How not to miss PLM future?

How not to miss PLM future?


The world around us is very disruptive these days. Nothing stands still. You cannot stop innovation and progress. Engineering and manufacturing software is not fastest changing domains. It explained by slow changing process, high level of complexity in product development and significant capital investment manufacturing companies made in existing PLM and other enterprise software. Nevertheless, to think PLM will stand still is probably a mistake that potentially can happen in the community PLM vendors and experts.

I’ve been reading Google CEO Larry Page Spoke At TED article. Unfortunately, TED didn’t stream his talk, so everything based on twitter stream. My favorite passage was related to the Page’s explanation about why companies are failing. Here is the quote:

“The main thing that has caused companies to fail, in my view, is that they missed the future,” Page said.


The article made me think about what potential “future” that PLM companies can miss today in our fast moving engineering and manufacturing software ecosystem. So, I decided to look into my ‘crystal ball’ today and pickup top 3 things that potentially can be missed by PLM vendors:

1- Downturn in premium price of PLM software

The price of PLM software is a challenging factor. Which is true, in general, about enterprise software. I think, customers are worrying about what will be total cost of ownership for PLM software. Result – huge interest to develop ‘predictable business models’, which include scalable parameters identifying how to pay for PLM software. The strategic mistake that can be done by PLM vendors is to miss the point where new TCO models will be conflicting with existing business and revenue models.

2- Switch from data ownership to openness and data share business values

Openness is another heavily discussed topic in engineering software. The demand of customers is not be locked on a specific vendor. The situation when company is using software from different vendors is not rare and if we include supply chain scenarios, openness requirements is probably one of the most critical. However, most of business models today are fundamentally assuming customer lock on a particular type of software, file types, databases, etc. Technology and business disruption in this space can remove lock and become a surprising factor for existing vendors.

3- The importance of vertical integration.

Integration of enterprise business and information systems becomes more and more important. Manufacturing and production environment is moving towards digital forms of mass customization. The involvement of engineers into the process of manufacturing is getting more tight. The future cost saving is in even deeper optimization between product design and manufacturing. By missing the importance of these aspects existing vendors can be outperformed by modern cloud (and not only) vendors and newcomers.

What is my conclusion? Some people calling what happens these days in manufacturing as the next industrial revolution. I don’t want to put specific stickers. Nevertheless, engineering and manufacturing business is getting even more competitive. Internet, cloud, diverse competition, cost pressure and new business models – this is only short list of disruptive factors that will be very important in the future of digital manufacturing. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


Share This Post

  • Don
  • beyondplm

    Don, thanks for the link!

  • Loic Mouchard

    Hi Oleg,

    concerning the PLM openess, see the Code of PLM Openness on :

  • beyondplm

    Loic, thanks for the link. I’ve been involved into CPO activity back in a very initial stages (almost 2 years ago). It looks like significant progress was made since that time. Best, Oleg

  • Dana Nickerson

    We have discussed this before but another data openness, is data about products. Why should people have to recreate data about products that should be readily available? Why can’t we standardize on common data descriptions about performance characteristics and be able to share this data between PLM solutions? Data openness is coming due to the huge economic advantages. Those manufacturers that choose to make their data available will prosper. Those that don’t, won’t survive. Those PLM solution providers that enable their customers to connect to the data infrastructure will enable their customers. Those that don’t will see their customers slip away.

  • One which would be in my top three would be UX. This is just not UX from the end user but also include all stakeholders from IT (installation & maintenance) to the experience of how flexible it is to change the system to align to pivoting business needs.

  • beyondplm

    UX is important. However, UX goes everywhere these days. It is just UX-rethinking on a global level. The time of ugly UI is finally over

  • beyondplm

    Dana, this is about openness vs. data hugging.

    Reminded me my old post – PLM: Hug your data or federate:

    IMHO, Future belongs to data sharing and federation.

  • Fair enough but I do not think the UX challenge is over. Having a nice looking UI may be over but understanding how information needs to be displayed effectively and how specific uses will (want/need) to interact still has some significant improvements. The question is how do you reduce the complexity without loosing any “sophistication” in your system. I guess we will agree to disagree:)

  • beyondplm

    Denis, 100% agree. UX is getting much broader than “nice UI”. It is exactly about what you are saying – experience (how to reduce complexity, streamline work, etc.)