The year 2022 is in the books, New Year celebrations are over, and now is a good time to reflect back on what I’ve seen and experienced last year. I will keep the scope of reflection to a broad PLM domain, my business experience at OpenBOM and various technical topics have a passion for and follow regularly.
World and Business
As we went out of the pandemic, everyone expected the world to come back to normal. It was related to business as well as to work relations, and society in general. I’m leaving 2022 with a very mixed outcome. As I’m working from home for the last five years, I expected 2022 to bring more back to the office normality we knew before, but it didn’t happen. Although I visited a few events during 2022, I can see more and more people optimizing their life and work using remote methods. Multiple times during 2022, I found remote to be more efficient and adding a burden of air travel, hotels, and other components of logistics might not be needed. But I’ve heard multiple people speaking about coming back to normality and expecting the remote world slowly, but surely will be giving up. It would be very interesting to see what will happen in 2023.
Supply chain and geopolitical events and, especially Russia invading Ukraine gave a strong background to the situation in the world. It is first and foremost related to the globalization of the economy, increased defense budgets, and local manufacturing opportunities.
In business relations, I can see strong trends toward customer experience, permanent connection to customers, tracking what customers do, and switching from “one-time-business” (aka sales) to continuous relationships that actively adopt subscription business model and focus on companies how to tie customers with the products they use. A connected experience is coming everywhere and I see how companies are looking how not only to sell a product but connect their customers to vendors by selling various features and subscriptions.
Digital transformation is in a full swing. It is obvious to everyone that going digital is a matter of survival in the modern world. Therefore, cloud, data, and artificial intelligence are three topics that I can see in my 2022 technological reflection. Companies were actively moving to cloud technologies by optimizing their technology stacks and introducing new cloud services. Data is a thing that everyone is talking about regardless of what you call it (files, information, knowledge, etc.). Getting access to the data everywhere without disruption was at the top of people’s and companies’ minds in 2022. The last piece was about AI (artificial intelligence) and the usage of various smart services that can help us to get better results and make the right decision. It can be related to a variety of activities such as writing an article, crafting a marketing campaign, and deciding what service to use or what products to buy. If you didn’t try services like Jasper, didn’t check Open AI, and didn’t use transcription services, I recommend you do it now. It can be an eye-opening result and re-thinking about what is possible to do. Keep in mind – good data means good AI. As we learned for many years, garbage in, garbage out. Getting good data quality is a big deal.
Product Lifecycle Management (and beyond)
PLM systems and vendors continue the path of digital transformation that was started before and significantly boosted by the COVID pandemic. Companies are looking at how to get out of legacy and make the business and technological stack updated. In 2022, companies were heavily disturbed by legacy data and PLM stacks and were looking at how to migrate out of old systems.
PLM vendors were very much focused on how to get into the SaaS business (which means cloud+subscriptions) and took all leading software platforms to SaaS. You can see it in Siemens business (Teamcenter X), Aras (Enterprise SaaS), Oracle (Fusion cloud), SAP HANA cloud, Dassault Systemes (3DX One Cloud), and PTC (Windchill+). I didn’t see a major announcement from DS about the 3DX platform, but it might be coming later in 2023 (will see).
Digital Twin and Digital Thread are two important trends that demonstrated in 2022 the directions of CAD and PLM vendors were taken. It combines the development efforts to provide better “virtual models” and the ability to connect business processes across multiple departments, divisions, and companies.
Personal Social Achievement
What is my conclusion?
Looking back on 2022, I can see a confirmation of the challenges the PLM industry collected for the last decade and lessons learned about business, technology, and PLM system development. Companies are looking at many not answered questions from computer-aided design, product data management, supply chain management, enterprise resource planning, and organization of the product development process overall. Product lifecycle is a very complex process and companies are looking at how to digitally transform their activities and adapt them to the realities of the modern world – technological, business, economic and global political. Just my thoughts…
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing a digital cloud-native PDM & PLM platform that manages product data and connects manufacturers, construction companies, and their supply chain networks. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.