PLM Roadmap 2020 – Digital Thread and PLM Innovation

PLM Roadmap 2020 – Digital Thread and PLM Innovation

It is hard to swim these days in the ocean of online events. PLM is not an exclusion. And it is hard to differentiate between an event, which goes virtual, or just zillions of online webinars, video presentations, and other digital media distributed online.

Among many PLM events from the past, PLM Roadmap and PDT 2020 is an outstanding event hosted by CIMdata. The event usually gathers a good set of speakers from the analyst community and the industry. Traditionally it is mostly aerospace, defense, and automotive industry. These are traditionally heavy users of PLM products looking forward to using PLM sophisticated tech and challenging vendors on every single occasion.

The event will go live for the next three days and I’m looking forward to attending virtually (as much as I can) and will take my notes to share with you. The agenda for the event is here. The primary topic for the event is Digital Thread—the PLM Professionals’ Path to Delivering Innovation, Efficiency, and Quality comes with no surprise. Digital Thread is another name for PLMish goodness, which is promising to become a new catchy thing to replace PLM, especially since the future of PLM is not clear according to CIMdata’s and the transformation is coming.

Here are a few sessions I captured from the PLM Roadmap and PDT 2020 agenda that caught my special interest.

My absolute favorite is Peter Bilello’s keynote about Digital Twin and Thread. While I’m looking forward to listening to Peter, it feels like the proposed agenda is to connect Twin and Thread together and to offer it as a new concept/model/name (choose what you like) to act on the PLM’s behalf. Read and draw your opinion:

The concepts of the digital twin and digital thread have been around for decades. Industry insiders generally agree that keeping them joined maximizes their value and justifies the effort of keeping them current. Yet the gaps between them seem not to be closing. The specifics of digital twins and digital threads differ widely, but many of their underlying considerations are similar; both are fed by many of the same information flows, especially if PLM enables them. Fundamentally, a digital twin without a digital thread is an orphan, disconnected from the decisions and processes that impact it. Whether the product is a drill bit or an aircraft, its virtual representation will undoubtedly struggle to be complete and up to date without a digital thread. When information flows between them are synchronized and unimpeded, every business unit gains. Ultimately, the benefit of joining the digital twin to its digital thread is a competitive advantage. This presentation will make a case for how and why the digital twin and its digital thread are inseparable.

My second favorite is about how to define a foundation for better collaboration. The later is a topic PLM industry discuss for decades and yet to offer anything that can be simple and easy. Nevertheless, this is a presentation from Pratt & Whitney with a very pragmatic approach – how to get all the data and create a foundational baseline for all PLM systems.  The name of the presentation – Defining a baseline for data exchange processes and standards.

The exchange of Product Data Management (PDM) data between disparate PDM solutions, including Computer-Aided Design and Bill of Materials data, presents a challenge within the Aerospace & Defense industry. The exchange requires independent and exclusive processes, each unique and complicated to support the long-term future of collaboration between Original Equipment Manufacturers and suppliers. Improving the efficiency of collaboration across the product lifecycle in development, production, and maintenance creates opportunities to meet product cost targets. This presentation offers a new desired state for that collaboration process where multiple partners collaborate on projects in a common workspace.

Another keynote with provoking name –  Digital Thread: Be Careful What you Wish For, It Just Might Come True by Marc Halpern, P.E., Ph.D., Vice President, Gartner also caught by attention by the promising content.

A digital thread is compelling. It can streamline business activities for greater profit and growth. But, what is gained or lost depends on the approach. This presentation will help attendees understand the risks and benefits of different approaches to support their planning.

There are a few more interesting presentations coming from customers such as Boing, Airbus, and a few others. The topics that caught my special interest are BOMs, Collaboration, Model-based Enterprise, and a few others.

What’s my conclusion?

PLM roadmap and PDT is a traditional PLM event where you can find tons of information about useful PLM concepts, topics, and trends. It is a “hard core PLM” for people looking at how to solve hard PLM problems. It is also a great place to find an analyst’s perspective on PLM. I look forward to attending for the next few days and to learn from a combination of industry and analysts about where the PLM industry is moving with regards to the super sophisticated tools and simplicity, which is probably out of scope.

Best, Oleg

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing a digital network platform that manages product data and connects manufacturers and their supply chain networks.


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