What Is The Future of Integrated PLM Systems?

Few weeks ago I had chance to attend WTG Webinar Evolving from PDM to an Integrated PLM system at BAE Military Air Systems. The presentation was quite interesting and outlined main points of single integrated PLM system creation for the big organization as BAE. Large enterprise rganization has his own rules and this webinar outlined it very well – complex data models, huge chunks of legacy data, staged phases of the development (concept, design, release, service). The bottom line (seminar quote) – this is the most complex PLM implementation in Europe (or even may be in the world). Two things impressed me the most from the overall presentation: 1/ complexity of the overall data systems; 2/ integration efforts and data flow between different components.

These two things made me think about what is the future of Integrated PLM systems? What will be the evolution path of PLM systems? When I’m looking on successful PLM implementation, I see the extreme fit in how all components work together. Design, Engineering, Manufacturing – everything seems to be fit and work as a Swiss watch. However, I believe, the significant amount of work, requires to make this job done. For me, such complexity is always reflected in the overall cost. Every organization is different. So, if you plan to make such level of the integration for every organization, you need to be prepared for the same level of effort. Now, the next one – integration data flow. There are different stages, multiple data elements, components, statuses, exchange of information. To make it work requires fine tuning on a scale. This is impressive and scare. What if something doesn’t work or requires changes? Unfortunately, I didn’t find the answer on these questions. These are the future questions PLM implementations need to tackle with. How to replicate the success and maintain existing systems in the operational mode?

So, what is my conclusion today? There are two main factors that will define the future of PLM as an integrated enterprise system: 1/Cost of change; 2/ Mass adoption. The cost of change is very important, in my view. You can craft system on whatever level you want, but the moment of change comes very fast. I hope PLM vendors understand it and drive their strategic developments to these horizons. Modern manufacturing is very dynamic and will be even more in the future. The second factor is mass adoption. The large, unique and complex PLM systems need to learn how to replicate themselves into a smaller organization. I think, “integrated PLM” are not ready yet for this type of replication. This is another challenger for the future of the integrated PLM.

Just my thoughts…
Best, Oleg



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