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Top 5 PLM trends to watch in 2015

by Oleg on January 15, 2015 · 3 comments


Holidays are over and it was a good time to think about what you can expect in engineering and manufacturing software related to PLM in coming year. You probably had a chance to listen to my 2015 PLM predictions podcast few months ago. If you missed that, here is the link. Today I want to give a bit more expanded list of trends in product lifecycle management to observe in 2015.

1- Greater complexity of cloud PLM implementations

Cloud adoption is growing in enterprise for the last few years and it is getting more mature. PLM vendors are making steps in the cloud direction too. Companies are moving from marketing and research to “nuts and bolts” of implementations. Switch to the cloud is not as simple as some marketing pundits predicted. It is more than just moving servers from your data center to somebody else place. The complexity of implementation, maintenance and operation will emerge and will drive future difference between “born in the cloud” solutions and existing PLM platforms migrating to the cloud.

2- The demand to manage complex product information will be growing

Products are getting more complex. You can see it around you. A simple IoT gadget such as door lock can combine mechanical, electrical, electronic and software parts. It introduces a new level of complexity for manufacturing and PLM vendors – how to manage all this information in a consistent way?  To bring together design and bill of materials for every discipline becomes a critical factor in  manufacturing company of every size.

3- New type of manufacturing companies will be attracting focus of PLM vendors

Manufacturing landscape is changing. Internet and globalizaiton enabling to create a new type of manufacturing companies – smaller, distributed, agile, crowdfunded. It requires new type of thinking about collaboration, distribute working, digital manufacturing and more. These companies are representing new opportunity and will drive more attention from PLM vendors.

4- Growing interest in mobile enterprise PLM solutions

Mobile went mainstream in many domains. Until now, engineers in manufacturing companies mostly used mobile for email. In 2015 I can see a potential to have a greater interest in mobile solution from manufacturing companies. Distributed work and need for collaboration will drive the demand to make existing enterprise systems more mobile.

5- The demand for big data and analytics in product lifecycle.

Data is driving greater attention these days. I even heard data “data as a new oil”. Manufacturing companies will start to recognize the opportunity and think how to use piles of data from their enterprise engineering and manufacturing system to drive some analysis and use it for decision making.

What is my conclusion? I think 2015 will be a very interesting year in PLM. Broader adoption of cloud, mobile and big data analytics will drive future transformation in engineering and manufacturing software. The disconnect between old fashion enterprise software and new tech vendors will increase. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg



Mobile PLM innovation continuum

by Oleg on December 29, 2014 · 0 comments


Mobile is one of the strongest trends in technology and business these days. I keep following technology and business events around mobile and speculate how and when PLM companies will leverage it for engineering and manufacturing software. My old post – PLM mobile gold rush. Did vendors miss the point? speaks about wrong path most of PLM vendors took with regards to mobile development. Maybe few years ago, some sales wizards thought, people will abandon desktop and laptop computers and move to iPads? I don’t know… Mobile is not a replacement for existing software. I see mobile as a new way to make software for people and situation where no solution was available before.

Mobile business is skyrocketing in consumer and e-commerce. You probably heard about Cyber Monday mobile moment. Things are not moving so quickly for enterprise software. PLM is included. You might remember my post earlier this year – Will PLM vendors work with Apple and IBM on mobile first?  So far, mobile PLM development is following the path of creating wrapper on top of existing platform and user scenarios.

Forbes article Apple And IBM Seize The Mobile Moment To Energize Enterprise Software made me think again about potential of Apple and IBM in making a shift in mobile PLM business. Here is my favorite passage:

What they really will be saying, of course, is “make it like Apple,” but the Cupertino brand has not made inroads in the C-suite like it has in the psyche’s of consumers. Executives and their minions are consumers too, so Apple’s products are well-represented in the enterprise, but not yet well-supported by IT departments. When the deal was first announced, I described it as a “Victory Of Design Over Data.” IBM has a long history of good design, but, I wrote, “it is Apple that has mastered the art of making solutions ‘transparent’ to users.” Once I saw the actual apps in action, though, my take was more balanced. Yes, the model of simplicity that Apple offers is a key differentiator between this new approach and traditional enterprise software. But IBM’s mastery of legacy data systems and security combined with big data analytics are what enables these simple apps to be useful.


In my view, the key here is transparent user experience in combination with legacy data. This is something PLM vendors should think about. PLM product suites are holding tons of useful data. The way current PLM product are manipulating these date is bizarre. However, this data is a lifeblood of every manufacturing company. People need this data for decision making. Think about customer request, maintenance operation, engineering to order sales situation. There are many others. Look on examples of mobile application in Forbes article mastering user experience for a specific role-based situation. It makes people to want mobile application at first place. This is different from “mobile too” strategy proposed by most of PLM vendors.

As I mentioned in my Mobile CAD and PLM development options post, most of mobile applications are wrappers on top of existing back end systems. In my view, this is the best confirmation of viability of Apple and IBM business to develop mobile enterprise future.

What is my conclusion? Mobile is a goldmine for engineering and manufacturing software. My hunch, PLM is one of the biggest opportunities for mobile since it focus on cross company communication. To take pieces of data from multiple legacy back-ends and combine it into attractive role-based Apple-like experience can become a path for mobile innovation. It is business opportunity for vendors. PLM and ERP (vendors) can profit from piles of data in organization and create new role based mobile experience. It will become a path to expand and democratize PLM for many users. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Photo credit SKF mobile apps and Apple+IBM



Mobile CAD and PLM development options

by Oleg on December 9, 2014 · 0 comments


Mobile PLM is one of the topics I’m following on my blog. You probably remember my post – How PLM vendors can find mobile moments. Today I want to speak about technological aspects of mobile development. For the last few years, mobile development took us into the world of multiple platforms and device compatibility. I posted about challenges of mobile and native web development in the past – Mobile PLM: Apps vs. Mobile Browsers? and Mobile PLM Native Apps Challenge.

If you think, mobile development is “native apps” now, there are some of good news on the horizon. ReadWrite article – What Google Has In Store For The Mobile Web brings few interesting data points about underline mobile development from Apple, Google and Microsoft. Article mentioned Apples WKWebView inclusion in iOS 8 as well as Microsoft’s WinRT. Google’s Chrome team is working to improve performance. If you want more technical details, the following article – The future of Web according to Google can give you deep insight. I found the following passage capturing the momentum well:

In other words, Google is about to bring the Web back to parity with native. In some ways, actually, it’s making the Web better than native, because the Web doesn’t have the same problem with app distribution that app stores have. As Google makes the Web a first-class citizen on mobile, there will be less cause to worry about Apple and Google duopolizing our newly mobile world.

One of the main aspect of to be in love with native mobile apps is offline. It is a huge factor and today native apps have an advantage here. However, it won’t stay that way for long time.

Offline is a big deal, it’s one of the most defining features of native apps vs. web in today’s climate. As Alex Russell put it in his talk: “It isn’t an app if it doesn’t run when you tap.” Once ServiceWorker lands [around the end of 2014], it’s only a short time later that we’ll see Push Notifications in the browser (they use ServiceWorker to coordinate). This will mean that, with a simple permission opt-in, a website will be able to notify you days, weeks, or months after you visit it. With the growing importance (and interactive nature) of notifications on mobile platforms, it’ll be great to see the web get to participate.

What is interesting that even today some iOS and Android apps are not purely native. Here is an interesting chart I captured from another ReadWrite article – HTML5 has a new best friend –and it is Apple, not Google.


These mobile web news made me think again about what it can give to CAD and PLM developers in a near future. PLM vendors invested in mobile development and you have mobile app for almost every PLM today. It added lot of complexity to development team – getting back to web can be a good news for development and product managers working to align mobile and web features. Offline wasn’t supported for most of mobile app, so it was never a case. However, offline work can be a big deal, especially for CAD tools.

What is my conclusion? CAD and PLM development (as well as most of enterprise software) has longer lifecycle compared to consumer application. To cut development cost can be interesting option for engineering team. Users will have benefits of better alignment in functionality between mobile and web versions. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg



Will PLM vendors work with Apple and IBM on Mobile First?

October 28, 2014

  Few months ago, I posted about potential for Apple and IBM to open a door for mobile PLM future. Blog raised lot of questions, but I haven’t seen any groundbreaking announcements from CAD and PLM vendors since that time. Maybe I missed some press releases or maybe companies are shy to announce and work […]

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How to rethink PLM workflows?

October 20, 2014

Workflows and processes. This is an important part of any company. Like blood goes through your body, workflows are going through a company and beyond. Couple of months before, I posted by ultimate PLM workflow dream. It came as a part of my thinking about “un-bundling services“. My idea was to publish list of features workflow (process […]

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The future role of voice in PLM processes

October 7, 2014

Processes and workflows is a big topic in PLM. If you think about PLM as a way to manage a full scope of product development processes in organization, workflow is a foundation part of technologies and tools to implement that. The definition of PLM process is usually complex and can come as workflow or rule-based. You […]

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How PLM vendors can find mobile moments

August 25, 2014

People are getting crazy about mobile apps these days. We are spending more time on our mobile devices. Nobody will argue about importance of mobile. We can see different mobile strategies among PLM vendors. At the same time, for most of them “mobile” is about developing “same version” of PLM suite, but for mobile device. […]

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Why now is the right time to reinvent PDM?

August 15, 2014

Product Data Management (PDM) isn’t a new domain. The first PDM systems were invented 20-30 years ago with a simple objective – to manage product data. The scope of PDM was heavily debated and included design, engineering BOMs, ECO and even supply chain. However, the most widely accepted role of PDM is to manage CAD […]

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Will IBM and Apple open doors for mobile PLM future?

July 17, 2014

Enterprise software and Apple wasn’t much a success story until now. Don’t take me wrong – you can enterprise execs and even IT folks are using iPhones and other Apple devices. In my view, they do it mostly for mobile email and other cools apps. However, until now, the traction of iOS in enterprise was […]

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Social PLM and Mobile Dribbling

May 6, 2014

Once “social” was a hot topic for PLM developer and analysts. In my view, the hype went down. Ask PLM people about social applications and be prepared for very neutral response. I asked myself – why so? Social applications can improve the way people communicate and should bring value. Nevertheless, social revolution in PLM is […]

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