PLM pivoting for new CAD heroes

PLM pivoting for new CAD heroes

Pivoting. Are you familiar with this term? In a modern startup lingua franca, it means the management methods of making course correction when developing products. This term was pioneered by Eric Ries – Silicon Valley entrepreneur and the author of the book “The Lean Startup“. Randall Newton of GraphicSpeak mentioned this book in his blog post earlier last week – GrabCAD, Sunglass, and ThinkerCAD are leading a CAD industry pivot. The following passage caught my attention:

Today’s start-ups in 3D CAD have the same vision of  3D becoming commonplace, but the strategy they follow has made a sharp pivot away from delivering a software product. The new kids on the block are skipping the deliverable and putting the experience of using and working in 3D inside the browser. WebGL and HTML5 are the two ingredients of the secret sauce making this pivot possible. HTML5 is the current generation Web programming language; WebGL is an application programming interface (API) for rendering interactive 3D graphics and requires HTML5.

Speaking about “pivots”, they are not all the same. In the following Forbes article you can see a classification of 10 different pivoting options – Zoom-in, Zoom-out, Customer Segment, Customer need, Platform, Business architecture, Value capture, Engine of growth, Channel, Technology. At the first look, you may think solutions mentioned by GraphicSpeak all belong to the “technology pivot”. Here is the definition:

Technology pivot. Sometimes a startup discovers a way to achieve the same solution by using a completely different technology. This is most relevant if the new technology can provide superior price and/or performance to improve competitive posture.

In my view, many CAD innovations were introduced as “technology pivot”. If you remember the move from UNIX workstations to PC and from 2D to 3D enabled by the power of computers and graphic technologies.

PLM – Zoom out pivot?

When thinking about new 3D experience and browser technologies, I came to the point that new CAD technologies have an option to navigate what they do to so-called “Zoom-out” pivot. Here is the definition of that pivot:

Zoom-out pivot. In the reverse situation, sometimes a single feature is insufficient to support a customer set. In this type of pivot, what was considered the whole product becomes a single feature of a much larger product?

An efficient access of CAD and 3D data is an important function in every PLM solution. To simplify the process of changes, manipulation, annotation and collaboration is crucial to deliver a good solution these days. New 3D CAD in-browser capabilities can be well positioned to provide an effective and practically available tool for everybody in the company (and not only to designers, as today’s 3D CAD systems deliver). It also will take the focus from “CAD in browser / cloud” discussion to something having much wider scope of deployment – product development processes.

What is my conclusion? Companies are interested in how to improve their product development processes. People are looking how to improve their experience. It seems to me zoom-out pivoting of 3D in the browser can deliver both. It still requires some technology prove to be done, so it will be very interesting to watch how in-browser CAD solution will become ubiquitous to delivery what companies and people want. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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