PLM Downstream Usage and Future Information Rivers

PLM Downstream Usage and Future Information Rivers


PLM downstream usage is a popular and well-known topic. Speak to anybody in PLM community about how to implement PLM beyond engineering department. You can easy discover the value of information located in PLM system for many users in enterprise and beyond. The perceived value of data is very high. However, PLM is consistency failing to capture downstream users. Among diverse set of reasons, I’d like to pickup 3 most visible – complexity, cost of licenses and misalignment with enterprise data management systems and strategies. The last one is specially interesting. PLM is traditionally perceived as engineering system, which is not visible on CIO level. Opposite to that, ERP and Data Warehouse (DW) solutions are traditional candidates to keep and share information. However, the life is not as sunny as you might think.

The following slideshare presentation caught my attention over the weekend – Changing the Paradigm Rivers of Information instead of data warehousing by Paul Nannetti of Capgemini. One of the key discussion points- how to change the information flow and availability of data in an enterprise organization. The traditional DW (Data Warehousing) approach means to bring all data in a central location in a normalized way. Opposite to that, author speaks about opportunity to provide information on demand to different groups of people using modern big data technologies. Here are few passages from the slide deck:

Changing the flow. Why IT needs to stop pushing back against local business views and start enabling them. Traditional DW approaches satisfy corporate needs but leave most users without the information they need 9 out of 10 said that they would have made better decisions in the past 3 years if they’d had all the relevant information. Changing the flow Enterprise Data Warehouse Business Data Lake BIM Changing the Paradigm. Retrospective to Predictive: Shifting BI from retrospective analysis to delivering insight at the point of action.

The following slides presents DW problem and future paradigm shift in how information will flow in the enterprise.



I found the idea of ‘business data lake’ compelling. The three main enterprise system players – ERP, CRM and PLM will be trying to influence they way information will be delivered to this data lake as well as flowing downstream. It is clear that some modern technological approaches in data management will be mobilized to make it work. Big data Hadoop is one of them. Another aspect is changing landscape of data storage, data modeling and data delivery mechanisms. Store all data, because storage is cheap can be a new approach these days.

What is my conclusion? The changes in technologies and paradigms of data organization can be an opportunity for PLM system to get more influence outside of engineering. Existing DW approach is expensive. Existing major enterprise systems such as ERP are not flexible enough to provide a platform for “business data lakes”. By having access to existing data assets – design, engineering, supply chain and manufacturing, PLM system can facilitate better downstream information usage and wider adoption. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Pictures credit to Capgemini slideshare presentation.


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