Oracle Cloud PLM –  Unified Data Model, Frequent Upgrades And Less Integrations?

Oracle Cloud PLM – Unified Data Model, Frequent Upgrades And Less Integrations?

Many manufacturing companies realized that being able to keep their PLM system updated is a very critical element of PLM and IT strategy. Known as “release lock”, the problem is hard to solve. The solution is not obvious. Aras, for example, is selling subscription which is including upgrade service. The topic seems to be resonating and I can see how PLM companies have started to offer so-called “Future Ready” PLMs. One of them is Oracle. Check my earlier blog – Legacy and Future Ready PLMs. In that article, I shared what I’ve learned about the new Oracle PLM cloud development.

Last month, I attended the PI PLMx event in San-Diego California and had a chance to listen to Oracle PLM presented by John Kelley. Oracle is taken a direction to future integrate silos. expanding PLM into such segments as SCM, HCM, ERP, CX, etc. The picture below gives you an idea of integrated supply chain, which I really like.

The idea to have a broad platform including multi-disciplined data sets is very fascinating. However, I was wondering how such a level of data management and integration will be achieved.

My attention was caught by Avery De Marr’s article PLM – A New Hope, which brings some lights into Oracle PLM strategy. Here is an interesting definition of the problem with existing PLM systems:

The problem is that we were working on a Product Lifecycle system that was inherently siloed. Yes, it was really good, but only if you were just in the CAD world or limited to only the NPI world, but rarely does a product end there as PLM1.0 & 2.0 did, and even there it had a lot of challenges. Want some analytics? Good luck! If we had a nickel for all the Process Extensions (aka CODE) and integrations that we had to think through, develop, code, test and deploy (and redeploy, and redeploy)…well, I think you get my point.

So, what is the solution? The article is defining some aspects of PLM solutions that are absolutely important.

Ask yourself – can you pull data from your product, your manufacturing floor, from social media and the greater web in general in order to drive quality resolution faster than your competition? Can you do it real-time? Do you have the foundation to be able to combine information from your operations into your system of record, and intelligently act on these insights? Can you do this without an army of recourses, because your system gives you these insights? PLM4.0 answers these questions.

Check the website – Tomorrow’s Product Lifecycle Management Today. It is interesting. The key differences of PLM 4.0 are – cloud, frequent upgrade fast adoption cycle.

I like Oracle’s idea of quarterly updates. It is resonating with one of my earlier articles – What is better than a free upgrade? What was very surprising is that I didn’t find a single mentioning of integration with engineering (CAD) environments. It looks like it is not there (I hope yet, but it is not clear).

As it was explained by John Kelley during PI PLMx, the way you can integrate with future Oracle PLM is web services and open APIs.

I had a friendly exchange of tweet messages with Avery De Marr via twitter and I learned that he envision the future of PLM with a single system of record (SOR) and probably fewer integrations.

I found the message about “less integration” interesting. Let me put it this way – it is different from the commonly presented version of “total integration and openness”.  But I don’t have all my questions not answered yet. What is the new Oracle Cloud PLM architecture? How customers will be able to integrate their existing systems. How to integrate CAD and engineering systems with Oracle PLM Bill of Materials and many others?

Back in PI PLMx in San Diego, I learned about Oracle PLM Tenancy Model. Oracle PLM has a mixed single and multi-tenant model. While Oracle PLM application is multi-tenant, the data is actually a single tenant and presented as a “database for each customer”.

What is my conclusion? I’m still learning about Oracle cloud PLM and hope to get more information soon. If you have interesting stories, please share via comments. Meantime, I found Oracle vision refreshing and different. The opportunity or big vendor cloud is to have everything included. I can see the value. It is the same as to use all applications from a single CAD/PLM vendor. How realistic is this approach? I don’t know yet. In the past, manufacturing companies were concerned about placing all their bets in the single CAD (or PLM) system. Will the behavior change with cloud systems? I don’t know. Whatever Oracle cloud PLM does, not having CAD integrations sounds somewhat questionable. But I’m still learning. These are my thoughts meantime…

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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