PLM Prompt: Google Image Recognition and Technical Documentation in PLM

August 31, 2009

Interesting prompt today came out of Google’s US7,580,568 “Methods and Systems for Identifying an Image as a Representative Image for an Article”. Thanks, Steven Arnold for his blog post and Overflight service. Google’s patent gave me context to think about existing product IP in the organizations and this is related to Image recognition technologies. PLM technologies are moving forward, but even if everybody will move to full 3D since tomorrow (which is not going to happen), organizations have lots of 2D data. To find good technology to convert this 2D data to something available can be a big deal in my view.

Just my thoughts… Best, Oleg


PLM Prompt: Cloud – Is it the last file storage for CAD?

August 31, 2009

Picture 2I’ve been reading blog post by Deelip related CATIA and SolidWorks and thought what can be the final solution for CAD files, problem we are discussing for the last 20-25 years. With everything around moving to cloud, if we can allow to access your data at any time from any location, do you think cloud will become final storage for CAD data? Place you don’t need to import and export anymore, but just use it.

I’m going to think about more and come with more detailed discussion related to technologies that can be used to move CAD data on cloud. But for the moment, just asking your opinion about this option.

Best, Oleg


How PLM can be more consumer oriented?

August 31, 2009

Picture 1I want to talk today about PLM and consumers. One of the very important sides of Product Lifecycle Management is the potential ability to connect dots between manufacturing and their customers. So, manufacturers-consumers link, this is what I want to talk about. I know professor in the university, who is saying – “The only necessary and sufficient condition for a business is customers”. This is something we need to keep in mind. So, how it can be related to PLM?

In today’s business time, PLM will be struggling to show how their systems can help OEMs to stay connected with customers. With a huge focus around collaboration, 3D, process management, I think this is weak part of PLM chain, and we need to think how to improve it. I want to figure out few principles that, in my view can help to form successful PLM implementation in this space.

I see the following reasons why PLM not involved enough into consumer related process:

1. Significant focus on Engineering work. Since PLM, historically came from CAD and Engineering domain, many of today’s product continue to be heavy involved into “an internal engineering world”. This focus, keeps PLM out of new technologies and practice of the outside world. PLM has a very slow ability to adopt change, inherited from Engineering Application World. And this is preventing PLM from the ability to oversight external world.

2. Close World Modeling Assumption. This is an assumption that everything should be modeled for engineering processes and application. When, in general, alignment is a good thing, in this context it creates the barrier between PLM Engineering practices and outside systems (CRM, but not only) that in the end preventing PLM from adopt a processes and information stream coming from outside.

3. Disconnection from consumer-oriented products.
Starting from CRM applications and ending with games and social networks. PLM just starting their journey in this area. PLM need to go faster to close the gap. Also, PLM has a perception of “secretive products” that not populate content propagation outside of PLM application boundaries.

So, what is possible to do in my view? I think, in general, PLM move to “social” tools and software is very positive to achieve also this goal. Enabling social aspects and openness, definitely will improve PLM ability to be “connected with the world”. At the same time, close focus on management of engineering IP needs to be expanded to how allow this IP to be delivered outside of Engineering organization – to company users, customers, partners etc. This is #1 priority in my view. Another important step is to make PLM products more flexible and adaptable for change. Opposite to engineering processes that can be well defined and agreed inside of organization, communication with potential customers and consumer’s community requires great deal of openness. You won’t be able your potential customer to work in very pre-defined frameworks and processes. Ability to capture non-formal feedback coming from everyplace, do it pro-actively and smart – this is #2 task for PLM to become consumer oriented. And finally, what tools and technologies PLM could develop to achieve it. My recommendation is to focus on content delivery. Today, this function is weak. You can hardly take your product in the intermediate steps of development and be able to share it with your potential customers. So, to unlock content is #3 in my dream least.

So, 1-go out of engineering; 2-accept not formal information stream from outside; 3- focus on content availability. This is my silver bullet for PLM to move forward greater consumer acceptance.

What is your experience in this field? Do you have such problems in your organization? I’d be have to discuss and hear your opinion.
Best, Oleg


PLM Prompt: Blind Vote for… PLM?

August 30, 2009

Short note this Sunday. Take a look on a very interesting blind test site comparing different search engines – Bing vs. Google vs. Yahoo. Ah… why customers cannot do the same test for PLM systems before they buy it? So, I test comparison with “PLM Blog” search results. You are welcome to play it too.

blind-vote-for-plm

Have a good new week! Best, Oleg


PLM Prompt: PLM and the rise of Business Process Management

August 29, 2009

bpm-rise-and-plmI was reading Gartner research showing that BPM (Business Process Management) is rising despite the turbulent time and bad financial situation.

“Gartner Survey Shows More Than Half ofRespondents Plan to Increase Spending on BPM by More Than 5 Percent inNext 12 Months. Most business process management (BPM) practitioners expect their organizations to increase their spending on BPM by at least 5 percent over the next 12 months, according to recent surveys by Gartner, Inc. Despite economic turbulence, more than half of those surveyed plan to increase their spending on BPM efforts by more than 5 percent, and over a third of respondents plan to increase BPM spending by more than 10 percent”.

I found it as a significant danger for Product Lifecycle Management. PLM is trying to grow outside of engineering domains and focus on global enterprise process and collaboration. This is exact place where PLM can meet BPM vendors… So 10% BPM growth can be projected on potential $$$ loses of enterprise PLM vendors.

Just my thoughts, Good weekend! Oleg.


PLM Prompt: GoogleWave, ShareFlow, Vuuch… who is next to kill mail?

August 28, 2009

Another prompt today. Reading the following  article “Will Social Media kill email?”. What I see is an examples of companies in different ways are trying to to position themselves as a successor of our good friend - email. I think the mail paradigm is very powerful. Mail will continue in the way it does for the last 10 years. What need to be improved is usability of client application such as work with email threads and search. I think latest Gmail features are very impressive.

PDM/PLM software in many cases requires integration with mail instead of workflow messaging. With powerful mail add-ins mail can be successfully used to manage communication between people in the context of enterprise systems. The single replacement for mail is… another mail.

My view, YMMV. Best, Oleg.


PLM Prompt: Why Excel is not Enterprise System yet?

August 28, 2009

I was reading the following article “Why Excel is not Enterprise BI Solution Yet. What I liked is the way author presented the anti-Excel case in BI. I thought, this is very co-sounded with my Excel-PLM discussions. Everybody like Excel, but Excel have hidden cost and complexity you won’t be able to manage.

What is my conclusion? There are two possible ways:

1. To transform Excel into Enterprise Platform. Microsoft is trying to do so by introducing Excel Services and marriage of Excel and SharePoint.
2. To think about how to improve usability of enterprise solutions.

Just my thoughts… Best, Oleg


The Sink Hole of PLM Implementations?

August 28, 2009

unplanned-cost-roiThinking more about PLM implementation during last few days, I’d like to come and discuss few aspects of PLM implementation cost. Everything looks nice in the beginning of the PLM journey. Single point of truth, collaborative environment, business processes, support of the multiple integrated design environment. The sharp pencil of PLM strategy shows impressive ROI from PLM implementation. The question I want to come with is to analyze what is the potential source of unplanned PLM cost.

I see three core sources of unplanned PLM costs. Let’s talk about them in details.

1. Integration Cost in a diverse enterprise environment. It’s almost impossible to bring PLM solution in empty space. Normally, PLM comes to the organization already having some design and manufacturing environment.In some cases PLM strategy created for companies and organization having acquisition history and previous CAD/PDM/PLM/ERP implementations. PLM is naturally positioned as a mediator in business processes between existing design, manufacturing, supply chain, marketing and sales environments. Because of that integration of PLM into this environment is absolutely a requirement, but at the same time very underestimated by vendors and service providers. Addition unplanned cost came as a result of longer integration processes or unplanned works that need to be done to acquire data or integration functions.

2. Support of new PLM environments and versions. PLM implementation is spanning on a significant time frame. When working with multiple CAD/PDM/PLM software, coming from different vendors the new version can come with overlap to the PLM implementation or very soon after implementation release. To support new and updated software can be a second important source of waste and unplanned maintenance cost of PLM.

3. Implementation Change Cost. Business becomes very dynamic these days. “Build to change”- this is how modern business systems need to be created, in my view. Unfortunately, I don’t see many of today’s PLM software packages answer these needs. Adjustments and changes in PLM implementation are a third big danger for additional PLM implementation cost.So, far these are my top 3 sources of unplanned PLM cost? How do you see it? Have you had chance to experience something similar in your PLM projects?

Best, Oleg


Who owns PLM implementation project?

August 27, 2009

plm-implementation-ownershipI’m coming with new discussion related to how we can successfully implement Product Lifecycle Management. I think, this issue is as important as to have good PLM technologies and ready to use functions in a product.

However, I see PLM-related implementation project uniqueness in the following factors:

1. Cross Functional. Large diversity of people and process involved into implementation. Traditionally PLM-related activity is spanning across multiple domains in organization, which position PLM influences a significant range of operational activities.

2. R&D involved. PLM is heavy impacted by R&D and Engineering activity of organization. Engineering and Product development work is unique in the way people see how they work and from a standpoint how they want to see computer systems manage their work.

3. Tools. Large diversity of software tools and providers involved. In very rare situation company uses single vendor solution for their development practices. The reasons are many - historical, product development needs, acquisitions and mergers etc. As a result corporate IT zoo for PLM implementation may be easy include several dozens of tools and components.

With this specifics how I can see a possible PLM implementation project from ownerships standpoint.

1. Corporate Ownership. The corporate ownership absolutely must have successful PLM implementations. The leader of PLM implementation should have enough power, leadership and knowledge to harmonize diverse number of stakeholders involved into implementation.

2. Service Provider Ownership.
This is very typical situation for most of PLM implementation. Additional company (in many cases can represent major vendor for this customer), is taking overall responsibilities about implementation. Were advantages are clear, the disadvantages are practically the same - lock and high dependence on such service provider, ability of service provider to work with a significant number of player in the same organization in parallel.

3. PLM Consultancy. There is situation when company decided to hire PLM consultant for planning and leading of PLM implementation. This PLM consultant needs to work with corp. resources and diverse teams to lead them toward PLM implementation. Such PLM consultant can also cooperate with Service Providers to do some additional work.

What is my conclusion so far? To have strong PLM project ownership and leadership is absolutely needed to PLM implementation. There is no single recipe how to implement PLM, company needs to work on their own plan and vision for PLM implementation. Diversity of vendors and tools provide an additional complexity in PLM implementations.

These are my thoughts…What do you think about that?

Best, Oleg.


Top annoying things about PLM software.

August 26, 2009

PLM as a combination of technologies, software, and methodology came long way from initial CAD systems, followed by CAE, Product Data Management and Collaboration Software. Some of the PLM-software components are very mature, but some of them are still in the early beginning. While we’ve innovated in many PLM products and technologies, we’ve also continued to disregard pre-existing PLM issues.

Here my list about top annoying things in PLM with no specific order, however, I do believe I started with the most significant ones.

PLM Implementation Scope. PLM software pretends on overall control of product IP and data. By saying that PLM companies, in my view, try to boil an ocean and claim to support unlimited capabilities in management of information and business processes around product development and manufacturing. Multiplied by marketing and sales, PLM creates perception of “do everything” software.

PLM Uniqueness. Ability to support a design process, manage product data and collaboration presented as unique capability of PLM software. Such position creates perception of premium value provided by PLM software and, very often, disregards other available alternatives in managing data and collaboration.

PLM Complexity. I have to admit - product engineering and manufacturing are not a simple topic. To manage such processes and data, software needs to achieve a specific level of sophistication and complexity. However, in my view, PLM often exaggerated needed a complexity level and sophistication. In the end complexity creates a significant adoption rate problem. These time people like simple words and simple software.

Terminology. PLM domain created huge terminological barrier for people to get into this space. Number of multiple buzzwords and terms create difficulties to understand business purpose and capabilities of software. Heavy usage of overlapping and confusing terminology put a very significant constraint on ability to use software and tools that come from different software vendors.

Bizarre User Interface. Because of a long life cycle of a software product, user interface is something that was development during many years and contain multiple “historical reasons”. Even if during last few years, user experience was priorities by most software vendors in PLM space, this is still pace requirement multiple improvement and innovation.

Slooooow…. After all, performance isstill one ofthe most discussed issue software vendors isfocusing on. Refresh time, Render Time, regeneration, display, view etc. All these functions are very time consuming and contains space for innovation.

Best, Oleg


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