How to Extend PLM Reach – Process vs. Content?

I was reading a review <PLM Extends Reach in Product Development> over the weekend. My short conclusion – PLM is growing, expanding its horizons and reach in different areas of product development. Jill Jusko quoted many analysts from Forrester and CIMData, as well as vendors such as PTC. They explained how PLM is growing in different areas of corporate activities (such as social collaboration and the product value chain). So, I tried to figure out where we need to go and how to prioritize PLM development to reach a wider audience with a Product Lifecycle Management solution.

My conclusion actually was very short, so I’d like share it with you: PLM has two major opportunities to reach within and beyond the organization:

(1)    To extend Content

(2)    To extend Processes

I will try to explain what I mean. With my very pragmatic state of mind, I tried to analyze the current PLM organizational positions. PLM providers with roots in design and 3D (and this is the majority of PLM mind-shares) are deeply engaged in the business of CAD modeling and 3D. So, PLM of these companies do well in initial product creation. But what happens afterwards? In most of the cases, 3D is going to die. Most of the information is translated into PDF, paper and/or other alternatives to original 3D. Therefore, the 3D PLM content will disappear. This is definitely a bad situation for PLM providers. So, regarding my first clause – to extend PLM reach – companies need to invest more in content-availability. As soon as this is done, more people will be able to leverage original valuable PLM 3D information. In parallel, we have an alternative – processes. Many companies, including PLM vendors, and especially their ERP patrons, involved in different areas, are encouraging customers to share their process difficulties. So, this alternative is to transform business processes and implement various initiatives (from complex business orchestrations, and down to workflow automation). In my opinion, this is definitely a second option for extending PLM reach.

What is my short conclusion? I’m  a believer in data. In my view, data is much important compared to process. So, I’d expect that extending PLM successfully would start  when the PLM system gains more share from the PLM data (content) management extension. Extending capabilities to manage, share and collaborate on more data will  ultimately pave a successful path for manufacturing companies.


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