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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  • Troy H

    On the topic of platformization, I think it is less about PLM’s changing so much as it is making it so that PLM software can be used to do the things it is really good at.
    Product Lifecycle Management is still the overarching goal of most implementations, but PLM’s are generally really good at managing large data sets like BOMs, maintaining change histories, providing an environment for workflows, etc. My goal for PLM at my company is to make it the place where different departments interact. Providing an environment where an approval process can reside is a big deal and some, more specialized systems like ERP, aren’t nearly as good at that.
    If this happens, integrations become very important. The saving grace is that if you make sure that X type of task, for example approval workflows, always happen in the PLM as opposed to having 10 different ways that it can be done in the various other systems, you become good at that. It is basically a “put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket” kind of approach.

  • beyondplm

    Troy, thanks for sharing your insight! In my view, you provided a very good value proposition for PLM role of process streamlining in an organization. However, integration remains one of the most weak points to get it done. But share data (like BOM, ECO) and manage process can be a key.

  • Hi Oleg,

    Glad you were at the Forum, thanks for all of your tweeting.

    Isn’t platformization already happening? Oracle is using SOA to Fusionize (Oracle Fusion now Oracle Cloud) their myriad of offerings? Infor is doing the same with Ion. SAP sees S4 HANA as an opportunity to clean out the cobwebs of their Business Suite. Autodesk is doing much with same with A360 (based on Qontext) and PLM 360 (based on Datastay).

    This, of course is also influenced by the separation of the systems of record and systems of engagement, and the consumerization of IT trends (including the notion of platform, like the iPhone and apps)

    Clearly this is happening in other enterprise software domains, but PLM will probably continue to go slower, because of (mostly Red Herring) issues like security and bandwidth. Because many systems will remain on-premise, there will need to be more creative ways to connect with cloud-based solutions.

    Interesting times…

    Stan Przybylinski
    VP of Research
    CIMdata, Inc.

  • beyondplm

    Hi Stan, thank you! The forum was very interesting and provided a lot of “food” to think about. I agree with your view on “platformization” process. If I think about software vendors you mentioned, the process of converting their software into a “platform” is natural. Who doesn’t want to have a platform 🙂 in a software world. There are two missing parts for me in this process – 1/how these “platforms” will interplay for customers that will connect them together; 2/ how these “platforms” are different from just “integrated” set of tools (example of Fusion is very helpful, because Fusion was originally an integration platform for Oracle Apps).

    But I agree, it is a very interesting time.

    Best, Oleg

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