CIMdata PLM Industry and Market Forum – Alphabet Soup and Adoption

CIMdata PLM Industry and Market Forum – Alphabet Soup and Adoption


I’m heading to Ann Arbor later today to attend CIMdata PLM industry and market forum. The event is a first in a row of traditional annual events. CIMdata will introduce its annual market research and will present related industry, technology and market researches. The event is for vendors and industry people to get up to speed with industry trend as well as to have a chance to look at CIMdata research in a “draft mode”, before it will be published by CIMdata.

I was skimming forum agenda yesterday night. You can find it here. There are 3 topics that caught my special interest and attention.

Cloud PLM adoption

Despite lot of marketing about the readiness of PLM platform and product readiness to the cloud, PLM vendors are unhappy with cloud technology adoption. This is not a secret… CIMdata is running user research sponsored by all major PLM vendors to provide an insight about what stands between cloud PLM heaven and PLM vendors.

Cloud adoption is expanding in other enterprise software categories, but more slowly in PLM. The major PLM solution providers are talking about cloud, but are their cloud revenues material? In this session, CIMdata will discuss the state of cloud PLM, some successes to date, and where the market needs to go.

Digitalization, Model-based X, PLM and the Digital Thread

Everything goes digital these days. But what does it mean actually for vendors and companies. To use computers instead of paper? To switch from email to social networks? To connect digital data silos? There is no clear answer on these questions. CIMdata’s research about model-based X and digital thread is supposed to bring some lights here.

PLM, Model-Based Engineering (MBE), Model-Based Enterprise (MBE), Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), Model-Based Design (MBD), Model-Based Definition (MBD), etc. The alphabet soup of acronyms being used in industry today to define the digitalization of product development processes throughout the lifecycle is confusing and becoming counterproductive as industry moves towards the adoption of model-centric and systems-driven product development processes. These well-intentioned naming conventions originated from industry groups, as well as from government/DoD, based on the specific interests and objectives of those organizations.

Digital Twin

Very much connected to the previous topic and even more confusing, digital twin is an attempt to rationalize product modeling technologies and move from geometrical modeling of mechanical parts, 2D electronic schema and bunch of software diagrams to a meaningful understanding of how product behaves in a real world. As complexity of products is growing, digital twin might be a key element in future ability of CAD/PLM technology to scale.

For years the vision of product lifecycle management (PLM) has been on defining and managing the virtual product and its related processes throughout the entire lifecycle—from concept through life. But for most companies this has been a struggle at best. Recently, a lot of press and time has been dedicated to a new phrase, the digital twin. For many this is a new name for what they have been trying to accomplish for years. For some this has brought PLM to a higher level in their organization.

What is my conclusion? Complexity and adoption. These two things PLM industry is fighting these days. Manufacturing is getting more complex. Product development process are spreading across geographies, companies and multiple silos, competition is global, cost and regulation pressure is high. PLM vendors will have to bring technology capable to scale in a modern manufacturing world. One of the biggest problems in PLM industry today is scalability. What was a good paradigm for a single company (even a very big one such as manufacturing OEM), fails to scale in a global networked manufacturing world. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of openBoM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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