Cloud and Traditional PLM Industries Trajectories

August 27, 2013

The cloud trend is shifting the direction. Only few years ago, we’ve been saying cloud focus is on consumer applications and public web. Lately we said – cloud clearly will impact small and medium business first. However, it looks like cloud will are going to see future shifts sooner than later. PLM cloud switch finally happened to all (I have to say almost all) PLM vendors. It made me think about what will happen to traditional PLM industries such as automotive, aerospace and defense.

My hunch, automotive industry will be the first "ready to go" with cloud from traditional PLM industries. Automotive Engineering and Technology Forum by AIAG can give you some confirmation to think about that. Navigate to the following link to read about coming forum in Southfield, MI in October. The name of the discussion panel is intriguing – Impact of Cloud Computing on Automotive Engineering. The name of moderator (Mike Payne) is even more intriguing. Mike’s name was behind well known companies such as PTC, SolidWorks, and SpaceClaim. The following passage outlines the future panel:

Computing has evolved over the years from one platform to the next. New approaches are catalyzed by the next platform. As it was in previous generations, there are naturally the early adopters and the followers. While this new platform offers the promise of enterprise-wide interoperability, and even beyond the enterprise to the ecosystem, there remain the challenges of the huge base of installed software. In this session we will explore with some of the movers and shakers in the software industry the opportunities offered by this new platform. We also discuss the barriers to having the cloud technologies used by everyone in an organization, just like many people already use cloud-based e-mail today, instead of the installed Exchange clients on their own premises.

What my conclusion? To adopt new technology platform is a risky game. Many industries were playing safe strategies. Which means to come late in the game. It worked in the past for some of them. However, 21st century proves to be different. It introduces new speed of success and failure we never seen before. Think about Google, Facebook, Kodak, Nokia and RIM. These are good examples of fast success and very fast failures. Speaking about automotive industry, think about Tesla and Detroit city… It will be very interesting to see what trajectories automotive and other traditional PLM industries will take with cloud PLM in a near future. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

PLM, Supply Chain and Cloud Adoption

April 22, 2011

Cloud is one of the most discussable topics in the industry. In the consumer web, cloud seems to be a proven option. I think, people are feeling very comfortable in the cloud these days. Days when people afraid to put their credit cards on the website for e-commerce gone forever. Earlier with Google and lately with Facebook, cloud becomes an obvious thing. However, when people talk about cloud adoption in the enterprise and manufacturing industry, things are not always as simple as Facebook climb towards 700 million users. I readDriving Automotive Industry to the cloud article by Ronald Teijken of IBM/Sterling Commerce. Ronald is speaking about the cloud opportunity in the Automotive supply chains. Here is my favorite passage:

Many manufacturers are wary of moving particular processes to the cloud, due to questions around trust and visibility. However, as manufacturers increasingly rely on IT to ensure the smooth running of their supply chains, the question of whether or not to move to the cloud is unavoidable. It provides some much needed elasticity both in terms of cost and more importantly the agility needed in the supply chain to support future growth.

This article made me think about some aspects of cloud implementation that can make the supply chain a low hanging fruit for cloud adoption.

Collaboration Space

When it comes to the communication between suppliers, the ultimate need is to have a space where both sides can collaborate easily and exchange information. In most of the industries (automotive is not exclusion), companies are not allowing a complete transparency between their internal data spaces. Therefore, to have a separate cloud-based environment can be a solution to improve communication between OEM and various suppliers.


This is another big question on the "cloud roadmap". It is always presented as a case why manufacturing companies won’t be interested to go alongside with the cloud. Put aside companies internal stories. To communicate with suppliers, data needs to go out anyway. This is a chance to public or near-private cloud to show up and establish a trustful position. Cost, reliability and availability can be factors to lead manufacturing to adopt it.

What is my conclusion?

Cloud is an interesting space these days. Leverage huge consumer market adoption, it will inspire people in the enterprise to adopt some of the best cloud examples. Will automotive manufacturing supply change be a "low hanging fruit"? I can see it possible… Just my thoughts, of course.

Best, Oleg

PLM Platform Wars: Who is Right or Who is Left?

February 25, 2011

CAD and PLM world is extremely competitive. The decision process in the manufacturing industry is not fast. Companies are spending significant budgets evaluating tools, benchmarking, comparing and, in the end of this process, supposed to make a right decision about what tools to use. During the last couple of months, I observed a growing amount of announcements made by PLM companies informing about "yet another major company" making a right choice by selecting a CAD or PLM system from a specific vendor.

Just few examples from Joe Brakai’s article: Industry on the Move — The Quest for Effective Global Product Lifecycle Management. PTC announcement about Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation (HKMC) about selection of PTC’sWindchill as its enterprise PLM software. Siemens PLM Software announced that Aston Martin is selecting the Siemens’NX CAD software for design and engineering, and Teamcenter PLM software to manage product and process information. Two months before, Daimler AG, selected NX as a corporate CAD Software standard. Earlier, Chryslerselected Teamcenter as its corporate-wide PLM software. Two months before, Volvo Group has adopted PTC’s Windchill. Here is my favorite passage from Joe’s article:

OEMs are realizing that the traditional heterogeneous and fragmented product lifecycle management environment, even when compromised of excellent tools, is unable to provide the level of visibility, manageability, and fidelity of decision-making required, and are taking steps to migrate to a design and manufacturing environment capable of supporting a global platform strategy. This environment must be standard-based and open in order to facilitate a single source of all data for design, manufacturing and supply chain processes across vehicle design and manufacturing programs.

Another interesting publication is Automotive Sector Ground Zero for PLM Battles by Beth Stackpole of Design News. Beth is discussing the same announcements made by PLM and major automotive vendors. However, I found the following passage interesting.

The automotive sector, which has a deep roots in evolving PLM software and practices, is shaping up as a fresh battleground for the major vendors in this category with all touting recent customer wins that play up their strengths and cement their positions as core development platforms for next-generation vehicles.

My best read about PLM movement in the automotive world is Al Dean’s article in Develop 3D – All Change in the Automotive World. I recommend you to have a read. Some of final Al’s thoughts struck me to think about V6 innovation.

There have been three pretty big moves away from Dassault or a decision to not take on Enovia during benchmarks. With a two year benchmark cycle being common, one has to wonder if there’s a link back to the launch of V6? A curious thing indeed.

In my view, V6 created disruption, innovation and challenge at the same time. The bundling of CATIA into Enovia V6 is creating a lot of possibilities that never been available before from the standpoint of collaborative design and data management. Initial introduction of the systems raised a lot of IT questions that need to be resolved.

What is my conclusion? I wanted to remind wise and relevant words of Bertrand Russell: “War does not determine who is right – only who is left”. The war between PLM platforms can become a disaster for customers. Customers are spending million of dollars investing money in "unbreakable closed platforms". Each of these systems contains lots of data, which has much bigger value compared to the software that eventually will be re-written every 5-10 years. I think, openness wins for a long run. In my view, PLM companies are only playing with openness. Who will take it seriously first? This might be a company that is left after the battle? Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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