PLM Trending Topics of 2021. Can You Afford To Be a Follower?

PLM Trending Topics of 2021. Can You Afford To Be a Follower?

CIMdata’s article The Top Ten PLM News Stories of 2021, brought analyst perspectives on what is trending in the PLM industry and what readers are paying attention to. Check this out and make your own conclusion. Seven out of ten articles are vendor-specific – Dassault, Siemens, Aras, PTC. No surprise here… One is about industry initiative, one is about integration and the last one was my favorite – Can you afford to be a follower? by Peter Bilello, President, and CEO of CIMdata where he speaks about PLM industry trends is actually a link to article.

Gradually Then Suddenly

The link is here – “Can You Afford To Be a Follower?”: CIMdata CEO Peter Bilello on PLM Development. The article speaks about how new technologies can (or cannot) reshape the existing PLM landscape.

Discussion at the event revolved around how new technologies affect and reshape the current PLM landscape and associated value chains. Bilello and CIMdata emphasize an increasing number of technology functions, such as clouds, additive manufacturing, platforms, digital threads and digital twins, all with the potential to realize visions linked to product realization. But nothing comes immediately, and technology acceptance takes time.

At the same time, companies rarely invest maximum resources in new untested technology if the old technology still works well. Experiments and pilot projects that demonstrate benefits are good, but cannot expect to be implemented on a larger scale if they disturb existing setups too significantly and can’t show a strong Return on Investment (ROI).

Here is the most interesting passage:

Bilello explains that this means many companies are developing PLM at their own pace, rather than at a technology-optimized pace. This can be interpreted in several ways, but one interesting angle is that it can be taken as an indication of the growing gap between those who make more massive investments in new PLM and automation technologies, and those who are not on their toes in that respect.

Which reminded me of the famous two ways explanations about many processes – first, gradually then suddenly. This is a good reminder to all manufacturing companies that are postponing their technological roadmaps and thinking that they can survive with 20 years old PDM and PLM technologies patched with last updates for Windows and Oracle (or another) databases.

Beyond PLM Trending Topics

It is December 31st, and I decided to make a check about what articles were the most popular on my blog for the last 12 months. Here is my quick summary.

The old article from 2014 How To Manage Document Versions, Revisions and Part Numbers is on the top list. Which reminded me that companies are still experiencing the knowledge gap and looking for basic education. As such, the question about how to manage Part Numbers usually comes in every implementation training we do at OpenBOM.

Complemented by the article PLM, product structure, and multi-level BOM. Let’s sort it out. Both confirm the high interest of companies in basic PLM education and lack of knowledge.

Another old article – What is Wrong with 3DEXPERIENCE and ENOVIA speaks about the challenges of new technologies provided by Dassault Systemes. Recent news by about Renault and 3DEXPERIENCE is another good read about where DS is trending.

A few articles about PTC and their investment in SaaS confirm high interest in technology transformation by large PLM vendors. What is PTC Atlas Platform? and How Does PTC plan to SaaSify their products by 2025?

Bill of Materials is a central piece in product development and technologies. Therefore, I was not surprised to see the article How To Make BOM Integration Easy among the leaders.

Another technological article published a year ago – PLM System Evolution for Dummies and its counterpart PLM Data Architecture Evolution for Dummies, PLM selection process for Dummies in 2021 – all speak about the same topic Peter Bilello published – inevitable technological progress and the need for manufacturing companies to make their decision on how to keep up with the progress.

The discussion about PLM and ERP integration is always trending. Therefore, the article PLM vs ERP Tug of War among the leaders is another confirmation of the interest of companies to focus on seamless information workflows.

The article about information integration and enterprise architectures including EBOM and MBOM is another confirmation of the interest of companies on how to integrate information. Check this out – The Death of EBOM vs. MBOM divide.

What is my conclusion and Happy New Year!

This is the last article this year. We are leaving 2021 with its problems, issues, COVID19, lockdowns, transformation, supply chain shortages, and many challenges. At the same time, all these challenges and problems are very convincing – the new world brings new realities and we need to upgrade our skills, technologies, and strategies to survive and win in 2022. So, the question asked by Peter Bilello of CIMdata is very relevant. Can you afford to be a follower? Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing a digital network-based platform that manages product data and connects manufacturers, construction companies, and their supply chain networksMy opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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