Recent Forrester Wave report open a discussion in the industry about comparison between PLM vendors. I published m thoughts few weeks ago – What I’ve learned about PLM leaders from Forrester Wave.
Few other publications came later speaking about how much assessment done by Forrester is reflecting the reality of PLM systems and vendors comparison and what does it mean for manufacturing companies doing benchmarks of PLM vendors during their purchasing decision process.
Check Engineering.com publication Which PLM Solutions are Best? Forrester Names PTC, Dassault and Aras, But Misses the Point – good example of discussions Forrester Wave report created.
However, my attention was caught by Joe Barkai article – Ranking PLM vendors. Here is my favorite passage:
The Forrester Wave report shows very little functional differentiation between the top 4 contenders: Aras, Dassault Systèmes, PTC, and Siemens. Indeed, unless the PLM buyer focuses on key areas in which only some of the vendors support fully (e.g. supplier management or digital twin), software features do not offer much differentiation anymore. PLM buyers buy more than software; they buy a shared vision, a clear product roadmap, domain expertise, and a long-term commitment to those. A PLM company trying to compete based on features and functions alone will not go very far (which is why Autodesk, also evaluated in this report, has such a long way to catch up to even establish the prerequisite baseline).
I’m in partial agreement with Joe. I’ve seen many established large manufacturing companies navigating their decisions into safe waters completely based on long term commitments. But these decisions are becoming more problematic, since manufacturing companies are afraid to stuck in the past and follow legacy PLM approach. This is one of the reasons why Aras became very much popular and got traction among large companies as a potential alternative to Teamcenter and others
Think about car comparison. Long time established criteria are gone. Who cares about horse power and some basic car functionality these days? Very few people. However, high tech features are very popular as well as some other parameters.
It made me think, that the time come to introduce PLM Ranking 2.0. It will be a new set of criteria. Long term commitment and sustainability are still important. But new factors must come into a play. It will allow to provide more balanced comparison without giant checklist to compare hundreds of basic functions. At the same time, it will show the ability to vendors to solve new business problems in engineering and manufacturing organizations. Most of these problems are pushed to consulting and service organizations these days.
What is my conclusion? Manufacturing companies need to have a better way to compare PLM infrastructure and made a decision about PLM and other technological vendors to work with. In last few years, I’ve seen examples of how people bough their car based on the compatibility to their mobile phone. I know, it is an extreme example, but it is a way to think about new realities of benchmarking. How to come with a new set of criterias helping IT and engineering software managers to make a right purchasing decision. The question is on the table with few answers. Just my thoughts…
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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.