Bi-Modal PLM and Data Federation

Bi-Modal PLM and Data Federation

In the world of product lifecycle management, there is a new buzzword “Bi-modal PLM”. If you missed my earlier articles, please catch up here – Bi-modal PLM: Fad or Silver bullet and How bi-modal IT strategy can open gates to innovation in PLM.

I read Share PLM article – Bimodal PLM: An attempt to keep pace with Digitalization’s “need for speed” that can give you a comprehensive overview of what is Bimodal PLM approach. Read and draw your opinion.

The idea of agility in PLM system development is interesting – experimentation, customer-driven design, agile development, and infrastructure. All these things are good, but it sounds too abstract and doesn’t give you practical recommendations.

The slide deck from Prof Martin Eigner – System Lifecycle Management as a Bimodal IT Approach can give you a few very detailed examples of how to build bi-model system architecture.

In a nutshell, it speaks about data federation. By layering data, IT can bring advanced modern technologies and tools that can be used to implement the strategy of Model 2 (agile and fast).

On the surface, it looks like a great idea. Old PLM system can be combined with new tools. However, the devil is in details. What technologies can be used to organize data federation?

Steven Arnold Dark Cyber blog gives you an interesting perspective on data federation – Federating Data: Easy, Hard, or Poorly Understood Until One Tries It at Scale? Several opinions about data federation approach, advantages and risks involved.

The idea of “modern” data stack brings the popular “model” world as a differentiator.

With a modern data stack, companies can quickly realize value from their data initiatives. With a modern data warehousing approach, the traditional ETL (extract, transform and load) process has now become a faster, more agile ETL approach, where all data is loaded and then the relevant data is transformed into useful information.

Steven Arnold is somewhat critical:

The revolution is to load data and then aggregate. The old way is to transform, aggregate, and model. Here’s a diagram from DAS43. A larger version is available at this link. Hard to read. Yep, New Millennial colors. Is this a breakthrough?

What is my conclusion? Bimodal PLM sounds like a great idea of how to mix and match technologies and not to depend on all legacy systems and technologies. A new stack can be promising, but… to make things happen, data must be flowing between two stacks. And it will bring companies back to data federation. So, efficient bimodal PLM requires sophisticated data federation mechanism with model-driven approaches. Easy to say, but hard to implement. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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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