Manufacturing PLM predictions and Gartner Hype Cycle 20 years analysis

Manufacturing PLM predictions and Gartner Hype Cycle 20 years analysis

I’m polishing my presentation for PLMx conference next week in Hamburg. If you haven’t heard about the event, check here my previous articles here.

During my session at PLMx I will speak about PLM innovation and danger to get involved into buzzword innovation. Marketing can do magic and you can find yourself buying old products with new names. I will share my thoughts on navigating the difficult road towards PLM innovation. Especially looking at how to avoid the common pitfall of replacing old systems with new names and how cloud technology and the Industrial Internet hold the key to PLM Innovation.

What can be a better place to look for buzzword than Gartner Hype Cycle? I hope you agree with me. I found a very interesting ready about Technology Hype Cycle – 8 Lessons from 20 Years of Hype Cycles. In my view, it is great technological read. You cannot do better for the weekend. I especially like to comparison of Hype Cycle with Hero’s journey.

Here is my favorite passage:

I think of the Gartner Hype Cycle as a Hero’s Journey for technologies. And just like the hero’s journey, the Hype Cycle is a compelling narrative structure. When we consider many of the technologies in use today, we tend to recall that they were overhyped when they first arrived, but eventually found their way to mainstream usage. But … is that really how technologies emerge and gain adoption? After analyzing every Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technology from 2000 to 2016 – all seventeen years of the post dotcom era – I’ve come to believe that the median technology doesn’t obey the Hype Cycle. We only think it does because when we recollect how technologies emerge, we’re subject to cognitive biases that distort our recollection of the past: Hindsight bias (we unconsciously “improve” our memory of past predictions).  Survivor bias (it’s much easier to remember the technologies that succeed (we’re surrounded by them) rather than the technologies that fail).

Here are my two favorite lessons and examples:

Lesson 7: Lots of technologies make progress when no-one is looking

For technologists looking for out-of-favor technologies that may be biding their time before their next breakthrough, past Hype Cycles can be a fruitful source of ideas. Some of the most intriguing technologies that in my humble opinion, may be due for their second or third round of visibility:

Peer-to-peer computing: last seen on the Hype Cycle in 2002, (although you could argue that Ethereum constitutes the second or perhaps third coming of peer-to-peer) there are plenty of interesting advances in peer to peer research over the last decade that could enable a new generation to emerge.

Business process engines/platforms: listed in the 2005 Hype Cycle, it was expected that general purpose rules engines would power the next generation of business apps. Instead, we got highly functionalized applications like Salesforce and Workday. Perhaps IFTT, Zapier and others herald a renaissance of business process engines?

Lesson 8: Many major technologies flew under the Hype Cycle radar

It’s remarkable the number of major technologies from the last 20 years that were either identified late or simply never appeared on a Hype Cycle.

x86 Virtualization: arguably the single most important new data center technology of the last decade, pioneered by VMware. NoSQL: the massive adoption wave of non-SQL based databases that started in the mid-2000’s and gave us MongoDB, Cassandra, Redis, Couch and more. Map/Reduce/Hadoop: the foundation of this generation of large scale data analysis. Open Source: the proliferation of open source as a licensing model that resulted in the commoditization of infrastructure software, the rise of community code sharing and the enablement of cloud models.

So, what is in Gartner Hype Cycle for PLM for now. Navigate here to read about Gartner Hype Cycle for discrete manufacturing PLM in 2017. The chart is not available since I’m not Gartner subscriber. But some interesting finding I paid attention with my cloud and PLM twisted mind.

At the Peak: Cloud-Native CAD and Product Innovation Platforms
Sliding Into the Trough: Cloud-Based PLM Applications
Entering the plateau: Parts and Materials Search and Selection

What is my conclusion? Dreaming is good… Especially for Friday evening. I found Gartner Hypecycle research very fascinating reading. When you’re going to conference, you should get prepared for a waterfall of buzzwords and predictions combined with practical examples and customer presentation. Balance between these two is extremely important. Remember, every technological strategies and plans are collapsing when facing the first customer. You will have to iterate. Fast. Then you can survive. And don’t stop dreaming. 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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