PLM and Web API – the route towards digital transformation

PLM and Web API – the route towards digital transformation

Every PLM implementation means lot of integration services. I hardly can remember at least one PLM implementation that was done without “coding” of something. PLM usually comes in the intersection of roads between sales, marketing, requirement, engineering and manufacturing, PLM always requires some data massaging, importing and transformation.

With massive migration of data and services to the cloud, a question of providing Web APIs for every PLM system turned from “why” to “when”. In my old blog – Why PLM needs to learn Web API?, I shared some ideas about why Web API will boost PLM implementation and contribute to PLM openness. Learning from web platforms built for the last 10-15 years, PLM vendors can turn their products into API “glue” helping to create a continuity of data across multiple silos.

Earlier this year, I’ve made check about how many PLM providers are ready to open their APIs to be used by communication of integration and service providers.  Check my earlier blog – What PLM platform has cloud API? The main reason for cloud API is data integration.

Data is distributed and become even more important to manufacturing companies. Companies are distributed, teams are distributed, contractors, suppliers are everywhere. Catalogs, suppliers, cost, contractors, manufacturing services, service and maintenance. As a result, the importance of cloud APIs to intertwine data will be growing. What PLM vendors are ready for this job? I’m going to learn more and share with you. Stay tuned.

Meantime, cloud APIs made me think about API and digital transformation. The later became a big deal for many companies thinking how to turn their processed into complete digital forms. Therefore, API is getting a new role – digital transformation facilitator. You can ask how come? How API is related to that?

Apigee white paper (or eBook)- The State of API 2017 gives you some idea about how API can become a backbone of digital transformation. You can download article in exchange of your business email.

Whether they are digital natives like Google, Twilio, and Stripe, or enterprises like Walgreens, Ticketmaster, and Pitney Bowes, companies build successful digital platforms by fostering a thriving ecosystem of developers and partners.

The 2017 State of the APIs report identifies factors that contribute to building successful digital platforms and explores how enterprises can build or participate effectively in digital ecosystems. This report was built based on the hundreds of billions of API calls in the Apigee Cloud from hundreds of customers (in 2014-2016), as well as surveys conducted with customers across a variety of verticals.

The following slide can give you an ideas how API can influence digital eco-system capabilities:

API initiatives focus on enabling developers and partners, connected applications and tools, data, devices and many others in an entire digital universe. API connects people and applications.

What is my conclusion? Digital transformation starts from integration infrastructure for product development engineering and manufacturing. This is a step in which PLM platform can already provide benefits and serve as a digital transformation backbone in organization. PLM vendors will have to invest into integration services and APIs to expose and connect data. The same is for manufacturing companies. Investment into API can create future company digital process experience across multiple silos, existing applications and databases. 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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