From PDM to PLM: Unify or Integrate?

Earlier, this year, I post a blog called – Integrated PDM and PLM: Wrong Question? In the beginning, this blog post was inspired by Jonathan Scott’s presentation on SolidWorks World 2011. Aras EPLM announcement last week, made me think a bit more about PDM / PLM trends. The idea of integrating PDM with PLM isn’t new and already had a chance to discuss it before. In some of my previous blogs, I discussed that PDM overall maturity was growing for the last 10 years as well as facts that confirming CAD /PDM software vendors will be searching how to boost their future activities based on existing PDM products. Navigate to the following blog – CAD, PDM and PLM diversity, CAD Data and PLM, Autodesk Vault: Enterprise PDM or PLM? A growing amount of conversations around PDM vs. PLM topics made me think about to possible trends in a future PDM to PLM conversation:

Unify PDM and PLM

This is a path that was taken by large CAD/PLM vendors. You can hear “unification talks” from all mindshare PLM companies – TeamCenter, Enovia V6,Windchill. The arguments used by these vendors are quite simple – let’s reduce the amount of systems, unify and centralize information and “life will be good”. These messages are certainly convincing. In the following video, you can listen to how TeamCenter chief – Steve Baschada is talking about PDM to PLM transition.

Keep PDM and Integrate PLM

This is an opposite approach. For many companies, PDM is a successful project. SolidWorks Enterprise PDM, Autodesk Vault, SolidEdge /TeamCenter Velocity. These are examples of successful PDM systems with proven records of deployments. What if we can take PDM “as is” and integrate PLM products on top of them. Aras presented a case with Aras EPLM. I believe Agile PLM, SAP PLM and some other vendors can think about such an approach. I can see “cloud products” can be proposed on top of existing “on premise” offerings. I remember, Arena Solution tried in the past to have such a type of “integrated offering”.

What is my conclusion? I think, these two trends are going to compete in a very near future. Unification as an old school of PLM will be mostly in a defense mode. Their expansion is limited by a significant cost of transition from existing (PDM) systems to unified new platforms. An alternative can be interesting, in my view. Aras is a first example. More to come. The opportunity here is to keep TCO lower. However, the danger of complex integration between PDM and PLM can make this “trick-or-treating” dangerous. Will Aras and followers are going to get more Halloween candies? I don’t know. Just my thougths… Next time I’m going to talk about PDM to PLM integration challenges.

Best, Oleg

2 Responses to From PDM to PLM: Unify or Integrate?

  1. Patrick says:

    Oleg, We have been seeing this trend grow for some time now with regards to PDM playing nice with PLM or ERP. The recent Aras PR is another example of this direction gaining further traction. TCO of ownership and maintaining the scope of the bridge between these systems is essential for long term acceptance & use.

    CAD Engineering Work in Progress is always best managed by the same vendors PDM system. These same PDM systems are far more capable than years before and are often compared to PLM. An area of development critical to the success of PDM working with PLM-ERP systems is in the interface (middleware)and improvements here have benefitted many customers.

    Accurate data from a CAD-PDM environment enabled to be populated into corporate PLM-ERP by design is a powerful cost effective solution for many companies.


  2. Patric, thanks for comments and your insight! You are right – CAD/PDM bundles became stronger for the last 4-5 years. If I follow your logic, Enterprise PDM will need to provide the universal gate for Enovia PLM (at the same level as for Aras PLM)? How it is aligned with future SolidWorks PLM products (announce in the past during SWW 2010)? Thanks, Oleg

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