PLM Dress Code Factoids

July 14, 2012

I learned something interesting today from solidedging blog – Yes Gertrude, PLM World has a Dress Code, by Dave Ault. He is speaking about enforcing the dress code during some of PLM events and meetings. Here is the key passage:

Posted today at the Siemens SE Misc category on the BBS Forum. “I just got an email through regarding the PLM Connection event next week in the UK. I was pretty shocked to see a dress code stipulated – see the image below!! The day a company starts to tell their CUSTOMERS how to dress shows a severe disconnect from reality. Do Siemens really think this sort of pomposity will endear them to potential clients (let alone existing ones)? Now I know why Steve Jobs never made it to PLM World; his black crew neck just didn’t cut it with the organizers.

Well… I don’t know what was the reason Steve Jobs didn’t attend PLM world. Actually, I know little about what PLM software Apple is using. Even more, personally, I had never been invited to PLM world. Now, I’m guessing that main reason was probably because I didn’t put my picture with bow tie on the home page of my blog. I agree with Dave’s observations about SolidEdge University. The dress code there was similar to SolidWorks World and different from PLM events I attended.

What is my conclusion? Few people in PLM industry are still dreaming about how to follow ERP success. PLM companies and event organizers are dreaming about how to bring more executives to their events. They are key players in PLM strategic decision making. Dress code is part of the agenda to make PLM event comfortable for execs. I guess CIOs and other corporate execs feel wrong sitting next to engineers in blue jeans. I also believe some country and location specifics can be considered too. I rarely see suits and ties during events in Israel and California. At the same time, it looks quite appropriate in Germany and some other places in Europe. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


Corporate iCloud, iPLM Future and Google’s Apps?

June 8, 2011

Well…It happened. The marketing machine of Apple meets the cloud and cloud marketing. The result is predicted – iCloud. If you haven’t had a chance to watch Apple shows this week, you can do. Spend 7.5 min and enjoy the remarkable presentation made by Steve Jobs, including statements “it just works” and lesson learned from mobile.me experiments.

Corporate Cloud

The obvious question I was asking myself was about what is a potential influence of coming iCloud to enterprise software in general and specifically for engineering and manufacturing companies. Some of the scenarios and challenges presented by CAD and PLM vendors can be (with a bit oversimplification) presented as a synchronization of the content from iCloud to multiple places. The first obvious scenario is synchronization of libraries and content between OEM and Suppliers. Other scenarios are possible as well. I read the following article on PC Word – ICloud and IOS 5: New Challenges for Business. Take a time, have a read and make your opinion. I found the following passage resonating:

Lion Server delivers wireless file sharing for iPad. When you enable WebDAV in Lion Server, you can access, copy, and share documents on the server from applications such as Keynote, Numbers, and Pages.

While Apple specifically references its iWork apps here, it seems pretty clear that the company is using them merely as examples. That makes sense because Apple used them to demo iCloud’s document capabilities. But it seems clear that this feature will extend to other apps as well.

Some of the features mentioned by PC Word article as well as some announcements made by Apple in the context of new Lion Server can be interesting. Wireless file sharing on the iPad is probably a feature that can become a favorite among managers in every manufacturing (and not only) company.

The future of iPLM?

I tried to marry iCloud to PLM. So, it turns out my experiment was bad. Actually, iPLM already exists and eventrademarked by Dassault Systems. So, without knowing if Steve Jobs is planning to come to manufacturing companies, the place already taken Enovia V6 iPLM. I wasn’t able to find much about Dassault iPLM strategy and development, except of the following picture.

iCloud and Google Apps

When I was listening to Jobs’ demo (which was obviously brilliant), I tried to find what features of coming iCloud strategy cannot be realized today using Google Apps. Here is my net-net: I can access mails, calendars, documents from any devices. The notion of push synchronization promoted by Apple is important. It solves many scenarios related to content access.

What is my conclusion? The key word for the next revolution in enterprise belongs to “device” and “mobility”. iCloud seems to solve the key problem available everywhere – synchronization. The situation was bad on a single computer (i.e. Mac). However, the synchronization is really bad behind the firewall. The solution that solves this problem can provide a significant leapfrog in the corporate IT and engineering and manufacturing applications. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


PDM vs. PLM: A Process Perspective

August 17, 2010

I want to continue the discussion started last week in my post ‘PDM vs. PLM: A Data Perspective‘. Thank you all for comments and your contribution to this conversation. I think, clarification in this space can be very beneficial for customers, vendors and other people involved in planning and operation systems for product development, engineering and manufacturing. From the data standpoint, PLM is about to cover a much broader scope of data. However, data is only one dimension, we can use to compare PDM and PLM. Another dimension is a “process”. So, today I’d like to come with a process perspective on what are differences between PDM and PLM.

Process Definition

The definition of a term “process” is very broad. Looking on the Wikipedia “process” page I found a diverse set of definitions. I’d like to take two of them as a context of this discussion.

Wikipedia – Process.
Process or processing typically describes the act of taking something through an established and usually routine set of procedures to convert it from one form to another, as a manufacturing or administrative procedure, such as processing milkcheese, or processing paperworkto grant a mortgage loan, or converting computer data from one form to another.

Wikipedia – Business Process.
A business process or business method is a collection of related, structured activities or tasksthat produce a specific service or product (serve a particular goal) for a particular customer or customers.

I found that vendors in the space of design, engineering and manufacturing software are using the “process” word very frequently and by doing so, came to the situation where everything in their activity can be considered as a process. In my view, it created a lot of problems with explanations of what software solutions are actually doing in a context of particular organizational processes and needs.

Why PLM Is About Process?

The main reason when PLM is tightly bound with the definition of a process is actually related to the definition of a lifecycle. This is about a whole product life. Every step in this life cycle can be defined as a collection of activities / tasks that produce a result (product). Manufacturing organization activity is focused on the process of planning, engineering, development, manufacturing and supporting products. Design process, Change Management, Release Process, Sales Process… All these activities are part of the overall product lifecycle process. When you think about these steps, you can come to the definition of PLM as a software helping companies to organize and maintain product related processes.

PDM vs. PLM Processes?

Originally, PDM was created in order to maintain design and engineering data. Simply put it was about managing CAD data, related engineering files and their revisions. This type of activity normally can be localized inside of engineering organization. PDM systems are bound to the design tools (historically it was CAD) and serve engineers in their activity related to management of versions and releasing of design and engineering information to manufacturing and rest of the organization. With such a scope PDM easy becomes a software to maintain a release process. However, in real life, this design release is connected to the other product development activities. This is a situation when PLM is coming with broader process support of managing a change, supply chain, quality and other (product related) processes.

What is my conclusion? The first ugly truth coming out of the data perspective post - PLM is about to cover wider data scope. Thinking about a process perspective, I came to the conclusion of the second ugly truth – it is better to explain your software product value in association to the real organizational and product development processes. ERP first discovered a “process-secret-sauce” and started to bind their modules and expand ERP to additional organizational processes.. CAD/PDM companies came second to the spot and decided to capture a broad definition of Product Lifecycle Processes. PDM was about one simple process – Engineering Data Release. Shifting from PDM to PLM, vendors attempted to bind solutions to product development processes in an organization. However, the diversification of these processes in organizations is very high. It resulted in a very high level of complexity and growing amount of customization and software tailoring. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


PLM and Engineering Documents Identification

July 15, 2010

My new website and blog is BeyondPLM. The original post is here.

The question of identification is probably of the most complicated and always raises lots of interest. I had a chance to discuss early on my blog a topic related to Part Numbers and Part Identification. The discussion raised lots of opinions and comments. You can track them on the following link. PLM marketing and sales speeches are rarely discussing this topic. It assumed as a solved problem. However, I don’t think so. Today I want to discuss multiple aspects related to the identification of drawings.

I read article by Kean Walmsley of Autodesk on his blog – Through the interface . He is discussing the idea of identification of drawings using QR Code. Kean presented various ways you can today handle QR codes in software and how you can organize your work with help of QR-enabled software. He is talking about coming AutoCAD plug-in to do this job.

Another article by Jeff Sweeney of 3DVision Technologies in his bar-coded blog post presents an idea how possible to use bar-code or how he called “1949 year technology” to identify drawings. In his example, he proposed to create an association between file attribute and bar-code and automate processes related to document.

Both articles made me think about different aspects related to identification of engineering documents, and I decided to share and discuss it.

Internal vs. External
Documents are everywhere. However, in my view, most of the organization can clearly differentiate between documents that are belonging to an organization and are under formal control of the organization and documents that circulated outside.

Logical vs. Physical
Most of us are working with virtual documents or files – CAD Files, Related PDF files, Images, Scans and just office documents with embedded design and engineering elements. However, organizations are still printing documents for various purposes. I can see some of them, such as use of documents in the manufacturing shop floor or sending documents together with physical products as part of documents and some others.

Integrations
Inside of the organization your documents are flowing between different people and organizations. You can see more and more organizations are starting to think about a single content management system. In some cases, PLM system is playing a role of a content management system for engineering documents. However, there are lots of situations where documents are distributed between multiple systems- CMS, PDM, PLM, ERP, etc. To be able to identify correlated documents can be an interesting solution.

Archives
The cost of storage is growing down. I’d expect IT in few more years will be discussing an option how to have all data on “spinning disks”. Flash storage is still expensive. So, a question of archiving and identification of drawing in archives can be interesting as well.

What is my conclusion today? I think, the problem of identification is a huge one. With all respect to our paperless future, we are document-driven society. I’m not touching now the future CAD on the cloud without files. We are still in a very preliminary stage in our trials to understand the problem of handling documents globally. There are many aspects that I mentioned in this post, and it seems to me, they are still very distributed within an organization’s boundary and beyond. I can envision kind of layered solution that will solve this problem. I’m looking forward to your comments and discussion.

Best, Oleg


PLM and A Single Point Of Disagreement

June 25, 2010

When you talk to a sales person from one of the PLM companies, you for sure will be exposed to a “Single Point of Truth” vision. On the surface, you can see it as a very powerful message. What can be wrong with having a single point of truth on all design, requirements, engineering bills, manufacturing plans, support materials and customer calls? Sound a great opportunity finally to organize all you have related to your product development. However, is it really true?

View of the World from 9th Avenue

There is a legendary New Yorker magazine cover by Saul Steinberg called “View of the World from 9th Avenue.”It comprises a “map” of the world from a “New Yorker’s” point of view. Looking west from 9th Avenue in Manhattan is the Hudson River. Beyond that is  a flat view of the rest of United States. Then you see the Pacific, Japan, China and Russia. If you think about manufacturing and product development, you can find a very similar picture, depends on who is the person you are talking to. My conclusion is there is NO single point of truth. Everybody sees the problem or product data differently.

Single Point Of Truth Process

So, what happens when PLM implementation comes to the company? In the nutshell, every PLM implementation is trying to create a single point of truth for the organization. It means to go all the way from a data mess to the agreement about how to manage product data in the organization. The most typical process is when a company is taking PLM vendor’s blueprint of a data management schema and starting to customize it. This is a main reason why the process of PLM implementation is long and painful. You need to have different people in the organization to agree about data management principles. This is a very painful process. People in company departments have different goals and priorities. This is similar to New Yorker’s view from 9th avenue. There are multiple PLM methodology to deal with this called “Role-based views”, but technologically they based on the assumption to have a single model of everything.

The New Goal: Single Point Of Disagreement?

One of the possible ways to start doing PLM differently is to stop applying this painful “agree on a single model” process. People need to have a way to work in the world where their views are different, but their views can be synchronized and integrated. This is a not trivial task. It seems to me as a more appropriated way to solve this problem in comparison to what we have today. What need to be done is to find what are differences between people view on data in the organization. It can help to create an integrated product development data landscape.

What is my conclusion? To create an integrated and balanced way to manage product development is not a simple task. PLM is missing this point and assumed the actually data model integration will be created during PLM implementation and will be driven by customers. I can see it as a mistake that makes an implementation process lengthy and implementation costly. To resolve this problem will help to bring a desired simplification into PLM world. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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PLM and Real Time Data

June 15, 2010

I had chance to read “SAP, Oracle and ‘Real’ Real-Time Apps“. I think it is an interesting read. SAP and Oracle are two large players in the PLM space, even their PLM agenda seems different from the agenda of PLM mindshare leaders such as PTC, Dassault and Siemens PLM. The conversation about data and real time made me think about what is the possible value of real-time application in PLM domain.

Real Time Data Foundation
Data Warehouse for the long period of time was the ultimate option proposed by large middleware and ERP vendors to consolidate enterprise information. However, it is considered as a complicated option and most of the companies were not moving fast to explore this solution  from all possible aspect options. I wonder if the data warehouse can move forward and propose some better options to consolidate informational streams. The following quote is interesting:

In-memory and column-oriented technologies have been around for years, and vendors like Sybase and Vertica have been talking about 10X to 100X data compression for nearly as long. Did it really take an application vendor to think outside the box of the database market as we know it? Has it really been beyond outfits as talented and well-funded as IBM and Teradata to tackle these problems? Or have the database vendors been protecting the status quo and certain revenue streams? It seems even Oracle’s OLTP- and OLAP-capable Exadata doesn’t aspire to replace the data warehouse layer as we know it.

My guess is that we probably are going to have some changes in this space soon. These two vendors will try to deliver a platform to enable data syndication in the real time. It can come as part of Oracle Fusion or SAP new development following Sybase acquisition. In parallel, I’d expect some additional experiments in this space coming from multiple smaller vendors in providers. What are PLM options and opportunities in this space?

PLM Real Time Options
In my view, PLM is watching very carefully to everything that is going in enterprise data space. PLM vendors are in the continues fight with their biggest rivals (SAP and Oracle) about the data ownership in the organization. What are PLM options in this real-time game? I see two potential aspects in the real time space for PLM: 1/Real time communication; 2/Real time information. Real time communication is all about the ability to collaboration – connect, share, modify, co-develop. In my view, this is a strong side of PLM in real time. I see PLM companies introduced new products helping to designers to collaboration. The second option (Real Time Information) is actually creating much less excitement in my eyes. Real time information in manufacturing organization is all about how to get all synchronized up to date information available. PLM vendors talked a lot about federation and integration in the past. However, it never came to real-time information availability.

What is my conclusion today?  I can see two main sides of real-time in PLM: Real Time Communication and Real Time Information. It seems to me PLM won the first round in their ability to lead collaborative work by allowing people to communication online on their design. But, the second problem (Real Time Information) can be a place where middleware and ERP vendors may have an advantage by syndication of information into Real Time Data Warehouse of the future. I think, some PLM vendors will think about how to provide information in this space too.

Just my thoughts…
Best, Oleg

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PLM Life-like Search Injection

June 10, 2010

An interesting turn in PLM trajectory of Dassault Systems – the acquisition of French based Exalead. With this acquisition, we can expect new life-like energy injected into PLM life-blood. In some announcements, Exalead was mentioned as French Google. Exalead indeed shares some Google DNA coming from early days Alta Vista and DEC search experiments. DS-Exalead deal made me think again about an enterprise search trajectory in Product Lifecycle Management. Actually, I already touched this topic at least two times in my blog before: PLM and Enterprise Search: Can We Leverage It In Downstream Applications and What Is The Role Of Search In Enterprise Systems and PLM?

So, PLM+Search=? What can be hidden behind this question mark? First of all, I wanted to put some historical perspectives in the relationships of PLM and search vendors. This is actually not the first time, PLM is catching a search wave. In 2006, Autonomy and Agile Software PLM created a partnership to provide a solution together . In 2007, Dassault made the announcement about a future use of Autonomy as a technology for search in DS and ENOVIA solutions. Endecca, another enterprise search vendor signed an agreement with Kalypso PLM solution provider. The same Edecca signed an agreement with PTC, one of the major DS completitiors. The same PTC by their significant move to SharePoint over the past 2 years, have an access to Microsoft SharePoint search solution. The same Autonomy, one of the leaders in Enterprise Search solutions is providing full stack of connectors that allow them to handle PLM related information too by their IDOL platform.

So, I wanted to put some thoughts towards possible mix of PLM and Search solutions. What can be advantages of PLM and Search merger and what need to be done to analyze previous solutions?

Usability
This is the first thing, in my view. PLM will try to fix the usability problem with application of some search techniques. All PLM applications today are surviving from user adoption rate in the organization due to the complexity in user experience. To have a search solution in this space is an interesting approach. However, what is good for web search not always can work in the same way inside of the organization. This will be an interesting to challenge for search solutions .

Content Processing
Search solutions have a different perspective on how to work with data. It is really not the same as to do it for enterprise application and business process management. How it will fit? What web search is doing by manage data is not really the same as enterprise data processing. Lots of interesting questions are coming here. I assume, we’ll have chance to see soon in the  in DS-Exalead story.

Integration
Crawling data from multiple sources, enterprise search has a potential to become a federated access point for PLM apps. This is the most interesting turn, in my view. However, to execute this route, a significant shift in PLM openness needs to be done.

What is my conclusion today? DS acquisition proved again, that PLM space is alive and will continuously provide innovative solutions for enterprises. As one of the leaders in PLM and 3D, Dassault just confirmed it yesterday. The next important step will be technological convergence and new solutions coming from Dassault.

Just my thoughts…
Best, Oleg


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