PLM for Individuals – Integrate or Die?

January 26, 2010

I had chance to read CIMData paper figured out interesting facts related to the future trajectory of Autodesk as a PLM provider. You can read the paper on this link (Note, you need to be registered on CIMData site, but registration is free). In this paper, CIMData explains their vision on how they see Autodesk is going to transform from the vendor providing mostly tools used in many departments into an organization into something that allows to CIMData to include Autodesk into line of what they called “PLM mind share leaders”. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts on this topic as well as dreams about possible future trajectories of something I called – PLM for Individuals.

Autodesk and PLM
My pre-assumption for many years was that Autodesk is distant from association of their products with PLM acronym. At the same time, many of their tools used to build PLM strategy for many customers in the world. During all that time, I think, the question of Autodesk association with PLM was just about marketing. Autodesk successfully positioned themselves as a provider of tools and even put it as a differentiations of their strategy. You can take a look on the famous Carl Bass anti-PLM rap.  So, what is going on now? Some undergoing processes are convincing Autodesk to change their state of mind as a provider of tools towards something different. So, what happened?

Facebook, Connected World and File-based collaboration.
For many years, the ultimate mechanism to connect people was… “the file”. In the past, people in the organizations were able to exchange files for different purposes of design, planning, manufacturing. Availability of email with growing capacity of attachments just pushed forward need for more advanced collaborative solutions. So, Autodesk, successfully continue to run file-oriented-tool-focused business. There is no worry at all. However, change came from the outside. Huge adoption of internet in consumer space and, finally, social networks ended up successful ‘file-based” collaboration story. The same individuals in the organization that were perfectly happy with communication using files said – why life is so good in Facebook and bad on my working desk? Why should I stack with Outlook sending big attachments or uploading to the ftp site, when I can share on Facebook and/or other places?

PLM Alternative?
Personally, I don’t see Autodesk is jumping in the existing PLM runaway. On the bright side of PLM, today, is understanding of problem and companies’ need to build a framework or platforms that allow them to run product development, manufacturing. PLM supposed to connect all product-related dots in the enterprise. Autodesk is not there and, at the time that PLM buzz is moving to PLM 2.0, there is no need to join PLM club…

PLM for Individuals and Integrated World
So, what is the alternative? In the world that moving into the direction of social connection, I’d expect Autodesk to use “social integration” as a primary driver for integration of their tools inside and outside of the organizations. Connections between people can be much stronger than the “single data model” promoted by mind-share PLM vendors. Autodesk definitely can take their chance to outperform social innovation and social product development proposed by PLM vendors because of their agility.

Integrate or Die?
In my view, internet finally shifted minds of many people in an organization that change is going to happen. People will move their consumer’s habits into organizational work spaces and look how they can use better tools and experience for their work. There is no way for Autodesk to go with files for the next decade. I think, this is a major observation that stroke CIMData analysts to think about possible Autodesk movement to PLM.

What is my conclusion today? I’d not run fast to think that moving to PLM road is the only one possibility for Autodesk. My bet is on social networks, communication and internet technologies that will position Autodesk in PLM 2.0 (or whatever, we call it). I think, it will be very interesting run and challenge.

Just my thoughts…
Best, Oleg

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PLM, Chocolate and Innovation

January 14, 2010

I’d like to share some thoughts today following yesterday’s Mass Innovation Night in IBM Center in Waltham, MA. This is my first time on this event. Initially, I was interested to see Vuuch presentation as well as some other companies. If you are local in Massachusetts and want to take a look on new companies and technologies, I’d strongly recommend to keep this event on your list. You can find more information about future events, contact information and links to presenting companies on the following link.

I liked presentation and how the event was organized. However, I’d like to share with you my thought about the company that impressed me the most on the yesterday’s show. As a person that doing most of my time with technologies and everything around that, I found company Taste of Chocolate very fascinating. The biggest lesson here is related to values and passion. We often tend to forget about this when talking a lot about technological innovation. Think about this first when you will start writing your next program :)…

Just my thoughts,
Best, Oleg


How Many Enterprise Backbones Organization Needs?

November 13, 2009

Picture 51Interesting post drove my attention yesterday. Reading about the role of PLM as enterprise backbone, I wanted to raise a question – how many of such “e-bones” do we need? My experience shows that in every enterprise implementation, discussion magically came to the point of “what will serve as a company/organization/product/enterprise or whatever else backbone. And I have to say, that I always got mixed feeling about that. I will try to put my pros and cons in the way enterprise systems can be organized to serve product lifecycle and enterprise resource planning needs.

1. One vs. Many
Thinking about a dream situation when all systems in enterprise will be magically synchronized around a single system (or bone), I came to the conclusion that we need to keep it as a dream. However, practical approach, in my view shows that enterprise organization will continue to have multiple systems serving their needs.

2. Enterprise Platforms
The interoperability between enterprise systems is killing enterprise organizations. Company’s IT is normally trying to develop their strategies around various platforms, but even so, they can rarely reduce the amount of systems and functional needs drive to additional system deployment.

3. Master Data Record
This is another place where “discussion” between enterprise systems becomes critical. Who is controling data and serve as a master? The data synchronization is an expensive. However, decision about master data control comes again and again with each next step of enterprise system development on the functional level.

4. Role of SaaS
In my view, cloud services (or SaaS, if you will) is playing disruptive, but positive role in discussion related to enterprise architecture and various “enterprise bones”. The disruptive role of SaaS is to show to the organization, the reality of no-single system controlling all data and processes in enterprise.

I’m interested to discuss and listen about your experience? What is your opinion on that?
Best, Oleg


GPS, PLM, BIM: Plan the Next Leapfrog?

November 4, 2009

Picture 37You probably wonder – GPS, PLM, BIM… What do they have in common today? In my view, the common is their relationship with real objects of a physical world around us. GPS can position us and give us a direction in surrounding world, CAD/PLM is the universal mechanism to design everything, PLM and BIM respectfully are set of product and tools to organize processes around product design, manufacturing, building etc.

For years engineering and building systems like CAD, PLM, BIM was completely disconnected from a real world. I always had the feeling of separation. This is like a wall between engineering and rest of the company. You (engineers) can use any systems you want, design and plan whatever you want… The real things will be disconnected from this virtual engineering world. Not anymore in my view. Few announcements and publications drove me to think about future leapfrog in this space.

Google’s announced first Droid phone with Google Navigation System. You will ask me how it related to PLM? Not as much, for the moment. However, thinking in deep and applying some PLMish language you can see Google providing 3D application connecting physical driving experience and virtual world model based on Google Maps.

Another one – Google SketchUp. On the surface, there is nothing special. I used to hear from many engineers their opinion about this product as a toy, far from “Real CAD” systems. Slow down, please. Keep your engineering ego for the future. Google is using SketchUp to re-create the world in 3D on top of Google Map. Google 3D Warehouse is a very good example of building blocks in this 3D universe. Read more in about Google Building Maker in Google official blog.

Some business thoughts. You need to see the following article: Google Redefines Disruption: The “Less than Free” business model. This is not the first time when we see the power of free products. I’m almost hearing engineers that saying – but this is not for the real enterprise world, this is on the different planet. Not anymore, in my view. Connection between real and virtual happens much faster that you can think about it.

So, conclusion for today. I’m thinking about immersive world where design, engineering and real people are all connected to dream, design, plan, build and manufacture life around us. And, in my view, this is a perfect time for today’s CAD/PLM/BIM vendors to think about a future of their products. How to catch up before Google’s next leapfrog? Just not to find themselves in place of GPS manufacturers today.

Picture 35

Just my thoughts.
Best, Oleg


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