PLM v BIM: United Or Separated?

January 13, 2014


Crossing boundaries is always lots of fun and opportunities. In blogging, it usually sparks so many discussions between people you can hardly see together. My recent blog PLM v BIM: common or different? surprised with the amount of debates on Facebook among my English and Russian speaking friends. Some of comments clearly hinted me onto “don’t cross my territory” messages. Jos Voskuil blog added more fuel into this discussion, so I decided to continue with the topic.

As it was stated in commentary, leading PLM vendors such as Dassault Systems and Siemens PLM are crossing borders of AEC industry and thinking how to apply PLM into BIM. And this is not started yesterday. Navigate to 3D Perspective of Dassault Systems Live Buildings shows first steps Dassault is making into BIM direction. Look on Siemens PLM website and you can see Capital Project Planning and Execution for AEC Services, which hints on the fact Siemens PLM won’t stay away from AEC business by proposing BIM and (new buzzword) BLM – Building Lifecycle Management. I found very interesting 5D press release from Siemens PLM dated back in 2012.

All together it made me think about potential disruption that might happen between PLM and BIM verticals and what it might cause for vendors and customers. So, PLM and BIM vendors can potential unite some services and products. Would it be good idea and what impact it will make on industry, partners, customers? Sounds like a big topic for a single blog. So, to keep it simple I decided to share one reason why to unite PLM and BIM and why we would prefer to keep it separate.

Why to unite PLM and BIM?

Unification and convergence in software products can lead to simplification and reduce software development waste. I can see significant amount of technologies and products that can be united and converged between manufacturing and AEC domains.

Storage, files, viewing, revisions, data management, data sharing – all these artifacts and activities should be seamlessly applied to AEC and manufacturing domain. Especially, when industry moves towards cloud services, it doesn’t make much sense to keep these services separate. Communication and collaboration tools have no borders. To keep separate tools to collaborate between architects and mechanical engineers sounds like a weird idea.Project management is pretty much single discipline. In my view, application that can keep track of your project activities, deliveries and schedules should be consolidated and converged among manufacturing and AEC domains.

Why to separate PLM and BIM?

Technologies are easy, but people are really hard. We strive to individual and professional differences and specific communities. It helps us to reduce information noise and stay more focused. It helps us to bring specific professional practices. It helps to companies to be more focused in sales and go to market activities. Every industry has specially developed language, terminology and practices. All together it might lead to specific vertical products, lifecycle models and business processes that cannot be cross-utilized without significant changes.

PLM and BIM products are traditionally distributed using different partnership networks. Companies involved in two different industries have hard time to justify cost and specific business practice structures. All together it provides lots of reasons why PLM and BIM should stay away and not intertwine in the future.

What is my conclusion? I have no silver bullet about future trajectories of PLM and BIM. Nevertheless, I’m confident some of services and products provided by both verticals such as storage, viewing, data management are better to be united. For most of vendors and customers it will eliminate waste and allow to focus on better (and simpler) solutions. At the same time, focused solutions, vertical products, sales specialists and and go to market strategies are better stay separated. The last one includes producing of new buzzwords, which probably should stay back in 20 century. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

PLM v BIM: Common or Different?

January 1, 2014


As a matter of fact, PLM and BIM domains are quite independent. Nevertheless, I can hear more and more voices recently trying to create a marriage between these two. The latest one that caught my attention just before New Year party was Jos Voskuil’s blog – 2014 The year the construction industry will discover PLM? It is a bit long, but very thoughtful article speaking about variety of topics related to history, development and perspective of PLM and BIM usage. Have a read. My favorite passage is the following one:

An intermediate conclusion might be that construction companies follow the same direction as early PLM. Standardizing the data (model) to have a common understanding between stakeholders. Construction companies might not want to implement a PLM system as ownership of data is unclear as compared to manufacturing companies every discipline or department in PLM might be another company in the construction industry.

Data collaboration between people having different ownership and purpose on working with data is something that clearly can provide PLM and BIM perspective. At the same time, as you getting down to the earth, you might discover so many differentiability.

Thinking about technology and data deliveries as we move from files on hard discs to data in the cloud, lots of "application specifics" can disappear in the future by providing single collaborative cloud data platform to run variety of calculations and processes.

So, I can see a point why technologically driven people can see how to combine PLM and BIM to provide a broader unified platforms. At the same time, going down to bits you can discover lots of differentiations in data, terminology, processing and more. All together made think about what are top 3 common and different characteristics of PLM and BIM.

Top 3 commons:

1- Data Sharing. Both PLM and BIM solutions have a need to share and access a combined set of 3D and 2D product and project data with different roles and access requirements. Data can belongs to the same organization as well as different organizations.

2- Project management. Whatever we do, we call it projects. You can find some specifics between discrete manufacturing and building projects, but we would like to organize people and teams around deliveries and timeline.

3- Visualization. Both PLM and BIM have a strong tendency to visualize the objects. It doesn’t matter what – airplane, building, car or just office design. We want to see and experience it virtually before making it real. It even come in commonality of processes such as clash detection.

Top 3 differentiations:

1- Single model. You can hear both PLM and BIM people are talking about single model. It sounds similar, but I can see a big difference in handling of variety of Bill of Materials (EBOM, MBOM, etc.) vs. different elements of information about building (architecture, construction, equipment, etc.)

2- Processes and changes. Even every definition of what is process in the world sounds similar, I can see significant difference in the way changes and data integrity should be maintained between manufacturing product development and construction projects. The variety of specific models, data definitions, reporting, updates and many other specific won’t allow to create a single solution to support both manufacturing (PLM) and construction (BIM) domains.

3- Tools, Apps and terminology. At the end of the day, we are talking about people. Both PLM and BIM are representing almost different set of programs for design, planning, etc. These two tool sets are providing specific language and terminology. Even if some techie people can see similarity between them, it is often goes very down to HEX code, rather than to practical similarity. People are regular to use their apps and terminology and to make them change their behavior for sake of PLM and BIM unification sounds like a crazy task and mission impossible.

What is my conclusion? I can see some infrastructure commonality that can come in the future between PLM and BIM implementations. It will come first from tech and computing infrastructure. As much as we go towards cloud based solution, we might see some re-use of sharing of multidisciplinary solutions for data management, project organization, visualization, mobile access, etc. However, both manufacturing (PLM) and construction (BIM) industries will keep specific data organization, processes and terminological differences that will drive diversity in solution delivery. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Why PLM and BIM fail in the same way?

May 5, 2012

I want to come back to the topic that drives more of my interest lately – BIM and PLM. In my view, PLM and BIM have some future potential. It will come from "post-interoperability" world – the word when vendors stop fighting data and will start a fight for openness. I was writing about that almost four years ago in my post – PLM and BIM: Common Roots or Common Future? We are still not in the post-walled-garden world, and I’m not expecting it coming soon. This post is not about a bright future of PLM/BIM 3.0, but about some observation about similarity in failure of both PLM and BIM.

I’ve been reading an article in aecbytes – Getting a BIM Rap: Why Implementations Fail, and What You Can Do About It. The article is talking about two main non-technological aspects related to implementation and adoption of BIM practices and products – people factor and change factor. Here is my favorite passage:

BIM implementation is not really about software. It’s about organizational change—and wrenching, disruptive change at that. Our experiences—and the experiences of our clients—have demonstrated that people and processes are far more important than technology.

Of course, BIM is an absolutely wonderful tool, and it has great potential to streamline costs and processes, to help different disciplines communicate effectively and to ensure little confusion on a job site. But to get to that promised land of benefits, you have to pass through the wilderness of adoption, which always seems to hinge on organizational change, not technology. This is the inconvenient truth.

It made me think about additional aspects of commonality between PLM and BIM – they fail in the same way. Which led me to some thoughts related to adoption of both PLM and BIM software.


Do you remember the following post I made a year ago – PLM: How to Fix Technologies and Stop Fixing People? I wrote it after listening to John Gage keynote at COFES 2011. One of the phrases resonated – “Technology is easy. People are hard“. The influence of people is a significant factor in software product implementation that requires from people to re-think the way they are doing their business. Both PLM and BIM software can eliminate some roles in organizations and change business processes between organizations. It makes the process of software adoption long and complicated. This is a place where failure comes very often.


Changes is another aspect, which very often comes together with data and process oriented software like PLM and BIM. The specific character of almost every enterprise-level data and process management software is to focus on how to change organization – improve processes, re-organize business relationships, change tools, etc. It is extremely hard to people, since change is hard. So, it leads to failures.

What is my conclusion? To work with people is hard. To make a software for people is double-hard. The time when software adoption was a problem of people is in the past. "Consumer behavior" is coming to enterprise software. Vendors in both PLM and BIM domains need to take a note and re-think the way software works. Painless adoption, user experience, adaptive behavior related to potential change – these elements need to become a priority for the next wave of PLM and BIM software. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

BIM Open Source – Stimulus for PLM?

September 15, 2011

Open source is trending. I think, Android success and some other OSS projects created some winds towards future open source adoption. In my view, companies are taking notes. I was reading Graphic Speak article Autodesk releases Revit IFC Explorter as open source.

Autodesk today released its Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) exporter for Revit as open source code. Going forward the code will be managed by a five-person committee, one of whom will be an Autodesk employee.

I’ve been writing about "open source" before. However, most of my posts were about PLM and Open Source. You can take a look on some of my previous blog posts – PLM Wood And Open Source Termites and PLM and Open Source Big Games. One of the key elements of every open source solution is a community. Therefore, I found the following passage is very important:

The Revit IFC exporter open source code is managed by a five-member steering committee composed of one Autodesk employee and four members of the AEC Building Information Modeling (BIM) community. The Revit IFC Exporter Open Source Committee is chaired by Emile Kfouri, BIM application development manager, Architecture, Engineering and Construction Solutions, Autodesk.

PLM Open Source Stimulus

I found BIM is more friendly with Open Source compared to PLM. I don’t have much experience in this space, therefore, wanted to ask my BIM blogging colleagues to close my educational gap related to some solutions I discovered such as BIM Server, Open Source BIM and maybe some others. However, I made a notice and think IFC is playing a significant role in helping to establish BIM Open Source. I think, some standards like STEP or maybe JT Open can play a similar role in PLM?

What is my conclusion? I think the dynamic between BIM and PLM Open source development can be interesting. Even if BIM and PLM are different from the business standpoint, I can see a similarity in some technological and product foundations. What is your take on this? I’m looking forward to hearing both PLM and BIM people here. Please, speak your mind.

Thanks, Oleg

[categories Daily PLM Think Tank]

COFES, PLM, BIM and Augmented Reality

April 15, 2011

The first day at COFES 2011 over. I hope, you had a chance to follow COFES 2011 via twitter (COFES2011). If not, navigate your browser to the following link. COFES is always a good time to have a conversion with bunch of really smart people. It gives lots of materials for inspiration and… yes, blogging. This afternoon I had a chance to attend pre-COFES session: Augmented reality: Practical Business Applications presented by Joseph Juhnke of Tanagram Partners. I posted about augmented reality before. You can take a look on my earlier post: The Role of Augment Reality in PLM. Back that time, I’ve seen some interesting augment reality implementations for virtual identification, virtual design, simulation.

I found today’s presentation made by Joseph very inspiring. Part of the presentation was dedicated to the presentation of pictures with possible use cases for augmenting reality from BIM and PLM space. Take a look on the following pictures and make your opinion.

What is my take? I think we are standing in front of a very big distraction in enterprise systems in general and PDM/PLM specifically. It is about changing “user experience”. In one of my tweets today I asked if “NUI” – natural user interface is a future. In my view, presentation of the information in a more natural way, can change a lot. “Augment reality” can play a significant role in making this change happen. Is it a time for PLM companies to re-think some of their UI concepts?

Just my thougths…

Best, Oleg

PLM Practice in Building Industry?

February 23, 2011

I read TechCrunch publication New York City To Put QR Codes On All Building Permits By 2013 this morning. This publication made me think about some common approaches that can be used in PLM and BIM software. Time ago, I had a chance to share my thoughts about PLM and BIM similarity. According to TechCrucnh:

Smartphone users who scan a QR code on a construction permit in New York, according to a press release from the mayor’s office, will get “details about the ongoing project – including the approved scope of work, identities of the property owner and job applicant, other approved projects associated with the permit, [and] complaints and violations related to the location.”

The QR codes will link users to a mobile version of the Department of Buildings Information System, and will give them the option to click a link that will initiate a phone call to the city’s 311 phone service, where they can register a complaint about noise, safety or other concerns.

What is my conclusion? Using Serial Numbers is a common approach in manufacturing industry for years. It seems to me building industry is trying to adopt some practices from manufacturing. QR Code is not much different from S/N. Last month, during SolidWorks World 2011, Dassault SolidWorks made an announcement about future products in building industry. It makes sense to re-use some manufacturing experience DS in manufacturing. Autodesk and Bentley Systemsare long time players in this space. Will PLM roots help DS to take some portion of construction market? A good question.

Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

PLM Downstream – Sent from my iPad?

August 6, 2010
I had a chance to read “Sent from my iPad”  on VEKTORRM last week. Dave Angelotti discussed an option to use iPad as a field device. It seems interesting. It made me think about lots of un-realized options for PLM innovation in downstream. Last year, I wrote – PLM content downstream usage, Googlenomic and Futuristic Search. Looking now on this post it seems to me much less futuristic. iPad experience helps… I decided to put few “downstream scenarios” and hope to get more ideas from you.

PLM Downstream Scenarios

(1) Sales. I can see many scenarios where sales-people will be able to have an access to configured catalog of products to facilitate sales. This is a dumb simple scenario. However, the complexity of the scenario is to have it well integrated with other systems.

(2) Manufacturing Shopfloor. In my view, there is an opportunity to use it to replace printed documents on the shopfloor. Do you think it may work? I talked to few people about this option last week. They told that iPad screen size is probably too small. Or maybe we need to wait for iBoard (you can take a look on the following joke about iPhone-iPad-iBoard-iMat)?

(3) Maintenance Operation. This is another similar to manufacturing shopfloor situation. The accessibility of the device may play a key role in getting an access to the right information during maintenance procedures.

The Missing Part of Puzzle?

Do you think device is important? My bet is yes. Sometime, innovative ideas have a very long path to people. To make them possible the unique combination of events needs to happen. It might be cost of components, environment or just device or available technology. The ultimate goal is to get rid of paper from downstream. This is a real innovative goal, in my view. It makes a lot of sense from various standpoints – information access, ecology, etc. Don’t you think iPad is the missing part of Puzzle to make it happen?

What is my conclusion? From my experience, the following three iPad characteristics ultimately help to iPad proliferation in downstream – (1) Lightweight; (2) Connectivity; (3) Power consumption. I think iPad creates a significant option for PLM (and BIM) innovation in the downstream applications- sales, manufacturing facilities, field operations, etc. What I like in iPad is an ability to create a platform for lots of powerful and focused applications. Not a big PLM show, focus matters!

Best, Oleg


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 287 other followers