterprise software are also consumers and it is hard for them to tolerate bad user experience of software they work every day. Remember my old post […]

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What will influence PLM in 2015?

November 21, 2014

2015 is just around the corner. Typically, it is a good time to come with some ideas about what are those trends that will become visible and important for the industry. Today, I want to look in my crystal ball and think what are trends that will influence product lifecycle management strategies, products, vendors and […]

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Social PLM: How to pull a trigger?

November 19, 2014

In my yesterday blog, I shared some of my thoughts about “Facebook at Work” and potential impact on engineering and manufacturing software. It made me think again about all discussions and stories related to social software trend and social PLM. Social was trending topic 3-4 years ago. Many new companies were founded back those days to […]

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