Happy New Year! 2022 is here and now it is a great time to share some of my thoughts about PLM in 2022 and my plans for the New Year planning. Pandemic changed our lives forever bringing a new reality of communication, travel, and learning. The PLM software community has changed for the last two years we’ve been learning to do it differently, but also had time to rethink everything and to come with a new understanding of values and action plans. In my article today, I want to combine my thoughts about key market trends, product development trends and share what can give significant growth to the PLM industry and market share. I’d like also to bring my thoughts about contributing to this development trend I want to make via Beyond PLM, and growth rate opportunities and share what I’m planning to do with Beyond PLM in 2022. I appreciate your comments and opinion – please share them.
Events and Communication
The PLM industry moved from the time when events were the only place where you can learn about the market, technology, companies. The main purpose of the events in the past was to learn about product lifecycle management (PLM), learn key features, get the report about trends and customer needs. Everything changed now. The main purpose of the events is to see people, to talk to decision-makers, discuss technology, challenges, products, and suppliers. . It was the trend for the last few years, but it became obvious for the last two years of pandemics. Virtual events don’t have much value if they don’t offer the elements of communication and collaboration. The value of slide and video shows is pretty low and technically limited to your attention span. I think we are past the waterfall of the virtual events and I hope the lesson is learned by most of the vendors. The only reason for me to come to the event is to have an opportunity to talk to like-minded people, to discuss and learn through the conversation. Everything else can be done online. I look forward to seeing some PLM and vendor events coming back in 2022. If you know about these events, please share the information in the comments.
Blogging and Writing
The amount of information online about PLM was growing substantially for the last decade. Back in the 2010s, I was sharing news and commentary about PLM, which is now very well done by vendors and event providers. Information space was digitally transformed and getting information about a particular topic these days is much easier than it was a decade ago. At the same, I can see a real lack of educational resources that can help engineers and anyone who is interested in product lifecycle management and connected disciplines to get more explanations and learning. Especially, when it comes to vendor-neutral information, best practices, and basic coaching and training. In 2022, I plan to come with more educational articles and I’m planning to come back to my PLM Book activity to refresh some of the articles and to complete some of the materials I didn’t do before. Stay tuned for more news about it.
There is a big gap in Product Lifecycle Management education. I was learning more and more about it through my OpenBOM business as well as by discussing education and knowledge transfer with my industry colleagues. If you missed Demystify Modern PLM virtual event organized by OpenBOM and Share PLM, check out the press release here. All materials are available online. The PLM industry represents an interesting combination of groups – people involved in solving really complex data management and process transformation projects as well as people that are looking at how to make things work in a simple way. Both groups are important, but the knowledge transfer is not happening between them. Both groups can learn from each other. The bridges are needed. I call them simplification and knowledge transfer bridges. We need to build them.
Data, Technology, and Platforms
You cannot build new things using old technologies. The majority of PLM business today is concentrated in large enterprises. As a result, the $53B PLM business market share is mostly attributed to large companies. This portion of the business is growing with high single-digit numbers, which is a good growth rate for the established market. But these solutions represent also the biggest challenge in PLM business. The focus of PLM implementations was to build a central repository of data (single source of truth), but these days a typical manufacturing organization is distributed and the data doesn’t live in one place. It is the network of data that matters. New technologies will have to come to solve the problem. Many new technologies in PLM and related engineering and manufacturing space are not mature enough and at the same time, old and mature platforms were built 20-30 years ago. The gap is visible and the opportunity to bring new technologies is big. The data opportunity is very big, but the realization of this opportunity will be coming through the building of new platforms and bringing the value of the data to engineers, manufacturing companies, and the supply chain. Check some of my earlier articles about it – Data and Future PLM opportunity and How PLM can discover data opportunity. Seven years between these articles, big progress is made in building technologies, platforms, and infrastructure, but business is not there yet.
Money is coming to PLM industries. For the last few years, substantial investments were made in PLM vendors. The M&A activities are at the highest level in 2021. Arena Solutions ($750M), Aras, Onshape ($459M), Autodesk Upchain – this is only a very short list of M&A activity related PLM companies. If you think at a broader level, the demand for PLM technologies is high, the companies are looking for new types of solutions and services. I’m expecting to see more M&A and investment coming to the product lifecycle management companies and PLM software vendors in the future in 2022.
What is my conclusion?
Happy New Year to everyone! I look forward to staying connected with the community of people working on modern PLM technologies, engineering, and manufacturing software. The opportunity to provide solutions to underserved groups of manufacturing businesses, the data opportunity to connect manufacturing companies in data-driven supply chain and manufacturing networks is huge. To make it happen we need to work on education, technologies, and business models at the same time to make progress to make it happen. Just my thoughts…
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 networks. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.