CIMdata PLM forum: platformization and obsolescence

CIMdata PLM forum: platformization and obsolescence


I’m returning  home from CIMdata PLM market forum in Ann Arbor. For those of you who are not familiar with CIMdata and this event, take a moment of time and look here. Today’s event is the first in a row of  “CIMdata world tour” to review 2014 PLM market analysis. You can see agenda and list of topics discussed at forum today. You can also take a look on the twitter stream here. The day was packed with information and it will take some time to digest it. The information about PLM market share, numbers, dynamics and vendors specific is available from CIMdata. PLM market grew up 6.8% in 2014 to $37.2B (vs. 5.8% forecast), which is obviously a good thing.

Two topics caught my special attention today – PLM “platformizaiton” and PLM “PLM obsolescence”. I want to share my observations and thoughts about it after presentations and discussion at CIMdata forum.

PLM platformization

This is a new buzzword CIMdata is coming to discuss a broad trend in PLM industry.  How existing PLM products and tools will be transformed into “business platforms”? In my view, the topic is important but controversial. It is going back to the reality of many PLM implementations – a diverse set of tools used by a company in a different areas of design, engineering, manufacturing, supply chain, etc. “Platformization” is a process, which supposed to run product development differently, innovate and transform PLM tools into new type of business process.

In my view, the discussion about platform is very important. It can make PLM industry more integrated and open. However, it raises many questions: 1/ What is a difference between business platform and integrated set of tools. 2/ How platforms delivered by PLM vendors will form a business platform for a specific customer; 3/ How multiple platforms will co-exist in a universe of large and small manufacturing companies.

According to CIMdata, “platformization” is not coming to replace PLM, but supposed to bring a better vision of PLM business and innovation.

PLM obsolescence

What is a lifecycle of PLM implementation? How often companies are replacing PLM systems? How to create a sustainable product development environment which will support manufacturing company for a period of product lifecycle (some of them are 25+ years)? These are very interesting and important questions.

Manufacturing companies are seriously concerned about sustainability of PLM platforms and tools. To replace PLM system was often a very painful process. Companies often considered this step only after PLM vendors stopped to develop and support PLM products. A traditional approach of “rip and replace” was criticized by customers, vendors and industry community. At the same time, vendors and customers didn’t find many alternatives to a brutal process of PLM platform replacements. In my view, cloud can impact PLM platform sustainability because of increased interest of vendors to support software lifecycle.

What is my conclusion? I found platformization and obsolescence topics connected. Here is the thing…  Vendors and customers are concerned about sustainability and progress of PLM platform development. The “rip and replace” approach was always problematic for customers and manufacturing vendors. Even so, many vendors handled that in the past. We are coming to the point of time when customers won’t be able to afford a big bang PLM replacement processes. The fundamental issue is to rethink the way we are managing product lifecycle – existing PLM paradigm. Industry is looking how to make continues delivery of PLM platforms together with new solutions. Companies are more connected these days. Future PLM solutions should enable collaboration between different players in PLM eco-system and remain sustainable for a long time. Just my thoughts..

Best, Oleg

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