PLM? Whatever Dude… Just Get Access to Data.

PLM? Whatever Dude… Just Get Access to Data.

The discussion around SolidSmack’s article PLM Should Be Like Google. Really? is heating up. My PLM blogging buddy and well-known analyst Chad Jackson of Lifecycle Insights just published his view on the topic. Navigate to the following link to read – PLM is Just Data Management… Whatever Dude? Well, when Chad gave me such a great softball, I could not resist. I decided to put some of my thoughts about the topic related to Data Access.

PLM vs. PDM debates

The discussion around troubled TLA – I can hear more and more voices with questions about “what is PLM”?  My short answer – PLM disruption. Check my earlier post PLM Perfect Storm 2012. The disruption in PLM is driven by the following drivers – cloud, new business models, open source. In my view, the main topic debated among PLM vendors and industry watchers these days is how to get to the next level of adoption. Expansion towards industry segments, approaching SMB customers with cloud solution, mobile, consumerization and green field – all these trends are signs of next PLM wave.

Last year, I presented the following slide during Eurostep 2011 conference. I think “data perspective” is important when we speak about PLM and PDM these days.


Why Data Access is Important?

We are creating a huge amount of data these days. The discussion about big data and growth of global data is just in the beginning. According to IDC, data volumes will grow 44x times from 2009 to 2020 to 35zB. I tried to find some numbers about data growth inside of enterprises and found the following chart interesting – Data Growth Trends (Chute, Manfrediz, Minton, Reinsel, Schlichting, & Toncheva, 2008):

Data Growth Trends (Chute, Manfrediz, Minton, Reinsel, Schlichting, & Toncheva, 2008)

I think, there is dis-balance between tools to create data (design, simulation, analyses, projects, manufacturing) and tools to consume data by all people in a company. To focus on data access seems to me very important these days. The following passage from Chad Jackson’s blog is another confirmation to that:

The argument against the separation of PDM from PLM is that decisions in a process might be based on the wrong data, which leads to downstream errors… In a granular IT ecosystem, there needs to be a ‘light’ integration between systems. Although it wasn’t clear what form that should take. In my opinion, the key is getting people to the right data.

What is my conclusion? Control vs. Access. I think, this is the next big challenge for all PLM vendors nowadays. Historically, data management (PDM and PLM included) was focused on how to get control of the data. To provide access to data was considered as obviously important, but secondary. I want to get back to Google story. Why Google matters? Because it is one of the best lessons of how value can be created on top of open and uncontrolled data. How to disconnect data control and data access? This is a question PLM vendors need to ask today. Important, in my view….

Best, Oleg

Disclosure: I’m co-founder of Inforbix – company focusing on how to simplify product data access.


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