PLM Platform Wars: Who is Right or Who is Left?

CAD and PLM world is extremely competitive. The decision process in the manufacturing industry is not fast. Companies are spending significant budgets evaluating tools, benchmarking, comparing and, in the end of this process, supposed to make a right decision about what tools to use. During the last couple of months, I observed a growing amount of announcements made by PLM companies informing about "yet another major company" making a right choice by selecting a CAD or PLM system from a specific vendor.

Just few examples from Joe Brakai’s article: Industry on the Move — The Quest for Effective Global Product Lifecycle Management. PTC announcement about Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation (HKMC) about selection of PTC’sWindchill as its enterprise PLM software. Siemens PLM Software announced that Aston Martin is selecting the Siemens’NX CAD software for design and engineering, and Teamcenter PLM software to manage product and process information. Two months before, Daimler AG, selected NX as a corporate CAD Software standard. Earlier, Chryslerselected Teamcenter as its corporate-wide PLM software. Two months before, Volvo Group has adopted PTC’s Windchill. Here is my favorite passage from Joe’s article:

OEMs are realizing that the traditional heterogeneous and fragmented product lifecycle management environment, even when compromised of excellent tools, is unable to provide the level of visibility, manageability, and fidelity of decision-making required, and are taking steps to migrate to a design and manufacturing environment capable of supporting a global platform strategy. This environment must be standard-based and open in order to facilitate a single source of all data for design, manufacturing and supply chain processes across vehicle design and manufacturing programs.

Another interesting publication is Automotive Sector Ground Zero for PLM Battles by Beth Stackpole of Design News. Beth is discussing the same announcements made by PLM and major automotive vendors. However, I found the following passage interesting.

The automotive sector, which has a deep roots in evolving PLM software and practices, is shaping up as a fresh battleground for the major vendors in this category with all touting recent customer wins that play up their strengths and cement their positions as core development platforms for next-generation vehicles.

My best read about PLM movement in the automotive world is Al Dean’s article in Develop 3D – All Change in the Automotive World. I recommend you to have a read. Some of final Al’s thoughts struck me to think about V6 innovation.

There have been three pretty big moves away from Dassault or a decision to not take on Enovia during benchmarks. With a two year benchmark cycle being common, one has to wonder if there’s a link back to the launch of V6? A curious thing indeed.

In my view, V6 created disruption, innovation and challenge at the same time. The bundling of CATIA into Enovia V6 is creating a lot of possibilities that never been available before from the standpoint of collaborative design and data management. Initial introduction of the systems raised a lot of IT questions that need to be resolved.

What is my conclusion? I wanted to remind wise and relevant words of Bertrand Russell: “War does not determine who is right – only who is left”. The war between PLM platforms can become a disaster for customers. Customers are spending million of dollars investing money in "unbreakable closed platforms". Each of these systems contains lots of data, which has much bigger value compared to the software that eventually will be re-written every 5-10 years. I think, openness wins for a long run. In my view, PLM companies are only playing with openness. Who will take it seriously first? This might be a company that is left after the battle? Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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2 Responses to PLM Platform Wars: Who is Right or Who is Left?

  1. Schuber Christophe says:

    Hi Oleg, deep thoughts, I tend to agree. I would be interested to hear you about what kind of openess you are expecting and if you believe that PLCS could be a solution.

  2. Christophe, Thanks for the comment! I can see multiple level of openness. It can be purely technological (API, protocols, standards) and also data oriented. PLCS fits the second one. The interesting aspect of PLCS is the attempt to create a standard framework. I’m not a huge fan of top down standards. Standards are hard, expensive and time consuming. Even so, PLCS is definitely an attempt to learn the “standard way”. Just my thoughts… Best, Oleg

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