2013 Beyond PLM – Top 5

December 30, 2013

top-5-plm-posts-2013

End of the year is traditionally associated with “top stories” and “next year predictions”. So, it is hard to resist… In the past, I was publishing my “top 5″ stories every month, but the tradition somehow went down. However, later better than never. So, in the spirit of coming 2014, I decided to list 5 posts published in 2013 that drove most of my readers interest:

BOM 101: How Many Levels Do You Need in BOM?

The fact you can create multiple levels of BOM doesn’t mean you need to utilize it at full capacity. Multi-level BOMs are complicated and adding an additional work in the process of changes. How to maintain the right number of BOM levels? I’m interested to learn more about your experience. How many BOM levels do you have in your company ERP/MRP/PDM/PLM system?

3 Modern BOM Management Challenges

Bill of Materials is a critical element in the success of many manufacturing companies. Think about driving maps. In the past we printed it on a paper, folded and put next to your driver seat. Now it is different – social GPS systems can alert you about driving conditions and suggest alternative routes. You need to have a new tools to manage BOMs. Traditional BOM management systems won’t survive in a modern manufacturing world. This is a wake-up call for PLM vendors and other software companies in manufacturing world.

Will IBM return to PLM software business?

Business intelligence, decision support, system engineering and integration. These functions are quite desired by manufacturing companies to solve prod development problems. Large companies these days are looking how to streamline product development processes. Enterprise PLM business seems to be impossible without system services and integration support. IBM is collecting a significant software stacks that can be used for this purposes. Maybe we see IBM renaissance in PLM soon?

Will Tesla Motors build their own PLM system?

I have no clear answer on the question placed in the title of this post. The IT innovation in manufacturing companies is getting interesting these days. The dynamic of business, pace of changes and specific customer requirements will require IT managers to innovate beyond the level of OOTB tools. Thinking about PLM space, customer focused configuration options combined with complexity of supply chain can be very challenging these days. These days Tesla is practically building a single model car – Model S. However, with new car model (model X) is coming soon, I can see the level of complexity growing as well as the needs for specific unique PLM system. It would be very interesting to see the change in the future.

Single Bill of Materials in 6 Steps

Depends on the nature of your business, one of these topics can become a key and showstopper for your organization to transform into the single BOM. Some of you will disagree of structures and some you will not have a system to share BOM across the organization. The multi-BOM paradigm evolved during many years as a result of fundamental organization silos. However, these days, the efficiency how organization can resolve the problem of connected cross department processes is a dominant one. BOM is a lifeblood in these cross-department processes. If you switch to a single BOM, you have an opportunity to optimize processes.

What is my 2013 year conclusion? Beyond PLM is getting about 20-25K page views monthly. I want to thank all my readers for contributing to this number and hope to see you on my blog in coming 2014. I can see a clear trend of interest moving towards PLM roots such as Bill of Material and customer related development. Also our ‘Big Blue PLM’ is still here. Cloud and everything related to that clearly drove less attention than before. Of course, it is very subjective and just my thoughts :).

Happy New Year!

Best, Oleg


PLM priorities and Gartner IT’s Top 10 Tech Trends for 2013

November 2, 2012

As we move towards the end of the year, we will see more posts with trends’ reviews for 2013. While it is really hard to predict “next big things”, these posts usually provide a good perspective on what is going on. Earlier this week, my attention caught by Gartner’s Top 10 strategic tech for 2013 publication. Navigate to the following link in PC Magazine Forward Thinking publication to review details. You can see the picture with top 10 techs below.

It made me think about some interesting intersections of these trends with the priorities of engineering applications and specifically PLM technologies and systems.

Mobile Technologies and HTML5

The question about what will become a preferable technology for mobile and web browsers will continue to be dominant in PLM development eco-system. The complexity of the systems is high. Therefore, vendors will be slow to adopt every change. I believe vendors will try first to concentrate on the supported versions of browsers. Old browsers are easier to reject. Native mobile apps is something more complicated. Most of consumers prefer native mobile apps and not browsers. Therefore, the improvement of HTML5 technologies can be an advantage for PLM vendors considering mobile options.

Enterprise App Stores

Introducing of cloud and mobile apps is raising a question about the future of application distribution. IT will need a tool(s) to distribute new type of application in organizations. App store is a fascinating idea and the majority of people these days actually “got this”. In my view, the challenge will be to balance between chaotic nature of consumer app stores (Apple, Google) and more structured way enterprise IT wants to distribute application to customers. PLM vendors traditionally survive from a problem how to expand usage of PLM tools in organizations. So, App store can be a good idea to fix it.

Internet of Things

This is very fascinating topic. You might be interested to read one of my earlier blog posts. We have more products (things) that connected to the network and starting to communicate online. How it can be connected to PLM? In my opinion, the connection is in a ‘lifecycle’. Today PLM is heavily involved into design and engineering. Less in manufacturing. However, what about the lifecycle of the products after they’re built in a factory and sold, delivered to actual customers. This is a space we are going to discover in a near future. iPhone controlled bulbs is just a beginning.

Hybrid IT and Cloud computing

Traditionally, companies are working with IT departments to get things done. PLM is not different in that sense. Servers need to be configured, routers connected, software installed and updated. This is how a traditional eco-system looks like. At the same time, cloud is coming, which means no servers, no software, no updates. Even if cloud software will become widely adopted, companies will be running a lot of applications and software on premise for a very long period of time. So, how IT will be re-organized around this environment? How we will consume our “granular PLM apps”?

Strategic Big Data

There are lot of confusion around Big Data topic. Here is the big data definition from Gartner’s report – Cearley continued to define big data as dealing not just with volume, but also with variety, velocity, and the complexity of data an organization is dealing with. He talked about managing both internal and external data, and talked about how technologies such as Hadoop may be a big part, but only a part, of it. Big Data certainly open horizons to get more information about product and improve quality of the products from the standpoint that cannot be achieved now.

What is my conclusion? In my view, enterprise software technologies are going through a significant change now. Many software systems in engineering and manufacturing sector are approaching end of their lifecycle. It is a time for vendors to provide new cost-effective solutions targeting new user experience and different IT eco-system. Cost and user experience is one segment where lots of improvements can be made. Another one is data – customers will be actively looking for additional information about products and customers. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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