A couple of weeks ago, I posted PLM Platform Wars: Who is Right or Who is Left? The following short article in Dasssault 3D Perspective struck me to think more about the future PLM technologies and innovation. Watch the video and make your opinion.
Kate is asking: “Can the automotive industry build cars of the future with old technology?” In my view, devil is in details. PLM is a bit different from iPad 2. Despite some marketing presentations showing V6 as a PLM 2.0 technology, PLM technologies are not created from scratch every 2-3 years.
The notion of a platform in enterprise software is very specific, in my view. When we are talking about software platforms, we often can think about .NET, Java, iOS or similar stuff. Platform is an obvious target for every technology. By achieving the level of a platform, your technology can leverage value of all applications running on top of this platform.
However, the enterprise software created a special notion of “platform” in my view. In such a context, platform always becomes a set of technologies coming out of a specific software vendor successfully created a rich set of applications and dependent products. There are few enterprise software platforms that approached a high level of partner’s software development. However, enterprise platforms are controlling the ability of additional software components to run on top of so called “platform” in a strong way.
PLM mindshare vendors are often using the term “platform”. TeamCenter platform, Windchill platform, V6 platform. In my view, these solutions are more representing a rich set of vertical and horizontal applications rather than a software platform. The core of all these platforms is database-oriented software product. These products are supporting core data modeling capabilities of these platforms. Until the recent time, the integration between these data management components and CAD elements was very weak.
PDM in CAD Innovation
One of the innovations created by Dassault V6 platform was bundling of Enovia V6 (platform) with CATIA technologies. By providing CATIA with RDBMS based data modeling backbone, DS created few very interesting capabilities in management of CAD data as well as product development processes. Other PLM vendors approached a slightly different scenario. At the same time, the recent announcement about PTC Creo came with a definition of something called “common data model”. For me, it is not clear what will be relationships between “common data model” and Windchill platform capabilities.
Do you think combining of PDM and CAD is a fundamental PLM innovation of 2010s? Well, the CAD/PDM integration was always a complicated part of the game. The ability to achieve a successful integration was a critical element in most of CAD/PDM/PLM implementations. The fact PLM vendors decided to solve it by providing tighter bundling between CAD and PDM tools is extremely positive. However, as a result, we are going to see a larger amount vertically integrated product suites. It can make many customers happy. However, the same solution can make a lot of complications in case of companies’ mergers, usage of heterogeneous products, etc.
What is my conclusion? Building large vertically integrated product suites is not a new approach. It can be very successful. However, we cannot mislead ourselves- companies are running heterogeneous application set. In my view, this is a reality. To have the ability to implement a granular solution set, with the intensive support of Open Standards can be a key for a future success. Just my thoughts…