PLM ranking done by users. Does it bring more clarity of confusion?

PLM ranking done by users. Does it bring more clarity of confusion?

The topic of PLM ranking is getting some traction recently in the conversation with my readers and industry peers. Check my article –  Why traditional PLM ranking is dead. PLM ranking 2.0. I also shared some ideas about how to democratize PLM knowledge to help manufacturing customers to make an informed decision during PLM selection process. Check my article here.

I’ve got interesting reaction in my blog about PLM ranking. Here is one of them, made by Jos Voskuil, speaks about vendor ranking:

I do not have so much emotion with vendor rankings coming from any consultancy firm as I know from experience how these evaluations are done – some vendors have a better sales engine for evaluations than others.

So, if vendor ranking is bad and sales driven, what is the alternative? It looks like I’m not alone thinking about the problem of getting balanced user reviews about. I found G2- venture backed online business outfit on the mission to provide unbiased user reviews. Here is a passage from G2 website (

G2 Crowd real-time and unbiased user reviews help you objectively assess what is best for your business. Until recently, selecting business solutions was hard, risky and inherently biased. G2 Crowd empowers business buying decisions by highlighting the voice of the customer. Our review platform leverages more than 300,000 independent and authenticated user reviews read by over 1 million buyers each month. Our model brings transparency to B2B buying—changing the way decisions are made. G2 Crowd’s mission is to provide the insights business professionals need to gain confidence in their buying decisions and become more successful in their jobs.

I stumbled on G2 blog article Top PLM and PDM Tools Rated by Users from the last week. It gives some background about PLM and PDM tools, expand about PDM vs PLM differentiation and, of course, provides the ranking for top PLM and PDM tools.

The following chart is provided as “the best PLM software products determined by customer satisfaction via user reviews as of Nov. 20, 2017”

I also found the following classification of PLM software – BOL, MOL, EOL.

Beginning of life (BOL): New product development, design processes and product launch. Middle of life (MOL): Collaboration with suppliers, product information management (PIM) and warranty management. End of life (EOL): Strategies for how the product discontinuation, disposal or recycling. 

These new TLAs reminded me one of my recent articles – Do we really need another acronym in PLM. I think, manufacturing companies have their own product lifecycle stages associated with design, engineering, manufacturing, support, maintenance and others. But, I’m interested in your opinion.

I’ve been surprised to see that major PLM vendors in the industry are excluded from the list. You don’t see top 3 vendors Dassault, Siemens PLM and PTC there as well as some other products such as Aras for example. Maybe customers are completely unhappy about these products. I don’t know. But even so, I’d expect to see them on the bottom of the list.

I have to admit that separately, G2 provided a diagram with most of PLM vendors divided into 4 categories – contenders, niche, leaders, high performers. According to G2, the satisfaction rating is based on customer satisfaction data from real users surveys. I wonder is G2 is ready to publish information about user surveys for top PLM vendors.

While I totally understand emotions about vendor ranking, I’m still not clear how to provide well balanced PLM product ranking based on user surveys or online reviews. Bias can come directly (through vendors sales and marketing interest) and indirectly by surveying a specific group of users. Unfortunately, I didn’t find published survey methodology as well as stats about how many users were surveyed and their affiliation with specific software packages. These data points can be helpful to develop some trust to user surveys.

What is my conclusion? To deliver unbiased industry ranking is a complex mission. I’m not sure you can rank PLM (and other enterprise software) in a similar way you can rank smart phones or even cars. Very often one size doesn’t fit all and the only way to get it right is to bring sufficient PLM domain knowledge combined with specific customer background to develop right PLM strategy for customer. Customer satisfaction is a promising criteria. However, to get the information from all groups of users can be a complex mission. Otherwise, don’t be surprised to learn from an internet survey, that all participants of the survey are using internet. 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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