PLM 2015 predictions as it seen in the rear view mirror

PLM 2015 predictions as it seen in the rear view mirror


The end of each year produced tons of predictions and resolutions. Rarely we look back to check what happened and think how to improve our future predictions. That’s what I’m going to attempt here. A year ago, I published – Top 5 PLM trends to watch in 2015. Today, I want to take an opportunity and review them again.

1- Greater complexity of cloud PLM implementations

Cloud supposed to be a big story in PLM. From what I’ve seen, cloud PLM delivered mixed results in 2015. It comes a combination of two things.

First, new cloud PLM deployment hit the “implementation” wall. I reviewed it in my article – What cloud PLM cannot do for you? PLM implementation is still a major obstacle of broader PLM adoption. Cloud PLM only partially solved the problem by  eliminating the need to buy hardware and lower the need in complex IT.

Second, traditional PLM vendors made “cloud enablement” via hosting of existing PLM platforms. Hosted vs SaaS was a big topic in cloud PLM debates in 2015.  I don’t have any data point about how many cloud implementations were done by traditional PLM vendors. But, my hunch – “cloud enabled” PLM slowed down sales of SaaS PLM solutions in 2015. This is a good tactical win achieved by traditional PLM vendors.

2- The demand to manage complex product information will be growing

Products are getting more complex. You can see it around you. A simple IoT gadget such as door lock can combine mechanical, electrical, electronic and software parts. In my view, all CAD and PLM vendors are paying attention to that. Just two examples of acquisitions to confirm the trend. Autodesk silently snapped InertiaCAD – developer of (interesting fact – founders’ roots are going back to Priware / Solidworks CircuitWorks). And, just before end of the year, Siemens PLM acquired Polarion – developer of ALM tools.

3- New type of manufacturing companies will be attracting focus of PLM vendors

My attention caught by growing number of manufacturing startups and their challenges. In my view, companies such as Autodesk, Solidworks, Onshape and few others are paying attention to that trend. Back to Accelerate 2015 in Boston, I noticed few sessions demonstrating how PLM can help to make hardware projects successful.

You can track few articles about that on Beyond PLM by navigating to the following link. Bolt article can give you some information about investment in hardware projects. At the same time, the brutal reality of process management for hardware startups is demanding from hardware companies “to move fast and respect process”. More about it here – Product Lifecycle for new hardware projects.

4- Growing interest in mobile enterprise PLM solutions

I have to admit that I overestimated the interest in mobile PLM. Although, mobile remains one of the most strongest drivers in computing and internet usage, manufacturing companies are mostly paid attention to mobile usage in service and support solutions for manufacturing companies.

5- The demand for big data and analytics in product lifecycle.

Big data is an interesting trend and PLM vendors clearly paid attention to the technologies in this field. One of the most interesting examples for me was Siemens PLM and Omneo story. Read my article – Siemens PLM, cloud services and big data. I can confirm the interest in big data solutions, but similar to IoT, big data is still a “research project” for most of PLM vendors as I can see.

What is my conclusion? It was an interesting experience to go back one year and review my own predictions. Can you see similar trends in 2015? Please share what was your experience with cloud, product complexity, hardware projects, mobile applications and big data in 2015. Out of 5, I found 3 strong confirmation, 1 mixed results and 1 failure. I think my prediction was decent. But these are not scientific and very subjective results. It is certainly affected by projects I managed and companies I met. As always, these are just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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