PLM Today and Tomorrow: Tighten Your Belts … and be open to new technologies

The financial crisis possible can hit PLM companies… but remember, many successful and well-known companies were established during times of economic crises.

LexisNexis (1973 oil crisis), FedEx Corp. (1973), Microsoft Corp. (1975), CNN (was a very small company in 1980), MTV (1981), Wikipedia Foundation Inc. (post 2001 recession), HP (Hewlett-Packard Development Company LP, was established at the end of this recession) – this is only a short list of companies established during various crises.

In my view, a crisis always opens people’s minds in terms of delivering something new or innovative within their space, in order to be more attractive for existing and potentially new customers. In this post, I’m going to try and change my seat from the point of view of a PLM developer to the PLM user’s standpoint.

So, what would a PLM user find attractive?

1.     Popularize easily what engineers are doing. When the average game controller provides a better look-and-feel compared to the PLM systems, whatever companies will do to make My Content available will be beneficial. I’d like to be able to show my latest product on iPod, race new cars available for my games, try a new kitchen environment in my SIMs™ or animate my process nicely on Wii, xBOX or other devices.

2.     Communicate easier and faster with  relevant people. At the end of the day, I want to make my working environment more comfortable. When I need to search, I’ll go to Google. When I  need to speak with colleagues, I’ll chat or IM. , When I need fresh news or opinions, I’ll go to blogosphere. Now, when I want to design and/or create something new – where should I go?

3.      Reuse technologies… This is most efficient way to create something new. Experience, Reuse, Change, Improve. Today, we hardly can find anything on our laptops. What about questions like  “do you remember a similar problem”, “similar part”, “something that the customer wanted”;, “how can I reuse an existing design?” and “What did we decide last year when faced with a similar situation?”… all these “reuse topics” can be hit top ranks in user communities.

4.       Breaking silos… Today’s enterprise organizations are very siloed.: Openness, Interoperability, Connectivity, Intelligence – although none of these words are new, the issue of siloed enterprises is still unresolved. I think that a crisis will definitely help to climb steps in this direction. Innovating technologies and people will break silos and find technologies, business models, and products that will allow PLM users to move forward.

5.       Information explosion?… We have finally produced more information that we can consume. This doesn’t seem to be a passing trend. Although this subject might not be specific to PLM, it can this is not something specific for PLM, but can really help  people in enterprises organize their work more efficiently.

So, I’m really looking forward to your comments, ideas and the next innovative products in the PLM world. 


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  • Hi,

    I’m finding this discussion of new technologies, mashups etc very interesting.

    I suspect that the vibrancy of the small developer community is important in fostering innovation in a space.

    Look at Facebook, Twitter or Google Maps. It’s very easy for a couple of programmers to have an idea, get access to the APIs for these platforms, knock up a prototype and see whether people like it. If it gets traction and can find a business model (or funding) it gets developed more and grows, otherwise it dies off naturally.

    This can be done with minimal amounts of effort and cash initially. It can be done out of curiosity or community spirit. It can be done long before you’re even sure it’s a good idea – business or otherwise.

    Compare this with the PLM space. It’s not easy to access APIs. You may need to become a partner – even though you’re not sure you’ve got a good idea yet. Getting hold of data to work on is probably even harder. Finding people that are curious to try and give feedback can be tricky.

    As a small software company, we could probably knock up a Facebook app with a few evening’s work. I don’t think we could do the same with Enovia or TeamCenter.

    I don’t know what a solution would be. Perhaps this is just what happens when you’re dealing with commercially sensitive data and proprietary platforms.


  • Hi Andy,

    I think you pointed very well. Googlenomica is much more available compared to PLM space. But during the last years we discovered many places where traditional enterprise approach changed and new apps and technology adopted. Enterprise 2.0 trend, and some other are good examples.
    So, my point is – crisis is good time to push the limits :)…

    Good to have your comments.