Beyond PLM – Looking forward to 2012.

December 31, 2011

Time is running fast, and 2011 is behind us. It is a moment to take a look in the past, make conclusions and draw plans for 2012. I wanted to share some information about Beyond PLM and PLM Think Tanks from 2011, made my conclusions and share some ideas about my plans for 2012.

Beyond PLM 2011 in Numbers.

Here is the short net-net of Beyond PLM and PLM Think Tank overall performance in 2011. I posted 337 blog articles. I’ve got a total of about 240,000 page views, which came to an average of 640 page view daily.

2011 New Year Resolution: Planned vs. Actual

I published my New Year resolution in the beginning of 2011. I never did it before. Frankly, I almost forgot about that. That’s why it was very interesting to me to Google my historical post and share with you what I think about the performance. Navigate to the following link to see the old post from January 2011 .

1. Keep a controversial informative discussion about Engineering and Manufacturing software. I hope I did well with that by feeding you with topics to discuss. However, I’m really interested to hear your opinion. So, speak up and tell me what do you think.

2. Discover new trends and opportunities related to Product Lifecycle Management. If you ask me about trendy words in 2011, I’d clearly say it was about the cloud and mobile. A year ago, I posted – PLM Reset 2011. The topics I wrote about were – cloud, mobile, social and end of Microsoft’s dominance. Autodesk made a final accord in 2011 by introducing “cloud PLM” and I think the overall you’d agree that these 4 trends had a significant role in what we did in 2011.

3. Publish Beyond PLM think tank posts daily. I posted 337 posts during 2011, which can be calculated as an average of 6.48 posts per week. My usual commitment was to publish every working day, so I’m doing well with the number.

4. Develop 140-char message oriented discussion on Beyond PLM. I wanted to learn more how to use Twitter to improve conversation related to PLM Think Tank. I hope, I was doing well, especially during conferences. In general, I’m satisfied with my twitter performance. Sometimes it was hard to keep up with the speed. I hope to make it better next year.

5. Get at least 5 hours sleep regularly (this is probably won’t happen). Well, it was a complete failure. Beyond PLM as well as my new baby Inforbix asked for my special attention.

Beyond PLM in 2012

I wanted to share some of my plans for 2012. My vision is to continue providing you with the best place to discuss various topics about engineering and manufacturing software with a most focus on Product Lifecycle Management. At the same time, I’m looking forward to expanding range of topics from mostly technological to some special topics related to configuration management, product development processes and standards. Here are three projects I’m thinking about in 2012.

PLM Think Tank e-book. The number of posts and content is growing. It is hard even for me to remember the list of topics, discussions and materials. I’ll be publishing PLM Think Tank annual e-book. It will be available soon for free download on the blog website. Stay tuned.

Guest blogging. I want to expand blogging expertize and invite guest bloggers to Beyond PLM. I will be making blog design adjustment and hope to allow guest blogging in February-March 2012. Contact me if you have special interests – I want to discuss it more.

Website unification. I want finally to unify my blogging platforms. For the moment, I’m sharing content via my oldwebsite. If somebody had an experience in unification and merging of websites, I appreciate if you share it with me.

Advertising. I’m getting a significant amount of requests to allow advertizing on Beyond PLM. I didn’t make my final conclusion about that. My vision of Beyond PLM and PLM Think Tank was always to keep an absolutely vendor-neutral position, and I hope you acknowledge that. So, advertizing is an open ticket for me. I will decide later this year.

What is my conclusion? No conclusion. 2:30am in Boston. Time to think about tomorrow’s New Year party. I’m sure, some of my friends in Europe and Far East already making very close preparation to celebrate coming 2012. However, I still can catch some sleep. I wish you to enjoy the rest of your Holidays Break! I’m looking forward to talking to you about various topics beyond PLM in coming 2012.

Happy New Year!

PLM Cost and Enterprisey Clouds

December 30, 2011

PLM is a costly piece of software. Software licenses, installation, implementation, support, services. All these components of PLM software make the decision of manufacturing companies to adopt PLM software questionable. In the past, out-of-the-box solutions promised by software vendors claimed to decrease PLM software TCO. However, it was only a promise. These days "cloud" perceived as something that can make this change. If you listened to Autodesk Buzz Kross recently, you probably noticed the following passage from Autodesk Nexus 360 announcement:

"Our approach to PLM is a sharp contrast to the decades old technology in the market today," said Robert "Buzz" Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. "Autodesk 360 for PLM will enable customers of all sizes to achieve the full promise of PLM with a scalable, configurable and intuitive solution.

The following slide presented a month ago during AU 2011 shows that Autodesk approach is to provide much more affordable PLM solution.

Cloud and IT’s bluff

I was reading blog article by David Linthicum. One of the topics discussed there was related to efforts made by cloud providers to provide solutions acceptable by enterprise companies. The questions of security and data replications are probably on the top of the list by many providers. One of the solutions mentioned was Google’s high availability data replication (so-called high-Replication Datastore). At the same time, according to David, introducing multiple "enterprisey" features can remove a potential to provide affordable enterprise-cloud solutions. Here is the passage:

The problem I have with this process is that much of what’s valuable in the world of cloud computing is the simplicity and cost advantage — which is quickly going away as cloud providers pile on features. The good news is that enterprises won’t have an excuse not to move to cloud computing, and adoption will accelerate in 2012 and 2013. However, as cloud offerings appear to be more and more like enterprise software, the core cost advantage of cloud computing could be eroding.

What is my conclusion? The key to make cloud solution cost effective is to keep the right balance between enterprise IT requirements and capabilities of cloud-based software. Some of these "enterprisey" cloud requirements are reasonable, and some of them are typical "red-herring". We are going to watch the process of balance finding in the next few years. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image: scottchan /

PLM and Multiplatform Development

December 28, 2011

Please welcome a new-old word – multiplatform. When did you hear about for the last time? For those of you counting 15+ years in the industry it reminds the time CAD was a place of heavy workstation with ***NIX operation systems, etc. For a very long period of time, CAD and PLM were a place where 99% of software was developed on top of Microsoft platforms. I touched this topic in my blog almost a year ago. Navigate to this link to refresh your memories. So, I decided to come again to this topic.

The diversity of software-development platforms for engineering and manufacturing these days is much broader than 2-3 years ago. Apple, Table, Android, iPad – all these names came to the play recently and changed the landscape of what we do. Take a look on the following chart I made playing with these names on Google Trends:

PLM – Legacy and Integration Services

These two topics become even more important in the context of multiple platforms and enterprise software (PLM is a typial use case). Existing implementations need to be support. Service companies and IT will make implementation and develop new solutions based on the software provided by vendors. This is a very complicated set of dependencies.

What is my conclusion? I think, world changed again, and we are moving from mono-development culture to multiple platforms again. It raises multiple decision points in front of software vendors and service providers. It looks like coming years will provide a bigger challenge to these companies to make a right choice about how to balance between legacy and future, existing platforms and future trends. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

PLM Cloud: differentiation or “anti-cloud rant”?

December 22, 2011

After my publication PLM, Autodesk and Cloud Wars Club few days ago, I received few comments from my readers trying to figure out what is PLM vendors’ position with regards to the cloud. One of them, even tried to rank PLM companies on how they committed (or not) to the future of cloud computing. The funniest comment was by Jonathan Scott of Razorleaf – "I am waiting for someone at Siemens or PTC to come out with the "anti-Cloud rant" much like Carl Bass’ "anti-PLM" rant". About a year ago, I was writing about PLM vendors and cloud strategies. You can navigate to the followinglink to read my post from the last year. I think, some movements happened since that time, so I decided to make a second check on major PLM vendors about what they do on the cloud.

I’ve been reading an interesting article earlier this week. The Cloud: Worrying about the wrong things? written by Peter Bilello of CIMData. Peter is talking about different elements of cloud strategies and PLM. It is a good read, and I recommend you to spend few minutes and have a read. My favorite passage is about security, which is considered one of the biggest concerns of cloud software. Here is the quote:

IT chiefs in both the private and public sectors and some Internet industry analysts may be overly concerned about security. Worrisome Internet security breaches, though rare, are widely reported. By law, banks, credit card companies, and other online repositories of financial and personal data must report breaches. Two big outages were front-page news in April 2011: Amazon Web Service’s Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2) was down for a couple of days. Sony’s PlayStation Network was out for five weeks…. Amazon put its EC2 data loss at 0.07—seven-hundredths—of one percent. Some perspective: information online expands exponentially while the number of digital break-ins grows far more slowly. Adding in less nefarious security lapses, system errors, and human error still does not boost these problems out of the rare category

Another interesting passage about security is coming from Rackspace:

“Security is security, in the cloud or anywhere else,” according to Web hosting company Rackspace US Inc. in San Antonio, Texas. In a 2011 white paper titled, Five Reasons Why the Cloud is Ready for the Enterprise, Rackspace points out, “The same security issues apply to an enterprise data center or on-premise application as to the cloud. Everyone must be vigilant about security, no matter where their data is stored.”


It is clear, Autodesk is taking the cloud story as a major differentiation. As I mentioned yesterday in my post, Autodesk sees themselves "Cloud PLM" similar to how can be recognized as "Cloud CRM". Autodesk introduced multiple products on the cloud. Their latest Autodesk Nexus PLM 360 supposed to be available somewhere between Q1 and Q2 next year. Here is Buzz Kross quote from Nexus PLM announcement last month:

"Our approach to PLM is a sharp contrast to the decades old technology in the market today," said Robert "Buzz" Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. "Autodesk 360 for PLM will enable customers of all sizes to achieve the full promise of PLM with a scalable, configurable and intuitive solution. We believe it will help our customers achieve a measurable competitive advantage through better, more accessible collaboration and business information management."

Dassault System

DS is passionate about their cloud online platform. I’ve been reviewing what DS is doing about that during Dassault customer conference (DSCC 2011) last months in Las-Vegas. Enovia V6 is a power horse behind Dassault cloud story. Read my post from DSCC 2011 by navigating on this link. Here is the quote:

Dassault is presenting ENOVIA V6 as a big deal, the only one “unique online cloud platform”. In the first day, Bernard Charles shared the information about $2B investment into R&D effort that “converge” with all technologies under a single platform available on the cloud.

Siemens PLM

Siemens is providing a very modest cloud story. As a year ago, I wasn’t able to find many references on what is Siemens PLM cloud strategy. Few announcements and press releases I found pointing on the work Siemens PLM is doing with Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Navigate to the following Siemens’ press release – Siemens PLM Software to Create Industry’s First Quality Management Solution "in the Cloud". Here is the quote. Siemens

announced a joint project with Microsoft Corporation to create the PLM industry’s first cloud computing-based quality management solution. The solution will utilize Microsoft Windows Azure™ platform cloud computing services to securely run Siemens PLM Software’s Dimensional Planning and Validation (DPV) application, showing how cloud computing can enable a world-class quality management application to be cost effectively accessed and leveraged on an as-needed basis.


From my standpoint, PTC is probably less than other PLM vendors is focusing on how the cloud reshapes PLM industry. PTC was one of the first pioneering Whidchill availability as a hosted solution via IBM. However, besides that, I haven’t seen anything about future cloud product coming from PTC. Interesting enough, I was listening for Jim Heppelmann during Creo launch event in the beginning of 2011. According to this article, here is PTC’s opinion about cloud and other PLM vendors.

While Autodesk and Dassault Systemes appear to be running headlong into developing cloud-based applications, my recent conversations with PTC representatives indicated that, as customers were not asking for it and the benefits were not clear, PTC was not heading to the cloud anytime soon. Given the error in underestimating the move to Windows, I asked Heppelmann for his view of CAD on the cloud.

Here is the passage from Jim’s quote provided in the interview to Develop3D journal:

“So, we identified these key problems and then if I say, well which of those problems does the cloud solve? It doesn’t actually solve any of those problems! It solves some other problems – perhaps ease of installation, perhaps cost of ownership, things like that. But I’m not sure those are the key problems. So we’re not pro-cloud or anti-cloud, we’re just trying to solve what we see as the biggest problems, and we don’t see solutions to these biggest problems being in any magical way enabled by cloud technology.

What is my conclusion? Here is my summary about how leading CAD/PLM companies see their cloud strategies. Autodesk is the only one that built on top of the cloud as a differentiation factor. Dassault announced Enovia V6 platform as a true cloud online platform. Despite the fact Enovia platform has deep roots in Matrix One technology developed in the end of 90s, I believe DS invested a lot of resources to re-shape MatrixOne technologies. TeamCenter shows some interesting and trying cloud water with research projects. PTC is strongly neutral the cloud. As you can see all are different. It will be interesting to see how these strategies are evolving and adopted by customers. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

PLM, ECO and Cost of Change

December 21, 2011

Cost is an important topic. Period. Everybody agrees with this statement. I can even say many companies investing a lot in their ability to calculate and predict the cost of product. Compared to that, cost of change is much less exposed. However, cost of change can be even more destructive for the overall cost of the product you manufacturing and the business. Recently, I’ve been spending some time analyzing how companies are managing changes and how PLM systems are supporting them. I decided to put some thoughts about change management and cost calculation.

Cost Standard and processes

There are several policies or standards you want to have in your company when it comes to cost management and change processes. Change cost policy – usually specify the changes that required cost calculation (or not) and company payback period. Cost calculation document. You want to have it in the way that allows you to follow up it from the historical perspective as well as an instruction how to do so. The important question of every PLM implementation is how you are able to automate cost of change calculation and embed it in the overall change process.

Is there something you can call "average cost of change"?

The perception of people in any company is that cost is expensive thing to have. At the same time, it is hard to come with a range of how much an average change cost. $1K-5K is a range you might be hearing. But it is too broad. Another point of confusion is to conclusion out is included in this cost – engineering services, labor, equipment, etc.

Cost Calculation Classification

I can classify all changes into four groups: cost reduction, product maturity, product development, others. Depends on what type of change you are estimating, actually change cost calculation can be different. If you estimating change that marked to save cost or time, you absolutely need to calculate the cost. However, if you making a change that related to product maturity, you probably can skip some cost of change calculation. Taking right assumption can significantly improve the speed of change processes, which is an essential part of every manufacturing organization.

What is my conclusion? Change management is one of the most complicated discipline in product development lifecycle. To measure it right and tack the history and metrics of changes together with cost calculation is tricky and very important. I haven’t seen ready out of the box implementations that can do so. Main reason – system customization is complicated to have all information in PLM system. Sometime, if cost calculation is complicated, you can calculate profit erosion. What is your practice and experience? Speak your mind, please. Do you have any examples you can share?

Best, Oleg

Image: jannoon028 /

PLM, Autodesk and Cloud Wars Club?

December 19, 2011

Companies are looking for differentiation in the way they are making business. PLM companies are not different. Dassault, PTC, Siemens PLM, Aras, etc. Nobody wants to sell "me too" cocktail nowadays. With the last Autodesk PLM announcement, it became clear that Autodesk is targeting a "cloud PLM" place. During the recent AU 2011 conference in Las Vegas, Carl Bass, Autodesk CEO, made it very clear that Autodesk wants to accomplish the following triad – Cloud ERP, Cloud CRM, Cloud PLM.

I was reading Michael Fauscette blog article – The Cloud Wars -2012. I found it interesting. Take a moment of time during the next week holiday slowdown and have a read. Make your conclusion. The names of companies on the list were quite predictable – Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, IBM, Microsoft, Google, Workday, Facebook. I especially liked the part related to in the list. Salesforce clearly having an ambition to come with strong enterprise solution and growing in multiple directions via acquisitions and partnership. Few months ago, during the Dreamforce 2011 event, I came across an interesting presentation made by Kennady – manufacturing solution built purely on top of platform.

The cloud wars -2012 article and Autodesk cloud ambitions made me think about some potential in dynamics between Autodesk PLM platform and other "big cloud" players. Autodesk didn’t announce about what technology is running behind Nexus PLM. Amazon was mentioned, but it doesn’t mean anything about Autodesk cloud PLM platform. Another interesting Autodesk innovation is to integrate on premise Autodesk PDM (Vault) with future cloud solution – Autodesk Nexus.

What is my conclusion? Cloud competition becomes interesting in manufacturing. It is still far away from Google vs. Facebook clashes. However, who knows what we are going to see in 2-3 years from now? Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

How Do You Know Your PLM Project is in Trouble?

December 19, 2011

Blogosphere and other literature are full of remarks about companies that stuck in different phases of PLM process. You probably had a chance to read Aras’ Frustrated by a stuck PLM project? blog post last year. Recent Autodesk announcement of Nexus PLM raised again many publications about the complexity and sophistication of existing PLM implementations. While time will show if Autodesk cloud PLM technologies will be able to reduce the complexity of PLM implementations, I’ve been thinking about how you can today to identify your own PLM project (if you are running one already) is in trouble.

I had a chance to read infoworld article earlier this week – Six lessons from lightning ERP rollout. Have a read and make your opinion. I especially like the following passage from the beginning:

Here’s something you don’t hear everyday: "Our SAP implementation finished ahead of schedule. Sorry, let me rephrase that. Hearing about an SAP implementation that finished ahead of schedule is like hearing that someone captured the Loch Ness Monster and turned it into a kiddie ride. It’s as likely as Bigfoot singing "La Traviata" at Lincoln Center. It’s as if you called a software company’s tech support line and the voice on the other end didn’t insist you reboot your PC.

This article made me think (again and again) about how you need to plan your PLM implementations. Here is my top 5 symptoms you should be careful about. When you discover them, you better check what you do with your PLM project:

1. You cannot control your PLM project budget. As R&D, you know that "shit happens" all the time. However, be aware – the achievements of your PLM system will be significantly diminished when you overspend 200-300%.

2. Engineers and other people in your company work around PLM system. This is should be a "red-flag" for you. If people think the system doesn’t work (or way too complex), check your fasten belt and run fast to understand what is the core reason for that.

3. The infrastructure becomes more and more complicated. You need more databases, storage, CPU, etc.You are probably familiar with that – after first pilot, the system requirements are growing. Watch carefully the fist production data load. Your bill of materials, check-in/out operations and some other elements are sensitive and your can run out of budget fast.

4. Vendor is pushing you towards the next release of their flagship product. This is another "red-flag". Normally, it means something was over-promised by sales fellows. Watch this moment as well.

5. You start hearing that you will be able to take a full advantage of your PLM system when you completely integrate it with your ERP (and other systems) as well as migrate to another CAD system. This is, actually, the right time to stop and re-think what you do. The best talk with somebody who is not involved in the business of PLM vendors.

What is my conclusion? Looking up on what I wrote, I found symptoms that probably will be true not only for PLM, but for a broader range of enterprise software. However, as you probably know, in PLM and enterprise, one size doesn’t fit all. You need to have a diversity of knowledge and experience to make thing work. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

picture courtesy digitalart /


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