I’ve been following Autodesk PLM development for the last decade. It has many turns during that time- from ignoring PLM as a discipline with a famous Carl Bass anti-PLM rap to becoming the first large CAD company to start a cloud PLM business. Here are a few of my previous articles.
How Autodesk Plan To Connect Multiple Generations of CAD, PDM, and PLM
What can be next for Autodesk PLM?
What is Autodesk One Data Platform and Where does Autodesk PLM Go?
Autodesk made another step in the PLM journey by acquiring the Upchain cloud PDM system. Here are some of my thoughts. After all, Autodesk is currently actively operating three PDM / PLM systems – How to navigate through the multiple Autodesk PDM / PLM systems.
I was not able to attend Accelerate 2022 because of a conflict in my schedule, but I was following it via publications. Here are a few write-ups that caught my attention.
Autodesk Accelerate 2022- Manufacturing’s Digital Transformation by TEC written by Predrag Jacovlevich. The second one is Digital Transformation – Let’s talk by Monica Schnitger.
Chad Jackson of Lifecycle Insight posted an interesting comment about what he learned at Autodesk Accelerate 2022 and it is related to a new Autodesk vision of connecting data. Check the comment here. Here is the passage.
The way Steven Hooper is describing it, however, is novel. At Autodesk #accelerate22, he talked about associativity between enterprise systems. And not just PDM and PLM. But between PLM, ALM, MES, SCM, SLM, and more. And that’s interesting because, traditionally, those are separate systems often running on different servers that rarely talk to one another. And when they do talk to one another, it is usually a one-way transmission of information, such as a bill-of-material, at a specific milestone in development, like design release. So, the concept of frequently pushing changes back and forth across these systems is foreign. No one does it.
However, Autodesk wants to change that paradigm. Their vision is to have those types of systems on Forge, their web-based platform. When those systems sit on one shared platform, a change anywhere can be reflected everywhere, even across systems. Right now, that vision begins and ends with #fusion360, their CAD and PLM offering. But read between the lines; Autodesk’s vision is far more extensive than that.
A slightly different explanation about the same topic I found in PJ’s TEC article. Here is another passage that speaks about Data-Driven Collaboration and Automation.
To enable digital transformation, manufacturers must set their eyes on convergence—connect their entire organization and bridge the gap between different disciplines and teams with a singular development and manufacturing environment. They must also connect their entire manufacturing ecosystem and accelerate productivity through unified data (see figure 4). By fostering collaboration through shared data and cloud storage, manufacturers can keep all their teams connected, from product concept to delivery.
Autodesk is looking to use intelligent automation tools to eliminate manual delays. By inputting data from its major enterprise systems—PLM, CAD, CAM, manufacturing execution system (MES), IoT—and third-party apps into the cloud, Autodesk aims to use AI and machine learning (ML) technologies to mine big data in the cloud for innovation and productivity improvement recommendations for the purpose of generative design and generative process optimization.
The idea of connected data is a very profound vision, which can fundamentally change the way PLM and the manufacturing industry can be developed in the next decade. I was talking about it in some of my recent articles.
In my article – A post monolithic PLM World – Data and System Architecture I shared my perspective on how PLM can change switching from application to data and developing multi-tenant semantic platforms capable to provide a data foundation to bring companies together and stay open at the same time.
Another perspective on a future PLM development in my article – PLM Business, Digital Transformation, and Microservice – only pay for what you need where I speak about fundamental changes in the PLM business model that can change the future platforms.
What is my conclusion?
The question I have for all PLM vendors (including Autodesk) is about openness. Are their new PLM platforms open to allow integrations and usage of data across platforms freely or these platforms will become vendors’ black holes? In my view, in the next several years, manufacturing companies will demand more from data management platforms than we’ve seen before. The manufacturing world is becoming more complex, competitive, and connected at the same time. Companies are looking how to become more competitive and thrive in the new realities of manufacturing. ‘m planning to attend Autodesk Forge Data Days next week in Boston and hope to learn more about Autodesk data strategies. Just my thoughts. Stay tuned…
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.