How PLM data backbones keep up with radical collaboration

How PLM data backbones keep up with radical collaboration


This week is busy. Social channels will be overloaded with a massive amount of information coming from Autodesk University. Follow #AU2015 on twitter for more information. Autodesk is also “live stream” keynotes and few other sessions. Relevant live stream links are here.

User experience is is changing. One of the fundamental PLM paradigms developed for the last 20 years is “Workflow”. Think about product lifecycle management as a big “workflow machine” managing data. Nothing wrong with workflows, but it is a bit… outdated. Processes are absolutely important, but I can see a demand for interactive user experience coming especially from millennials generation. You can read more about it in my earlier blog – PLM workflows are dead. Interactive user experience is coming.

Workflows vs. real time collaboration? Are they mutually exclusive? How real time collaboration is important for design and engineers? I asked this question last month – Is there a need for “real time” collaboration between engineers. I found the topic really important for engineers.

Getting back to AU2015, my attention was caught by the video presenting usage of Microsoft Holo Lens AR and Fusion 360. The solution supposed to solve of the biggest challenges for designers and engineers – to be on the same page. You can get more info from Autodesk blog. The video is very inspiring. It is hard to understand the border between “vision” and real features supported by HoloLens and Fusion 360. Unfortunately, I’m not in Las Vegas today to try it out at AU2015

The new buzzword I learned from the video is “radical collaboration”. The earlier digital mockup challenge was to bring two CAD models from two different CAD systems together and run clash detection between parts, pipes and other elements of designs. You cannot design airplanes and automobiles without that tools.The video reminds that today every product is a set of multi-disciplinary data coming from mechanical, electronic and software domains. You can see PCB board placed into plastic compartment on the video. This is a typical use case for most of consumer devices we have today.

It made me think about challenges future “radical collaboration” tools might have. I call it – how to connect dots between right data about design and engineering. The vision of HoloLense is nice and I love it. How to bring right version of MCAD, ECAD and other data to present it in a radically collaborative environment can present a challenge in current environment of engineering tools. This is a place where cloud CAD systems like Fusion360 and others can hit “double PDM tax” complexity.

What is my conclusion? The demand for collaboration is on the rise. People like to stay connected, collaborate instantaneously and bring right data to make a decision. The last mile is depended on multiple PDM/PLM backbones managing data, versions and lifecycle. Will these backbones keep up with new trends in collaboration? This is a good question for PLM architects these days. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Picture credit Autodesk blog.


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