PLM v BIM: United Or Separated?

PLM v BIM: United Or Separated?


Crossing boundaries is always lots of fun and opportunities. In blogging, it usually sparks so many discussions between people you can hardly see together. My recent blog PLM v BIM: common or different? surprised with the amount of debates on Facebook among my English and Russian speaking friends. Some of comments clearly hinted me onto “don’t cross my territory” messages. Jos Voskuil blog added more fuel into this discussion, so I decided to continue with the topic.

As it was stated in commentary, leading PLM vendors such as Dassault Systems and Siemens PLM are crossing borders of AEC industry and thinking how to apply PLM into BIM. And this is not started yesterday. Navigate to 3D Perspective blog Frank Gehry shares CATIA secrets from 2010 to have a glimpse of what CATIA minded people are doing. More about that in Dassault GT Digital Project here. The following video of Dassault Systems Live Buildings shows first steps Dassault is making into BIM direction. Look on Siemens PLM website and you can see Capital Project Planning and Execution for AEC Services, which hints on the fact Siemens PLM won’t stay away from AEC business by proposing BIM and (new buzzword) BLM – Building Lifecycle Management. I found very interesting 5D press release from Siemens PLM dated back in 2012.

All together it made me think about potential disruption that might happen between PLM and BIM verticals and what it might cause for vendors and customers. So, PLM and BIM vendors can potential unite some services and products. Would it be good idea and what impact it will make on industry, partners, customers? Sounds like a big topic for a single blog. So, to keep it simple I decided to share one reason why to unite PLM and BIM and why we would prefer to keep it separate.

Why to unite PLM and BIM?

Unification and convergence in software products can lead to simplification and reduce software development waste. I can see significant amount of technologies and products that can be united and converged between manufacturing and AEC domains.

Storage, files, viewing, revisions, data management, data sharing – all these artifacts and activities should be seamlessly applied to AEC and manufacturing domain. Especially, when industry moves towards cloud services, it doesn’t make much sense to keep these services separate. Communication and collaboration tools have no borders. To keep separate tools to collaborate between architects and mechanical engineers sounds like a weird idea.Project management is pretty much single discipline. In my view, application that can keep track of your project activities, deliveries and schedules should be consolidated and converged among manufacturing and AEC domains.

Why to separate PLM and BIM?

Technologies are easy, but people are really hard. We strive to individual and professional differences and specific communities. It helps us to reduce information noise and stay more focused. It helps us to bring specific professional practices. It helps to companies to be more focused in sales and go to market activities. Every industry has specially developed language, terminology and practices. All together it might lead to specific vertical products, lifecycle models and business processes that cannot be cross-utilized without significant changes.

PLM and BIM products are traditionally distributed using different partnership networks. Companies involved in two different industries have hard time to justify cost and specific business practice structures. All together it provides lots of reasons why PLM and BIM should stay away and not intertwine in the future.

What is my conclusion? I have no silver bullet about future trajectories of PLM and BIM. Nevertheless, I’m confident some of services and products provided by both verticals such as storage, viewing, data management are better to be united. For most of vendors and customers it will eliminate waste and allow to focus on better (and simpler) solutions. At the same time, focused solutions, vertical products, sales specialists and and go to market strategies are better stay separated. The last one includes producing of new buzzwords, which probably should stay back in 20 century. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


Share This Post