Why PLM should leave a comfort zone?

February 27, 2015

Thoughts after PI Congress in Dusseldorf…

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Earlier this week, I attended PI Congress in Dusseldorf. For me, it was an interesting experience. I had no chance to attend PLM events for almost two years. PI Congress is an event I know from a very first time it was introduced in London back in 2011. The event became bigger and now have much richer content. Take a look on a 2015 program here. You can check back on twitter and take a look on a stream of updates and slides. I had great time discussing variety of PLM related topics with people I know many years. I met bunch of new people and got introduced to new ideas. I will share some of them later over the weekend and next week.

The topic I want to discuss today is a bit controversial… But let’s call the elephant in the room. PLM industry is stuck in a comfort zone. We know that. We know problems of PLM industry. We know problems of PLM systems and vendors. But we live with the status quo. Why? The simple answer is because it is a well-known comfort zone. We know how to live here. We know how to struggle with complex PLM projects. We know how to get executives on board of PLM projects and sell them the value propositions of PLM implementations. We know to run PLM implementations, import data and bring service organizations to complete PLM projects. We know how to upgrade PLM systems and get support from PLM vendors to do so. We know all that…

I’m coming today with three main reasons why I think PLM industry must leave a comfort zone.

1- Existing paradigms have slow ROI

Each large manufacturing firm is completed 2-3 cycles of PLM implementation for the last 15-20 years. Some of them did it with a single vendor. Some of them jumped a ship and moved between vendors. Technologies changed, version changed, user interface changed. However, the fundamental ideas of PLM remained the same. PLM systems are creating data model to manage information about product and related product development processes. This “implementation” process is tedious and complex. It is about existing manufacturing environment, ways people organize their work and people ego. Most of companies are doing so because they don’t know how to do things differently.

2- New generation of people

New generation of people grew up for the last decade. Those people are using cloud applications and mobile devices naturally. They are sending less emails and using chats. They are using Google Docs instead of Microsoft Office files. They are less thinking about processes and more thinking about design excellence. These people are getting access to modern manufacturing tools and environments and they are creating amazing products. We see them around every day.

3- Connected life

Our life is getting more connected every day. Think Network with capital “N”. It means nothing is located in a single place. Even more. It is less important where things are located and where people are working. What is important is to get an access to the network. As soon as you connected, you can do the job. People, devices, processes – all connected in a single live environment. Opposite to that, our PLM systems are about how to put data in a single database. How individual company databases can be connected in a Network? There is a gap here we need to close.

What is my conclusion? One of the sessions at PI Congress was not PLM related. It was a presentation done by Alisee de Tonnac, co-founder of Seedstars World. Check her profile on twitter. I want to bring only one statement from that presentation – “You’re so far behind, you think you’re first”. Think about it… Change is our biggest fear. In everything… We are afraid of change, so we keep existing systems, existing paradigms and do very little to introduce something new. However, the time is running out. Fast ROI, global, connected and mobile business environment – this is only a short list of what industry is demanding from PLM environment. Young generation of people is less interested in old acronyms, but more focused on how to get a job done efficiently. They are running bunch of cloud tools that have nothing to do with PLM paradigms. Some of them are politely asking “what is PLM”, but trying to bring systems they understand to design, engineer and manufacturing products differently. So, kick ourselves of out of comfort zone is hard. But we need to do that. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


What will change existing PLM paradigms?

February 26, 2015

It is not uncommon to hear about “changing paradigms” in different domains these days. We are watching Netflix and disconnecting cable TVs, using Uber instead of driving our own cars. Yesterday at PI Congress, I saw the following slide demonstrating examples of digital disruption in different industry domains.

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Which obviously made me think about disruption in PLM. This domain has some characteristics that make it hard to disrupt. 1 / It is dominated by a small number of very well established vendors. 2/ The barrier to entry the space is high in terms of expertise and completeness of the solution. 3/ Decision lifecycle for customers to buy a software is long and the usage lifecycle is even longer. Companies can use software for 10-15 years because of product lifecycle (eg. aero-planes). As a result of that, one of the main drivers to change PLM system is in fact because existing PLM software will no longer developed or supported by PLM vendor.

For the last decade, we’ve seen very few example of starting a fresh new paradigm in PLM system. Aras Corp came with enterprise open source Aras Innovator. It was a cool idea – think about “Linux of PLM”. It would be interesting to see how much focus Aras will put in their open source in the future.

Another fresh start was Autodesk PLM360, which introduced “cloud PLM alternative”. Even ideas of “cloud” or “hosting” aren’t new and some vendors in PLM space did it before, entrance of such a big vendor like Autodesk in this domain made a change in the industry. 3 years later, we can see all PLM vendors have “cloud” in their portfolios.

There is one thing that didn’t change in PLM and this is very painful thing. You cannot just install and start using PLM like email. In the world of PLM it called “implementation”. You need to figure out how PLM products will help to organization to use it for their product development processes. And this is all about people. Technologies are easy, but people are really hard. Therefore, in my view, PLM got stuck with people. The current paradigm assumes PLM implementation as a core fundamental part of everything. It slows down adoption and requires extensive resources and effort from organization. How to change that?

Have you heard about DevOps? If not, I recommend you to put aside whatever you do and close this educational gap. It is well known in software development and it is essentially a combination of two terms – “development” and “operations”. It became popular and it is a result of massive introduction of new software development practices combined with cloud operations. Few months ago, I mentioned devops in my post – Why to ask your cloud PLM vendor about devops and kubernetes? Business insider article Today’s IT department is in fight for its life helped me to bring my thoughts to clarity. Here is my favorite passage.

Devops is all about how do things faster,” Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst tells Business Insider. It’s the IT department’s version of Facebook’s famous mantra “go fast and break stuff.” IT departments say they had better figure out how to be faster, cheaper, and better. If they don’t, the company’s employees will no longer depend on them. They bring their own PCs, tablets and phones to work and they buy whatever cloud services they want to do their jobs. And the CIO will find his budget increasingly shifted to other manager’s pockets.

“Like the manufacturers were in the 1970s and 1980s were fighting for their lives, today’s IT departments are going to fight for their survival,” Whitehurst says. Traditional IT departments are slow and methodical. Rule no. 1 was to never bring the systems down. They would take months, even years, to roll out new new software, testing everything carefully, often spending millions in the process. Devops eliminates that. Instead, IT departments tear their projects apart into teeny components that can be implemented in tiny changes every day.

The last phrase is a key one. How to tear projects apart into teeny components to be implemented in tiny changes. It made me think about existing PLM implementation paradigm. It heavily relies on long planning cycle and business department alignment. Once this planning made, implementation takes long time and put ROI in absolutely wrong place from what organizations are demanding it to be.

So, how PLM can adopt new way to do things? It requires 3 main changes – 1/ To change state of mind. Don’t think “one big implementation”. Opposite to that, think about small steps that will make business better, faster, efficient. 2/ To bring new PLM biz development tools that can help organizations to plan into small steps. 3/ To make PLM platform capable to function in Devops mode. It requires new type of data modeling, deployment and monitoring tools.

More to come, but I think, Devops ideas can inspire and educate PLM developers to think differently. How to develop PLM practices in a different way. How to bring a new feature in a day and how to test changes for the next hour. These are questions PLM business consulting, developers and business consulting should ask about.

how-to-change-plm-paradigm-with-devops

What is my conclusion? Changing paradigms is hard. For many years, PLM industry fundamental paradigm was to relies on implementation as adoption process of PLM technologies. It started from selling PLM toolkits that required long implementation. PLM vendors tried (still do) out of the box approach, which mostly ended up as a good marketing to demonstrated capabilities of PLM technologies, but required implementation anyway. Cloud approach cut the need for expensive IT involvement, but still requires implementation process. PLM industry needs to find a way to make PLM implementation simpler and easier, so people will stop thinking about PLM implementations as a mess. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


PLM and changes in manufacturing eco-system

February 23, 2015

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In my previous post, I summarized changes in enterprise software that are going to influence a future of PLM. But enterprise software is not only thing that impacting PLM. A lot of new things are happening in manufacturing itself. You probably heard about “new industrial revolution”, “Manufacturing 4.0″, “makers movement”, etc. It is hard to put right tags on every new thing and classify them. I also think it is too early. However, there is one thing clear to me – changes are coming. These changes will impact the overall manufacturing eco-system and status-quo. What will be a manufacturing environment of the future and how it will impact product lifecycle management?

I’ve been trying to capture 3 most important trends I’m observing related to fundamental changes in manufacturing:

what-changing-in-mfg-1

1- Global. Manufacturing business is going global in many ways. It is impossible to imagine manufacturing company these days that is completely disconnected from rest of the world. Small manufacturing firms are multi-located, using rich supply network and manufacturing facilities. Even more interesting, the smaller size you go, the dependencies is getting more interesting. Individual makers, mini-factories are getting even more power and distribution efficiency.

2- Agile network. In many places, hierarchical structures are displaced with the power of network. It is a very interesting, since size won’t matter in the future. Network is more powerful compared to single hierarchical manufacturing structure. The power of communities for manufacturing is yet to be discovered.

3- IP paradigm changes. Manufacturing is going to challenge one of the most fundamental thing – IP ownership. Traditionally companies are owners of IP on manufactured things. Patents, trade secrets, design and manufacturing techniques protection. These are things we are familiar with. What is coming? Manufacturing companies such as Tesla are opening patent portfolios. Open Source Hardware is new trend that you can find similar to Open Source Software. The last one changed the landscape of software as we knew before. How OSHW will change manufacturing?

What is my conclusion? The new manufacturing eco-system is building up in front of us. It comes in many ways as combination of new possibilities of digital manufacturing, 3D printing, scaling, etc. It brings fundamental changes in the process of manufacturing, product development and innovation. Small is a new big. Digital technologies are going to amplify manufacturing potential similar how back 18th century first industrial revolution replaced human power with machine power. The new manufacturing will be built on top of new principles of globalization, networks and open IP. The shift towards networks from centralized databases, open communities with open source hardware and others can influence existing PLM paradigms. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


New enterprise software reality for PLM vendors

February 21, 2015

enterprise-software-new-reality

I’m planning to attend PI Congress event in Dusseldorf next week. As part of the preparation, I’m taking a look back on past events. Back in 2012, I was presented at PLM Innovation 2012 event in Munich about PLM and consumerization. You can navigate and see my presentation. One of the topics I discussed was related to enterprise software and future impact on enterprise IT. The changes were coming to enterprise IT and we can see it clearly now. Business insider article Today’s IT department is in fight for its life can help you to understand the significance of changes.

enterprise-IT-on-fire

Changes in enterprise IT made me think again about what changed in enterprise software. I want to come with top three significant changes comparing to 2012 – Distributed, Connected, Cloud.

what-changed-in-enterprise-software

1- Distributed. Nothing happens these days in a single place. Regardless on what type of company and industry sector are you working, you have to deal with the situation when you customers, partners, suppliers, engineers, manufacturing facilities are located everywhere. This is a new reality and it is getting reflected into enterprise software.

2- Connected. Another thing. People need answer now, at the right moment. People are expecting a different speed from business and enterprise software must provide an answer. Social networks and web disrupted the way enterprises are operating nowadays. Everyone is staying connected.

3- Cloud. Enterprise moved from discussion about cloud into practical implementation of cloud software. It is not about why to implement cloud. It is about how to do it right. Enterprise software vendors and their customers are looking how to find a right solution for today and tomorrow.

What is my conclusion? The reality of today is distributed enterprise software. Essentially, there is no single location for any organization. If you developing PLM software today, take the distribution factor as the most fundamental requirement. Second is communication – the information is flowing between people at high speed and frequency. The right information is in chat, messenger, shared content. How to pickup this information and make it connected to people decisions is a critical aspect. The last one is cloud. There are lot of confusion about what is cloud and how it can be done for organization. But, every organization is going to discover how cloud is impacting what enterprise IT is doing. No escapes here. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


[Live] Irregular thoughts about PLM when skiing at high altitudes

February 17, 2015

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[Updated 18-Feb-2015]

I’ve been thinking about my blogging pattern this week. Taking time off, it is hard to keep up with a regular daily post schedule. However, it is hard to disconnect from PLM ideas completely. So, I decided to do something new.  I’m coming with one “live blog” with some irregular thoughts about PLM. I will keep it run for the whole week while I’m on vacation.

High altitude skiing

After very-very long break I came to the challenge of high-altitude ski experience. If you’re interested in more details, take a look here. I found an interesting comparison of highest ski resorts. China, Bolivia and India were not an option :). So, here are few last pictures from Zermatt:

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Coming back to my beyond PLM thoughts…

What changed in enterprise software

Let me step back and talk about enterprise software before discussing PLM this week. Enterprise software is going through a number of significant changes. I remember one of slides from my presentation three years ago from PLM Innovation 2012. Enterprise IT will be on fire – revolution is coming. I think, it became obvious these days. We see it everywhere.

enterprise-IT-on-fire

So, here is my summary of what changes I’m observing in enterprise software these days.

what-changed-in-enterprise-software

1- Distributed. Nothing happens these days in a single place. Regardless on what type of company and industry sector are you working, you have to deal with the situation when you customers, partners, suppliers, engineers, manufacturing facilities are located everywhere. This is a new reality and it is getting reflected into enterprise software.

2- Connected. Another thing. People need answer now, at the right moment. People are expecting a different speed from business and enterprise software must provide an answer. Social networks and web disrupted the way enterprises are operating nowadays. Everyone is staying connected.

3- Cloud. Enterprise moved from discussion about cloud into practical implementation of cloud software. It is not about why to implement cloud. It is about how to do it right. Enterprise software vendors and their customers are looking how to find a right solution for today and tomorrow.

Enterprise software is not only thing that changing these days. What happens with manufacturing is even more interesting. It looks like we are going to observe a significant shift in manufacturing. Are we going to see a different manufacturing environment soon? Moving from mass production to mass-customization?

What is changing in manufacturing

A lot of new things are happening these days in manufacturing. You can hear about “new industrial revolution”, “Manufacturing 4.0″, “makers movement”, etc. It is hard to put right tags on every new thing and classify them. I also think it is too early. However, there is one thing clear to me – changes are coming. I’ve been trying to capture 3 most important things (trends) that I see around:

what-changing-in-mfg-1

1- Global. Manufacturing business is going global in many ways. It is impossible to imagine manufacturing company these days that is completely disconnected from rest of the world. Small manufacturing firms are multi-located, using rich supply network and manufacturing facilities. Even more interesting, the smaller size you go, the dependencies is getting more interesting. Individual makers, mini-factories are getting even more power and distribution efficiency.

2- Agile network. In many places, hierarchical structures are displaced with  the power of network. It is a very interesting, since size won’t matter in the future. Network is more powerful compared to single hierarchical manufacturing structure. The power of communities for manufacturing is yet to be discovered.

3- IP paradigm changes. Manufacturing is going to challenge one of the most fundamental thing – IP ownership. Traditionally companies are owners of IP on manufactured things. Patents, trade secrets, design and manufacturing techniques protection. These are things we are familiar with. What is coming? Manufacturing companies such as Tesla are opening patent portfolios. Open Source Hardware is new trend that you can find similar to Open Source Software. The last one changed the landscape of software as we knew before. How OSHW will change manufacturing?

Technology and next PLM platforms 

Another topic to discuss is technology. Even, technology is less considered as a problem in most of PLM implementation, my hunch it is probably not true and requires some redefinition and clarification. All existing PLM products are developed on top of existing database technological stacks. Nothing wrong with that, but here is a problem – the scale. The amount of data PLM systems have to handle is growing in scale and reach too. The second is an interesting, in my view. Manufacturing companies are dependent on significant amount of information originated and maintained outside of organization – product catalogs, supplier and other reference information. In addition to that, in many situations, the data is owned by multiple companies – not a single OEM. How traditional PLM platforms will handle that?

plm-tech-step-outside-rdbms

Devops will change PLM paradigm

Have you heard about DevOps? If not, I recommend you to put aside whatever you do and close this educational gap. It is well known in software development and it is essentially a combination of two terms – “development” and “operations”. It became popular and it is a result of massive introduction of new software development practices combined with cloud operations. Few months ago, I mentioned devops in my post – Why to ask your cloud PLM vendor about devops and kubernetes?

I’ve been thinking more about Devops earlier today on slopes. Business insider article Today’s IT department is in fight for its life helped me to bring my thoughts to clarity. Here is my favorite passage.

Devops is all about how do things faster,” Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst tells Business Insider. It’s the IT department’s version of Facebook’s famous mantra “go fast and break stuff.”  IT departments say they had better figure out how to be faster, cheaper, and better. If they don’t, the company’s employees will no longer depend on them. They bring their own PCs, tablets and phones to work and they buy whatever cloud services they want to do their jobs. And the CIO will find his budget increasingly shifted to other manager’s pockets.

“Like the manufacturers were in the 1970s and 1980s were fighting for their lives, today’s IT departments are going to fight for their survival,” Whitehurst says. Traditional IT departments are slow and methodical. Rule no. 1 was to never bring the systems down. They would take months, even years, to roll out new new software, testing everything carefully, often spending millions in the process. Devops eliminates that. Instead, IT departments tear their projects apart into teeny components that can be implemented in tiny changes every day.

The last phrase is a key one. How to tear projects apart into teeny components to be implemented in tiny changes. It made me think about existing PLM implementation paradigm.  It heavily relies on long planning cycle and business department alignment. Once this planning made, implementation takes long time and put ROI in absolutely wrong place from what organizations are demanding it to be.

So, how PLM can adopt new way to do things? It requires 3 main changes – 1/ To change state of mind. Don’t think “one big implementation”. Opposite to that, think about small steps that will make business better, faster, efficient. 2/ To bring new PLM biz development tools that can help organizations to plan into small steps. 3/ To make PLM platform capable to function in Devops mode. It  requires new type of data modeling, deployment and monitoring tools.

More to come, but I think, Devops ideas can inspire and educate PLM developers to think differently. How to develop PLM practices in a different way. How to bring a new feature in a day and how to test changes for the next hour. These are questions PLM business consulting, developers and business consulting should ask about.

how-to-change-plm-paradigm-with-devops

To be continued during the week.

No conclusion yet. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Wirearchy picture credit.

 


Time off…

February 12, 2015

beyondplm-mountain

I will taking time off with family next week. It is hard to pull the plug and disconnect from “Beyond PLM” thoughts. So, occasional PLM thoughts can come. However, don’t expect me to keep up with daily pace of writing. I’m sure to share all my PLM thoughts with you when I back.

Yours, Oleg


Why existing standards can fail future PLM platforms?

February 12, 2015

slow-standards-plm

There is a growing number of discussions related to “platformization” in PLM. Few weeks ago I had a chance to read CIMdata’s article Platformization: The Next Step in PLM’s Evolution by Peter Bilello. It speaks about reliability of future PLM solutions:

Reliable solutions must be able to withstand multiple system upgrades and platform migrations. In turn, these robust solutions must be adaptable, maintainable, extensible, scalable, reconfigurable, compatible, and stable. And finally, these boundaryless solutions must be free of artificial limitations on functionality that are imposed by the marketplace segmentation of design and engineering systems with conventional architectures. Meeting these characteristics will be a tall order for many of today’s commercially available PLM solutions, but one that must be met for the future of PLM to be successful.

Few days ago, my attention was caught by the following article How will Platformization affect standards? by Denis Morais. I found connection between future platforms and standards interesting. Standard approach is one of the the dreams PLM industry is using to produce open, easy integrated PLM solutions. My favorite passage was related to standards slowness:

The major issue I currently see with standards is that they do not iterate very fast. There is technically no reason why they cannot iterate much faster but because there are “many cooks in the kitchen” it does seem to take longer than what is needed in today’s fast paced environment.

I want to connect these two messages – standard and platformization in an opposite way. Can future PLM platform leverage existing standards? One of the PLM platform challenges is to be free from artificial limitations driven by existing practices, slow changing standards and existing market segments and customers. After two decades of active PLM developments, there is a huge fragmentation in approaches, data management models, integrations and tools. PLM vendors made leap in their ability to come with flexible products that can be adapted for specific customer needs. At the same time, new manufacturing trends impose new set of challenges – growing complexity of relationships between engineering and manufacturing organizations; growing number of new type of manufacturing companies operating completely different from existing OEMs in terms of IP control, data management and collaboration; new computing infrastructure.

What is my conclusion? Standards have hard time to keep up with changes. One of the potential mistakes PLM vendors can make is to put heavy chunk of existing standards into a foundation of future PLM platforms. I guess some of industry pundits might disagree. But here is a point. In my view, most of existing PLM business practices were developed when a single manufacturing company and their processes was a dominant paradigm. It is going to change in the future. The change of focus from single company to a network of players forming new manufacturing eco-system is a huge change in terms of how PLM platform should behave. Old standards might not work for a new manufacturing world. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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