Earlier last week, I shared my perspective on how I see the future of post-monolithic PLM systems. If you missed that, please check my article – A post-monolithic PLM world: data and system architecture. I can see a future of PLM services, built on top of an open cloud platform with a semantic service allowing to plug-in multiple components coming from different vendors. The foundation of the platform is data services and new business models that facilitate vendors to provide useful components to share the data while giving advantages to openness and data portability.
Earlier this week, I was skimming news catching up on social media and a variety of articles. I was reviewing materials from Microsoft Build 2022 conference. The following article caught by Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO caught my special attention – 10 technologies coming together to help you build what’s next. Check this out I found it interesting.
Here are my top three favorites that in my view, can provide some inspiration to developers working on the future PLM systems. Here they are –
- Unified Data
- Collaborative Apps
Let me review each of these and give some perspective why I think, they can be important for the development of future PLM services and digital transformation.
Most PLM software is built on top of SQL databases as a platform. Such an architecture makes it impossible to switch to microservices. A monolithic database is the main reason for that. I found the following passage very interesting.
Today, all cloud-native app development starts by writing a microservice. Microservices help teams build and deliver and scale apps faster than traditional architectures.
Containers have emerged as the industry standard to go from code to cloud native and to scale from zero to infinity, as your load and business requires.
I’ve been super excited about the response to our preview of Azure Container Apps, a fully managed serverless container service for building and deploying modern apps at scale. It allows developers to create modern apps based on open standards. It’s all built on Kubernetes, so you can get the benefits of the open ecosystem, but no prior Kubernetes experience or knowledge is required. You can easily deploy containerized apps from Docker containers or source code repos, without having to worry about managing your own infrastructure. And your apps can scale in response to HTTP traffic or event triggers. And, today, we announced the general availability of Azure Container Apps.
Switching the focus from application to data is a big shift. It is already happening and will see more examples of how multi-tenant data-driven PLM applications allow to manufacturing companies to collaborate and share data in real-time.
Here is a piece of inspiration from Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform.
Today, though, developers struggle with the silos that too often exist between databases, analytics, and governance. Data engineers, data scientists, and business analysts struggle with the complexity of making data integration, data warehousing, ML ops, and BI all come together. And data and privacy officers struggle to meet regulations when governance is not deeply integrated into the products they’re supposed to monitor. That’s why instead of thinking about databases, analytics, and governance as separate things, we are architecting these pieces together as part of one intelligent data platform.
Today, we announced the Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform. There is no better example of why this matters than e-commerce. Take, for example, a shopping website that needs to create personalized experiences, including product recommendations.
Last, but not least is collaboration. It is impossible to think of modern enterprise applications such as PLM without collaboration, the ability to share data in real-time, and connect users working in the same company with their contractors and suppliers. A great example is Microsoft Live Share in Microsoft Teams.
When you combine the Microsoft Graph with Microsoft Teams, you combine the data that describes how people work together with the place they work together. It’s incredibly powerful, and developers are extending their apps into Teams and embedding Teams in their apps.
At Build, we’re introducing new capabilities to help developers design rich, collaborative experiences. One of the updates I’m most excited about is Live Share in Microsoft Teams.
Working on apps in meetings should be multiplayer. With Live Share, apps can go beyond passive sharing so end users can actively co-watch, co-create, and co-edit content together, making live meetings truly interactive.
What is my conclusion?
Modern manufacturers demand a new type of applications and systems. A the same time, the majority of existing PLM platforms were built ~20 years ago and they are falling short to provide reasonably well architectures solutions. There is an alarming level of the technological gap between PDM / PLM systems used by many companies and what modern platforms such as Azure, Amazon AWS, and others can provide. Which made me think that very soon we will find IT manufacturing companies that will be looking at how to build modern PLM solutions on top of these PaaS. New cloud-native PLM services can provide services aligned with technologies and philosophies of modern platforms and become a foundation of a modern generation of PLM systems. Just my thoughts…
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing a digital cloud-native PLM platform that manages product data and connects manufacturers, construction companies, and their supply chain networks. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.