Top annoying things about PLM software.

PLM as a combination of technologies, software, and methodology came long way from initial CAD systems, followed by CAE, Product Data Management and Collaboration Software. Some of the PLM-software components are very mature, but some of them are still in the early beginning. While we’ve innovated in many PLM products and technologies, we’ve also continued to disregard pre-existing PLM issues.

Here my list about top annoying things in PLM with no specific order, however, I do believe I started with the most significant ones.

PLM Implementation Scope. PLM software pretends on overall control of product IP and data. By saying that PLM companies, in my view, try to boil an ocean and claim to support unlimited capabilities in management of information and business processes around product development and manufacturing. Multiplied by marketing and sales, PLM creates perception of “do everything” software.

PLM Uniqueness. Ability to support a design process, manage product data and collaboration presented as unique capability of PLM software. Such position creates perception of premium value provided by PLM software and, very often, disregards other available alternatives in managing data and collaboration.

PLM Complexity. I have to admit product engineering and manufacturing are not a simple topic. To manage such processes and data, software needs to achieve a specific level of sophistication and complexity. However, in my view, PLM often exaggerated needed a complexity level and sophistication. In the end complexity creates a significant adoption rate problem. These time people like simple words and simple software.

Terminology. PLM domain created huge terminological barrier for people to get into this space. Number of multiple buzzwords and terms create difficulties to understand business purpose and capabilities of software. Heavy usage of overlapping and confusing terminology put a very significant constraint on ability to use software and tools that come from different software vendors.

Bizarre User Interface. Because of a long life cycle of a software product, user interface is something that was development during many years and contain multiple “historical reasons”. Even if during last few years, user experience was priorities by most software vendors in PLM space, this is still pace requirement multiple improvement and innovation.

Slooooow…. After all, performance isstill one ofthe most discussed issue software vendors isfocusing on. Refresh time, Render Time, regeneration, display, view etc. All these functions are very time consuming and contains space for innovation.

Best, Oleg


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  • Nawal

    I have been meaning to comment on your obssevation on user interface for some time now.

    I believe that we are some where in the late 80’s and early 90’s time frame on how CAD softwares matured. CAD industry did not take user interface seriously, in my opinion at least, till the birth of Windows. At some point, we are going to reach a similar point in PLM maturity. But, there are two un-answered questions in my mind:

    1) Are we already at that point of time or not?
    2) Will the change come from one of existing player or just like CAD it will be forced on existing players by a new startup? (In the case of CAD, I would argue it was a startup – SolidWorks who forced the change.)

  • Nawal, I don’t want to speculate about who will come with new user experience. In case of SolidWorks it was startup. But time will show…. I’m sure we are at the point of PLM maturity when multiple users want to have better solution. But associated cost of new solution implementation is too high (even if vendor will come with such solution). This is status quo, in my view. Best, Oleg

  • Patrick

    Sink hole of PLM? I believe a key thing to consider here is many companies buy PLM when at the end of the day they are not ready for it in many ways. Like the cost of realizing all that PLM claims to deliver. No secret that for the past 10 months, the economy has changed and so have capital expenses. Once a PLM system has been purchased, there exists this anxiety by the higher ups for results and you know what happens. Not to mention the unknowns.

    We are seeing a great adoption of PDM in our space and I don’t accept that PDM is a subset of PLM. PDM systems are typically more focused on the task at hand and are not trying to Boil the Ocean for that cup of tea. Most companies are concerned with having their data Secure with controlled acces, ability to share worldwide if necessary, repeatable process via Workflow, Data exchange with corp systems, etc… They want all of this but not at the expense typically associated with an extensive PLM project.

    Oh by the way, they want to be able to fine tune and adjust their system as the project grows without being at the mercy of the vendor.

    These are the type of customers we are focusing on and should they present a case where their requiremnts are validated to be beyond PDM, we accept that and move on.

    In summary data managment comes in many flavors & shapes from many vendors. Properly working with clients to fully understand their requirements along with setting & agreeing to expectations can go a long way in avoiding a Sink Hole.

    Thanks Oleg!

  • Patrick, Thanks for your comments. Why do you think PDM is not subset of PLM? This is even presented on SolidWorks materials…. I’ve seen it many times. Look on the following links:
    regards, Oleg.

  • Patrick

    Oleg, Because you and I both know certain high potential PLM systems can not match the performance of a PDM system when it comes to satisfying the power CAD users requirements.

    SolidWorks? Why did you reference them?

    Again, this my opinion from years going through this.
    Thank you,

  • Nawal

    I believe there are two different dynamics here. By pure definition, PDM is a sub-set of PLM. This is more of what we want the reality to be.

    But, in the real word, we know all of the PDM/PLM system can be categorized in two two different buckets. Those that owe there origin and genesis to CAD data management in workgroup environment. There are those, who can be tracked more to configuration management and birth of JAVA.

    Though, systems from both these spaces are trying to cover the other space, each one has its own limitations. As patrick pointed, performance for power CAD user is a good example.