PLM and BIM Interplay in Enterprise Data

Interesting news drove my attention yesterday. Bentley System made an acquisition of the company called Enterprise Informatics. When I was reading press release, my guess was that Bentley decided to expand their capabilities in data management. Especially, this expansion can be very interesting when working in construction and power process industry for asset management. So, that was the exact target for acquisition.
Bentley Systems, Incorporated, the leading company dedicated to providing comprehensive software solutions for the infrastructure that sustains our world, today announced that it has acquired Enterprise Informatics, Incorporated (www.enterpriseinformatics.com) and Exor Corporation (www.exorcorp.com). The Enterprise Informatics eB Insight software provides configuration and change management capabilities for mission-critical infrastructure asset operations for the energy, nuclear, rail, and government sectors.

I think, this is an interesting move.We are starting to see potential convergence of two initially separate segments – PLM and BIM. Each of them has different origins. PLM started in the large aerospace and defense companies. BIM came from need to manage complex construction processes. However, my hunch was that both need to use very similar underlined data management technologies. First, I wrote about that last year in my post – PLM and BIM: Common Roots or Common Future.

Looking on eB product from Enterprise Informatics, I figured out a significant similarity with core concepts between what was called Information Models for Enterprise and Product Lifecycle Business Processes. The marketing slogans are different. However, data management, change management, process orchestration are very similar. I put few slides from eB presentation (you can watch 5-minutes video on this link).

So, what is my conclusion? This is a very interesting potential interplay between construction industry and traditional PLM implementations. Technologies used on both sides are very similar.  My assumption back that time was that PLM and BIM will come to the certain point of commonality in their ability to manage complex data models, changes and processes. And this is what happens now. I’d expect potential movement from both PLM and BIM towards interesting projects in industries where they have no sole proprietary ownership as leading solution providers.

Just my thoughts…
Best, Oleg

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5 Responses to PLM and BIM Interplay in Enterprise Data

  1. Stan Przybylinski says:

    In some ways, BIM is more complicated than PDM/PLM, in that the business relationships can be more dynamic. While supply chains in PLM can be complex, they are more or less static. You have approved suppliers that you use time and time again.

    For BIM, that is mostly true, but the supply chains are more fluid and depend on more factors. (This is near and dear to my heart, as such “temporary organizations” were part of my never-finished PhD dissertation.) Construction is more like the movie business: talented professionals are drawn from pools of possible subcontractors, come together on a project basis, and may never work together again.

    This has implications for access control, of course, but also for work process definition and execution. In PLM we try to deal with that through specifications and, increasingly, requirements management and systems engineering. BIM and the “PLM-related” practices seem to be 10 years or so behind PLM as we know it. Of course, in some areas, they are as more advanced (like analysis in civil engineering). But as we have seen in many domains, solving new problems without precedent can defy attempts at analysis a priori.

    In some aspects of product development and supply chain, people have tried to define standard processes and data specifications (RosettaNet comes to mind). Professional organizations and standards bodies are trying to do the same here (like NIST and ISO). Let’s hope they can keep up with the state of the practice, and not end up with a least common denominator solution like we have seen with STEP and other efforts.

  2. Stan, you are right. Characteristics of business processes in construction and manufacturing (these are two typical cases of PLM and BIM) are different. And the root cause of this differentiation is the organization type. The supply chain has stronger relationships in comparison to construction. However, the core nature of enterprise data is very similar. Therefore, my prediction about the future of technologies on both sides is convergence. I’d say standards were more successful on BIM side because companies had weak relations, and they used standards to keep communication easier. This is, btw, also true for Rosetta.Net Thanks for your comment! Best, Oleg

  3. Frederic Herbere says:

    FYI
    a web based technology linked to application from Meridian is going in the direction of PLM/BIM, it’s call “Glue Server” from Horizontal LLC. It’s an interesting move into the right direction for the AEC industry.
    What about DS City Life 2.0???

  4. Frederic, Thanks for your comment and link to Glue Server. I found it interesting. In my view, it is very compelling to PLM principles developed for Aero/Auto/Defense industry. My observation is that such BIM implementation can leverage BIM related standard for modeling. However, the interesting question, in my view, is to understand if “a singularity” or so called single data model can be an option BIM will be able to support business requirements. In PLM implementation, the most critical part is to have all parties in the organization to agree on the model, processes, etc. It takes a lot of time and effort. How do you see it work in BIM? Regards, Oleg

  5. [...] greener on the other side of the fence”. With past acquisitions made by Bentley and their interplay in enterprise data, thrilling future of SolidWorks presented by SolidSmack, we can get up one day in the consolidated [...]

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