PLM: Hug Your Data or Federate?

PLM: Hug Your Data or Federate?

Last year I had chance to blog about why PLM Is Too Complex To Mashup? Thinking about Enterprise PLM implementations, I’m always coming to the following conclusion about the way PLM is managing data – PLM system strategically trying to define, own and manage the complete product data cycle and every aspect related to this data inside and outside of the enterprise. Now, in my view, by doing so, PLM put their effort as a very confronted to the other enterprise systems. This behavior is not typical for PLM- other “enterprise animals” are also trying to keep data closely to their core databases and vaults.

Data Hugging

So, I can call this behavior “data hugging”. Is it good and beneficial? From the certain perspective, you can think about this as a good option to centralize data management and control the situation in your organization related to Product Data or any other topic managed in the context of Product Data. However, the reality is different. Such data hugging can create a situation where get full information is quite complicated.


What are the alternatives? Data Federation is another alternative. Connect data in your system to the data in another system using so called Proxy objects. The idea of the federation has a potential, since it doesn’t require movement of data around between applications on logical and sometime even on the physical level. However, data federation can be quite complicated for implementation and requires explicit connections between systems.

Other options

If you understand the problem of “data hugging” and don’t think a federation can work out with your environment. DW (Data Warehousing) and MDM (Master Data Management) are two related directions and technologies, that can give you a different perspective in federating data across your company.

What is my conclusion today? Companies are struggling between two possible options – to give extreme power to business and enterprise application to hug data inside or to allow data federation inside organization. The first option is promising for the first look. The hidden portion of the “single system” message is the need to move data from everyplace in your organization to this system. This is not a simple decision in my view. Different flavors of the federation can be perceived as a more complex option upfront, however, can provide a more balanced data management solution for the long term. New disruptive solutions coming from outside of enterprise (mashups are one of them) can provide an interesting alternative for tomorrow’s enterprise data management. What the route PLM systems and implementation should take? What is your opinion?

Best, Oleg


Share This Post