PLM Think Tank Top 5 – December and 2011

January 16, 2012

Silicon Valley is well known by the high concentration of web start-up companies. My recent conclusion about PLM Highway (Rt. 128) in Greater Boston was picked up by Boston Globe article – Carmakers flock to Massachusetts for digital design help. Navigate to the following link to read this article online. I noticed an increase in my live communication (compared to virtual blogging activities) during last time. The most notable were – Dassault ribbon cut for their new office in Waltham, MA; PTC HQ visit last week. Later, this week, I will be visiting Aras Corp. during new office launch (shh… don’t tell anybody). I’d like to thank all for the invitation and hope it will inspire me for future blogging.

Now, let’s turn to my traditional Top 5. This time, I’d like to give it in a bit extended way and to summarize top 5 topics for 2011 too. The following blogs were most readable over the past 12 months. I’m not pretending for sharp statistic, but it can give you some idea about what was on the list of interest. Of course, it provides some impression about how readers are picking up articles (in my view, this is what happened for my Aras, Dassault, PTC, Siemens post).

2011 Top 5

Aras PLM lines up against Windchill, Enovia and TeamCenter

Aras is definitely moving towards crossing paths with PLM like Windchill, Enovia, TeamCenter. Is it possible to displace large PLM system with Aras today? My answer – it depends. The PLM implementation scope is varied, and every implementation can be different. Therefore, I specially liked the community oriented approach of development. This is something that can make a difference. On the side of platforms and integrations – time will show if Aras will find a balance between throwing resources and effective delivery. This is a big challenge.

SolidWorks n!Fuze: The cloud re-make of PLM collaboration?

The collaboration topic in PLM is still a place where we will see lots of innovations. The attempt to remake some old concepts to a new reality is a good sign in my view. I can see “cloud” concepts, focus on usability and introducing of social elements as right steps toward converting n!Fuze into something useful. However, I have to note that some functionality of n!Fuze will create an overlap with existing Enterprise PDM features. Users have a tendency to push the limits of product can do from the functional standpoint, and I can see people can use n!Fuze as a basic PDM on the cloud.

PDM vs. PLM: A data perspective

The ugly truth of enterprise software – it is all about data and the control over the data. It appears in every solution. It is all about what data you manage, how do you keep your customers accessing and processing this data?. PLM is the attempt to manage data in the much broader scope than PDM. It creates lots of benefits from the standpoint of data completeness and, at the same time, created many overlaps in data management solutions in enterprise organizations.

Autodesk PLM: Fast Second?

People want to have a better way to manage their data and processes. According to Autodesk, most of PLM implementations today are about data management. Existing PLM vendors are doing mostly data management. Autodesk is doing an excellent job in data management using Autodesk Vault. So, the goal to fix processes and workflow sounds like a reasonable one. Autodesk is getting a huge advantage to research all available PLM implementations. The second-mover opportunity is on the Autodesk side. However, Autodesk will have to come with something radically different to prove their approach is better. Last, but not least – processes are tightly connected to the data in organizations. Autodesk will have to implement an efficient access to product and company data from the cloud to successfully deploy their new cloud-based process management software. Here is a challenge and a potential danger in process-oriented cloud strategy.

PLM, BOM, Excel: How to make it right?

This post was injected by Arena Solution blog giving away some BOM templates. I think, MS Excel is a big deal for PLM companies. Customers are voting for Excels. PLM vendors may understand that their previous “Export To Excel” strategy was wrong, and they need to change it now. The competition with Excel will be growing as much as PLM vendors will be trying to expand their solutions to be used by more people in companies. So, give away some Excel templates can be a very good idea.

December Top 5

PLM Highway and New Dassault Waltham Campus

Dassault new campus is interesting. You can definitely enjoy some pictures, as well as the one and the only map of PLM highway in Boston.

How to streamline PLM?

PLM was born many years to solve the problem of product development in complex defense and aerospace companies. Since that time, software vendors passed a long way developing new functionality. However, I don’t think it made solutions better. It is very hard to remove functionality for existing software. At the same time, I don’t see any alternative to that in the future.

Autodesk PLM Nexus: First Hands-on demo

Nexus PLM has nice and slick web user experience. Without practicall hands-on it is hard to say something about ease of navigation and the estimate the number of clicks you need to do to perform an action (click-per-action). These two things normally drive crazy users in data-oriented web environment. I found very positive the fact Autodesk is thinking about “insane customization”. However, it will be interested to see and experiment with how the complexity of customization will co-exist with cloud-based multi-tenant deployment. It reminds me one of my old posts – Is PLM customization a Data Management Titanic? Another critical aspect that wasn’t covered is data import or integration with existing systems (i.e. Files, Archives, Content Management, PDM, PLM, ERP, etc.). The answer Autodesk provided pointed to some internal development with Autodesk Vault as well as a future work with partners. That would be very interesting to see in the future. Overall, Nexus has a potential to disrupt. I’m looking forward to seeing how Autodesk will realize this potential.

Autodesk, Aras and integrated PDM/PLM story

PDM / PLM integration looks like an interesting trend. We are going to see to see more examples, in my view. What is the fundamental reason behind it? I think many companies are having trouble to drive their IT infrastructure towards unification. It requires longer projects and expanded budgets. If PLM companies find an efficient way to integrate and access data between systems, it can definitely provide a competitive advantage on the market. Last one cannot be guaranteed, but it sounds as an interesting opportunity.

How do you know your PLM project in trouble?

The five symptoms I figured out, 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.

Have enjoyable and successful 2012!

Best, Oleg

PLM Think Tank Top 5, September 2010

October 31, 2010

I postponed my monthly writing this month to give few words PTC Creo launch this week. CAD community already started to discuss this event. You cannot dismiss such a type of the event in CAD industry. My initial conclusion about that can be described as following: 1/ consolidation; 2/ people-oriented; 3/ industry knowledge. You can ask me about next CAD revolution. This is something, in my view, requires additional understanding. The technological revolution of PTC Creo is in merging of CoCreate and Pro/E platforms. For the moment, I don’t have enough knowledge to state it. However, it absolutely represents the PTC CAD platforms’ consolidation process. PTC demonstrated a deep understanding of important industry problems. At the same time, the first companies benefiting from Creo solution will be large PTC account focusing primary on PTC platform. I want to put a few special word about people-orientation. This is something very important, since, in my view it following the “consumerization trend” in enterprise IT. Remember, we had a “role-based” story before. The Creo AnyApp, in my view, is a transcription of a “role-based” approach. This idea is a right one. However, the execution of this idea is the most important thing. Apps idea is something that requires the existence of a Platform. The known software or hardware platform playing big games now (Apple Mac, iOS, Android, Windwos Azure etc.). In enterprise, Oracle is trying to turn their offering as a platform. Will PTC Creo become a platform? This is a question we will be discussing during the next 5 years. Now, let’s turn to the list of September’s PLM Think Tank Top5.

How To Choose PLM? (Visual Guide)

In the beginning, I was surprised by popularity of this post. In this post, I put a visual diagram that presents a process of PLM solution selection. The idea was to make it simple to digest in 5 minutes. Main PLM decision these days seems to me in selecting of one of three options – 1/Following mindshare of PLM vendor; 2/Identification of PLM as a part of ERP and 3/ Not seeing PLM as a solution to be used in the product development process. Take a look on this diagram and make your opinion. I hope, you will find it valuable.

PLM and Open Source Licenses

This post started by referencing of Google OSI license acceptance. However, the conversation quickly moved to the discussion about the value of Open Source and all details related to usage of Open Source in PLM. The Open Sournce licensing story is damn complicated. However, with a growing interest and influence, understanding of available open source and fee software licenses will be crucial. I think OSS will play an increased role in the future of software.

PLM Basics: Reference Designator and Find Numbers

This post was generated as an answer to one of my readers. The usage of the Find Number and Reference designator is often overlapped and not clear. In addition, there is a significant difference in usage between diverse industries. You can find a long thread of comments and reader opinions sharing their experience and practices in how they use RD and FN. In addition you can find very useful links with related information.

PLM Philosophies Collide

This post was raised by few conversations where I’ve been asked to say how PLM future looks like – BOM or Workflow? I think, this question represents one of the biggest philosophical collide in engineering and manufacturing software. What will be the winning behavior in the future? It is hard to say. In my view, the end-game solution will need to provide answers to both sides of the problem. BOM and Worklow need to be equaly included into PLM solutions. Only together they can keep an organization to manage efficiently product lifecycle. You can read a long list of people’s opinion and shared thoughts about this topic.

PLM: Open Source vs. Free?

The last top 5 this month is related to the comparison of Free and Open Source models. Both “free” and “open source” can create an interesting innovation trend and change today’s status quo. However, I don’t think it is a silver bullet. Businesses have a lot of concerns about “free model”, since everybody understands that, in the end, TCO is important. On the other side, free can make PLM systems widely adopted and not limit to organizations that can pay for PLM licenses. Open Source is a separate story. To have a broad community is one of the main questions to be answered to understand the potential viability of PLM Open Source.

Best, Oleg

PLM Think Tank July’s Top 5

August 19, 2010

Summer is vacation time. I spent first week of August in Orlando Disney Word with family and my photo camera. I’d like to share few of my pictures taken there.

If you are interested to see more of my pictures, navigate your browser to the following link. Now, let me get you to the PLM Think Tank July’s top five list.

PDM vs. PLM: A Data Perspective

In this post I started a discussion about one of the most confusing topics related to PLM – What is a difference between PDM and PLM? Here is my short brief from this post: The ugly truth of enterprise software – it is all about data and the control over the data. It appears in every solution. It is all about what data you manage, how do you keep your customers accessing and processing this data?. PLM is the attempt to manage data in the much broader scope than PDM. It creates lots of benefits from the standpoint of data completeness and, at the same time, created many overlaps in data management solutions in enterprise organizations. The PDM vs. PLM posts will continue and last week I posted my “PDM vs. PLM: A Process Perspective“.

PLM, BOM, Excel – How To Make It Right?

I’m getting back to the “Excel stories” this month too. Some PLM companies started to understand that they can build some business around preparing your future Excel to PLM migration. I’m covering one of these stories in this post. I think, MS Excel is a big deal for PLM companies. Customers are voting for Excels. PLM vendors may understand that their previous “Export To Excel” strategy was wrong, and they need to change it now. The competition with Excel will be growing as much as PLM vendors will be trying to expand their solutions to be used by more people in companies. So, give away some Excel templates can be a very good idea.

Top 3 Elements of Successful Social PLM Strategy

Here is my dive into “social PLM” ocean. Facebook and other social software generated a massive trend in enterprise applications. This trend will impact everything that PLM is trying to accomplish for years. I can see many Facebook-clones today. Creating a successful Facebook-clone will require to understand the content and specific characteristics of enterprise and PLM applications. I’m discussing various aspects of applying social strategies in PLM space.

How To Define PLM?

In this post, I’m catching discussion on a very big topic. What is the definition of PLM? I presented two very orthogonal definitions coming from PLM journalist and PLM mindshare vendor. This post caused multiple comments and discussions in LinkedIn forums. I’m planning to come with new post very soon on the same topic summarizing all I learned so far.

PLM and Legacy Data

Legacy data rarely coming into PLM strategic discussions. However, I think, legacy data is important. The amount of data is growing in the exponential manner. To handle legacy data and systems is a very painful task. Each time we come with new systems, the problem of legacy data comes up again. PLM needs to learn to handle foreign lifecycle data or lifecycle data produced by previous versions of PLM systems. It seems to me as a very important functionality that almost missed today.

Best, Oleg

PLM Think Tank – Top 5 Posts, May 2010

June 7, 2010

I’m continuing with my top 5 posts on PLM Think Tank. Do you think PLM is a trending word on the web? From time to time, I’m playing with names and buzzwords on Google Trends. Today, I played with “PLM vs. PDM” keywords. Sometimes Google Trends create interesting associations.

Let’s move to the top 5 posts for May 2010.

PLM Processes: Flowchart vs. Rule-based?
This post was triggered by some very interesting discussions I had around with people thinking about how to plan, design and manage processes. Two main concepts were presented and compared. When flowchart considered more visual, I got some comments mentioning that rule-based model can simplify the definition process and make it more granular. The best conclusion – both models are valid, system better to provide two options on top of a single process model.

PLM and ALM: How To Blend Disparate Systems?
The reality of enterprise organization is multiple systems. The landscape of application involved in this product development is very large. The number of applications is growing. The ability to absorb the requirements of all applications into one minimal single standards schema seems impossible. The new and more efficient way to interlink data need to be proposed. We don’t need to bring software builds and engineering bill of materials to a single representation. However, we need to be able to interlink data related to different applications to maintain data integrity.

5 Things To Know Before PLM-ERP Integration Project
PLM and ERP are two systems that have a very long history of integration initiatives. Batch, bi-directional, middleware-based and many others. What is clear, to integrate PLM and ERP is a very expensive project. It can bring lots of benefits, but also drain a significant amount of resources. You need to understand how to make a right estimation of work and validate this project before it starts.

The ABC of PLM Facebooking
We are very close to the time when we’ll see a massive migration of consumer software experience into enterprise space. Facebook is one of them. The core idea of Facebook is a new type of content syndication coming from my social connections. The way Facebook automatically syndicate content and allows me to make my activity related to this content is a key advantage for me to come every morning to Facebook and see what’s up with all my peers. PLM system can do all these things today. You can manage Files, Parts, BOMs, ECOs, organize processes, make approvals, etc.. However, data organization in PLM is heavy and not comfortable. PLM is not thinking about data syndication. In my view, this is the ABC of PLM Facebooking. This what can empower PLM and make it more intuitive and easy to use.

Top Five Concerns About PLM Systems
The question of user adoption is one of the most discussed ones in PLM when it comes to practical implementation of PLM systems. I can identify the following top customer concerns related to PLM: Delivery of specific business requirements, Upgrade to new version, integration and support of cross-business processes, expensive change management and high total cost of ownership. PLM needs to think about how to make an industry transformation to get out of concerns. The right way to do it is to learn and apply multiple practices from consumer software space. This is hard. I’m not sure all companies will be able to do so. In the past, we had chance to see companies like IBM could rebuild themselves. Will PLM companies do so?

Best, Oleg

PLM Think Tank – April’s Top 5 Posts

May 14, 2010

Are you familiar with the term “Continues Partial Attention“? I found it as a very compelling to what is going with Information Overloaded (IO) these days. Here is Wikipedia’s definition of CPA:

The term Continuous Partial Attention (CPA) was coined by Linda Stone in 1998.[1][2] Author Steven Berlin Johnson describes this as a kind of multitasking: “It usually involves skimming the surface of the incoming data, picking out the relevant details, and moving on to the next stream. You’re paying attention, but only partially. That lets you cast a wider net, but it also runs the risk of keeping you from really studying the fish.”[3] Continuous partial attention is about scanning continuously for opportunities across a network, not solely about optimizing one’s time by multitasking.

I’m starting to post a new write up every month for those who is not able to follow my blog on a daily basis. For such purpose, I will create a short summary of top five discussions on Daily PLM Think Tank monthly. In this list, you will see blog posts that got the largest number of views and number of comments.

So, here is my April Top 5 summary.

3D CAD Future or How To Liberate Data
This post was inspired by Mike Payne’s presentation about MCAD future on COFES 2010. My take on this was about how future data liberation can improve design and engineering intercommunication and effectiveness. The most important outcomes for me are removal of dependencies on CAD vendor, focus on competition between tools and not between data formats and data models and better long term data retention.

PLM Excels and The Ugly Truth About iPad
New release Apple’s table generates lots of interest and questions with regards to how it will be used by different categories of people. I discovered an interesting segment of applications – spreadsheets. Apple’s Numbers can play a very good game and helps to visualize and present lots of engineering data on iPad. Do you think it will be “new Excel” on the touch screen?

PLM Data Identification and Part Numbers
This simple topic raised huge amount of attention and interest. I found that despite the fact all manufacturing and engineering organization are handling Part Numbers, there are not much agreement on this topic. Many opinions with very controversial proposals about how to do so.

Why Do We Need PLM Data Model?
PLM modeling is another interesting topic I discovered last month. What it is important and what are the key characteristics of the potential PLM models and implementations.  I presented my view on the uniqueness of PLM model and how I see the evolution of PLM models related to the standardization activities.

PLM and Social Tools: The Odd Couple

Social tools are in focus of many online discussions these days. In this post, I tried to figure out what differentiate between PLM and Social Tools. Also, I wanted to point on the characteristics of PLM systems that will make a problematic introduction of social tools in manufacturing organizations as well as a disruptive role of social tools in the future of PLM collaboration.

It was my PLM Think Tank Top 5 for April 2010. See you next month!
Best, Oleg



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