What technologies PLM leaders need to watch in 2018

What technologies PLM leaders need to watch in 2018

I’m taking some time off with my family, so please excuse me for irregular blogging this week. My attention was caught by Gartner Hype Cycle 2018. It contains 35 must-watch technologies out of a field of more than 2,000, dispersing them along the phases of the cycle: innovation trigger, peak of inflated expectations, trough of disillusionment, slope of enlightenment and plateau of productivity.

There are 3 trends outlined by Gartner:

1/ Democratized AI, as cloud computing, open source and the “maker” community open AI to the masses. 2/ Digitalized ecosystems, as companies shift from compartmentalized infrastructure to platforms that create broader ecosystems to connect humans and tech. 3/  Ubiquitous infrastructure, as limitless, always available infrastructure expands business opportunity.

Here is a diagram. Check the picture and look for buzzwords of your interest.

Here are  things I picked up with my PLM twisted brain:

1- Augmented Reality. I noticed AR is coming to the slope of enlightenment. During past few years, I’ve see a growing number of AR  examples in manufacturing, services and production demonstrated by PLM vendors. I like the idea of augmentation between data and presentation layer. Complexity of manufacturing data is an ideal place to bring new presentation and user experience technologies.

2- Digital Twin. It is all hype and Gartner confirms Digital Twin is on the top of the hyped expectations. It is consistent with how I see PLM companies are selling Digital Twin as a marketing to their existing PLM platforms. But we all know PLM implementations had their problems in the past. So, how Digital Twin will be different? It is not clear to me yet.

3- Blockchain. Lot of conversations and promises. Companies are researching what can be done, but not much outcome. Net-net: don’t plan to get anything from blockchain in the near future.

4- Knowledge Graphs. Networks are powerful source of innovation. Networked businesses trigger lot of innovation and opportunities. But, according to Gartner, it still has long path to the plateau of productivity.

What is my conclusion? Timing is everything. When you innovate, check the timing of the events and how your innovation is corresponding with the reality. Timing is one of these things that impossible to change. Too early and you burned tons of money for somebody else to pickup it later. Too late and you lost it to competitors. PLM was slow to adopt innovative technologies for the last decade. What will be the wining technology to bring a difference to PLM innovation? Good question, but not many answers. The big PLM wave is over. Company got to the idea of single version of truth. But implementations are complex and technologies are expensive. The idea is good, but it requires new delivery form.  The next PLM wave requires changing existing paradigms and augmentation of PLM into new tech form. Gartner doesn’t seem to recognize PLM as innovative hype anymore.But Digital Twin hype is sky-high. 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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