I’m continuing to explore Siemens and SAP partnership. In my earlier articles, I touched some business aspects of partnerships. You can check my blog – Siemens + SAP = winners, losers, and questions. Each company brings its own strength to this partnership and currently focused on discrete industries. The rumors about SAP phasing out the PLM portfolio are greatly exaggerated. Check out more here. While business aspects of Siemens and SAP partnerships are important, in my view, they will not change the trajectory of the PLM industry and market.
My special interest was around one of the most fundamental and difficult topics of PLM implementations – integrations between PLM and ERP systems. SAP and Siemens together have an opportunity to support a new process. What is needed to make it happen and how SAP and Siemens will do it was part of my blog – Will SAP and Siemens come on the same BOM? I see the opportunity to streamline processes between PLM and ERP using new products and technologies and to solve decades-long disputes about BOM ownerships and manufacturing planning.
Earlier today, I had a chance to watch a CIMdata webinar where CIMdata Vice President Stan Przybylinski spoke about Siemens and SAP partnership. The name Putting the SAP-Siemens Partnership In Context. You can register and watch it here. Here are a few slides I captured from the presentation.
The way CIMdata presented the lifecycle and the role of the Bill of Materials resonated with my earlier thoughts about the need for SAP and Siemens to come on the same BOM. Actually, I’d expand – to come from the same BOMs or even to establish multiple Digital Twins to share and collaborate across different stages of the product life cycle.
The way such integration can be done will be important for the realization of the entire product lifecycle. In the past, exchange BOM would be sufficient to keep the system up and running. Even such integration is not simple, companies did it in the past 10-20 years many times. The difference we have now is related to a new way manufacturing companies are demanding to do their work – connected.
Engineering and business aspects of the product lifecycle are heavily intertwined. The lifeblood of this process is multiple Bill of Material and blood vessels to carry these digital twins are actually technologies that will be in high demand to support an overall product lifecycle. In the past vendors tried multiple technologies to exchange data and integrate systems. Most of them are the well-known hub and spoke systems pumping information and don’t provide enough support for information integrity. Modern data management, combined with new cloud and collaboration tools can provide a new level of support, which will come in different aspects – intelligence, connectivity, data integration, and collaboration. Truly collaborative cloud BOM management technology can provide a layer for seamless integration of different Bill of Materials across the lifecycle as you can see it on the CIMdata slide above.
What is my conclusion?
The problem of system integration in a modern product lifecycle is well known. Companies are demanding to streamline processes and to integrate data and people activity while siloed systems and old business practices are standing between business requirements and technological reality. It would be very interesting to see how Siemens and SAP partnerships will evolve and how both large companies will attack the problem of BOM collaboration across the product lifecycle. Just my thoughts…
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.