Legacy and Future Ready PLMs

Legacy and Future Ready PLMs

Few days ago I talked about the opportunity to create a Future Proof PLMs. If you missed my article, take a look here. CIMdata commentary about resilient PLM platforms capable to sustain future changes suggested Aras found a holy grail of PLM – a system that can be updated and enable innovation in the future. While Aras achieved impressive results in their decade of enterprise open source strategy application, I doubt the same formula can work in the coming decade. Aras found a formula to neutralize important risks of PLM projects by selling services including upgrades. The strategy seems to be working meantime. Let’s wait and see the results.

Meantime, I can see other PLM vendors aren’t waiting until Aras will replace existing “legacy” PLM implementations. Oracle article suggests that PLM 4.0 strategy is Today’s Future-Ready Product Lifecycle Management. Check the article, because it describes some interesting aspects of Oracle PLM development.

Oracle is suggesting Oracle Product Management cloud. Besides calling it “next generation PLM”, it suggest few interesting differentiators – wide enterprise connection and common data model for PLM, IoT, SCM and Social Monitoring. Here is the passage:

Oracle Product Management Cloud delivers the next generation of PLM. It’s a PLM 4.0 solution that outpaces change. With it, companies can establish and monitor a Digital Thread that connects the many voices of machine (IoT), product (including digital twins), factory, and customer (via social monitoring) across the enterprise. Having access to this critical information from anywhere at any time on the cloud tightly links key business processes, breaks the chains of data silos, and eliminates the complexity of gathering data across supply networks.

You can also see that Oracle is referencing another CIMdata commentary.  Oracle says digital thread – a central piece connecting systems and data silos (sounds familiar?). Check the picture I captured:

Digital Transformation requires a connected next-generation PLM solution that supports Industry 4.0. PLM implementations need to extend beyond the traditional product master to “digitally thread” data across the entire product lifecycle and through barriers of siloed information. The digital thread provides the true foundation for end-to-end connected digital product chains and delivers the traceability necessary to quickly track the entire lifecycle of a product from initial idea and design through commercialization, in-field use, and service

Another interesting passage:

Because they’re built on a common data model, Oracle PLM, SCM, IoT, Social Monitoring applications with built-in predictive analytics work together to managing, aggregate, and convert digital twin and inter/external information into insights that improve how products are designed, manufactured, maintained, and used. This results in faster decision making, improved product cycle time, time-to-market, and development productivity, while reducing product costs and product quality problems.

It seems to me that the idea of connectivity is dominant in the way vendors see the future of PLM. Another thing that also common in Aras and Oracle strategies is the importance of sustain in future transformations. But here is differentiation as I can see it. Aras believe in open architecture, data model and community building. Oracle PLM is opposite looking for common data model and breadth of their portfolio. Both call it digital thread.

What is my conclusion? I can see a growing acknowledgment that current PLM systems are outdated and will be replaced. However, the alternative seems to be not clear yet. The importance of connectivity is probably the only common things between Aras’ Future Proof and Oracle Future Ready solutions. Aras stack is more agile and lean. Oracle stack is much broader. Which approach will bring the future is not clear. Oracle sits deep in every large enterprise company IT. Aras is coming from the outside with Microsoft / .NET stack. The key to answer is to compare the ROI of both systems. The fastest ROI will win in the service business. Industrial companies like vision, but looking for quick money return on the investment. Five years of projects are not attractive anymore. However, both are playing in the existing market – read ocean and system replacement. This strategy is ignoring existing underserved manufacturing companies across the digital value chain. Connected can be a nice word, but what is behind? It is not clear yet. 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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