How many execs will be killed by Frankensoft PLM platforms?

June 17, 2015

plm-frankersoft-pic

I’ve been following CIMdata PLM roadmap for HTE event on twitter yesterday. Navigate to the following link if you want to see tweets. One of the topic that CIMdata put on the agenda was “PLM platformization”. You can take a deep look on what is behind CIMdata’s fancy definition of “platformization” by navigating to the following link – A CIMdata Dossier: PLM Platformization. According to Peter Bilello of CIMdata, platformization is the future of PLM.

plm-platformization

It made me think about the trajectory of PLM implementations in most of manufacturing organizations that already have some PLM experience. My hunch is that most of manufacturing companies in the world that are able to grasp the idea of PLM implementations already made at least 1-2 attempts to implement PLM. Some of these companies are probably running more than one PLM systems because of legacy, M&A or other reasons.

I cannot resist by placing the following “spaghetti” system picture below tweeted by Stan Przybylinski. I guess this is a very typical representation of how processes are managed using existing legacy software and bunch services.

plm-system-spaggetti

It made me think how “platformization” will solve a problem of PLM implementations. According to CIMdata, the challenge is a gap in PLM, which is created between vision, technology and implementation. I couldn’t agree more. The dilemma is always between vision and the next step. Some people want to see a big picture, some people just want to focus on the next step. PLM vendors clearly focused on a big picture and missed the next step.

ZDNet article Legacy tech can kill the CIO by Michael Krigsman gives you a very interesting perspective on how organizations are adopting new technologies. I like the following passage:

The cost of maintaining legacy infrastructures can crowd-out the company’s investment in new technology. Research from Forrester indicates that only 28 percent of IT investment goes toward innovation; the remainder supports old technology. Users may resist adopting new technology even when better alternatives are available. The so-called diffusion of innovation is an old problem, identified in a book first published in 1962, by Everett M. Rogers.

The former chief technology officer of Portugal Telecom, Manuel Rosa da Silva, said: Our legacy holds us back. Hiding all this legacy is like putting on cosmetic cream to hide wrinkles. Unless you take a machete to your legacy and kill applications, you won’t get anywhere.

What is my conclusion? Manufacturing companies invested tons of money and resources in the implementations of PLM systems. It allowed to gather experience and learn from mistakes. I think companies achieved great results too. I know many examples of brilliant PLM implementations. However, what is not clear for most of manufacturing companies today is how to make a next step into future of PLM and new platforms. For many companies it sounds like one more commitment to invest 5 years and millions of dollars into replacement of existing PLM assets. The question about platformization is coming exactly here and it look likes big picture is still not connected with the next step. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Picture credit ZDNet article and Workday


Bill of Materials (BOM) and product lifecycle open loops

May 19, 2015

integration-loop-bom

It is hard overestimate the importance of Bill of Materials for product development. In my keynote at ProSTEP iViP symposium in Stuttgart earlier this month I’ve been sharing my thoughts why developing of single BOM across multiple disciplines in critical for organization. I wanted to bring few examples that can demonstrate why having a single BOM strategy can bring benefits to product development and manufacturing organization.

Earlier today, at Siemens PLM connection event in Dallas, I captured the following slide demonstrating an integrated approach in design, manufacturing, planning and production. What is really interesting is how as-design, as-planned and as-build views in PLM are integrated with design, manufacturing, planning and production.

integrated-bom-plm-mes-mom

Few days ago, I the following article by 3D CAD World article caught my attention – Progress in closing the product lifecycle’s loops  by Peter Bilello, president of CIMdata. The article speaks about the importance of collaboration across diverse enterprise groups.

For many years, the PLM industry has greatly benefited from a steady stream of improvements in collaboration among ever more diverse enterprise groups—in data interoperability, for example, and in the transparency of workflows and processes. The development, manufacture and support of globally competitive new products are, however, still hamstrung by the remaining open loops new and old.

Later in the article it came to the topic I was looking for – Bill of Materials. According to article, BOM is a biggest remaining challenge to make integration running smooth. Here is the passage, which explains that.

Between engineering, manufacturing and finance, a big remaining challenge is the bill of materials (BOM) in its many forms—the as-designed BOM, the as-engineered BOM, the as-manufactured BOM, and so on. Generated and managed with PLM and often executed by enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, BOMs themselves are loop closers. PLM-ERP connectivity and interoperability are steadily improving, but some open-loop issues are resolved only after time consuming face-to-face meetings.

What is my conclusion? Single BOM could be a great thing if vendors will figure out how to implement that. As you can learn from Biello’s article, PLM-ERP has open-loop issue and BOM is a tool to close that. However, companies are concerned about bringing single BOM strategy since it can raise lot of organizational challenges for them. At the same time, the demand for better integration and collaboration can put companies in front of decision to bring single BOM to close open loops between engineering, manufacturing and production anyway. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 


Cloud is not the way to rethink PLM. Then what?

April 1, 2015

CIMdata PLM forum yesterday was a good place to discuss ideas that from a first look can sound a bit crazy. One of them – how to rethink PLM. Wait… you can say. We just came to some sort of understanding about what is PLM and how to sell PLM values to management. There are enough references online from customers that sharing information about how to plan, implement and maintain PLM environment. Why do we need to rethink it?

Here is the thing. My attention caught by the results of the following poll during CIMdata forum (see below). What will be the biggest market disruptions. The results are a bit surprising. The future PLM disruption isn’t coming from cloud, social or new user devices. On the other side, new business models came to the focus.

So, what does it mean to PLM?

plm-rething-business-models-cimdata

The simple and straightforward answer on this question – customers are looking for cheaper PLM licenses or subscriptions to ease future proliferation of PLM in an organization. It might be true and there is a demand to lower license cost. Now, imagine the dream- to license price of PLM is $0 (zero). Does it make a significant change in the way you think about PLM? Maybe a bit. But I don’t see the PLM adoption problem solved by doing that. Actually, there is one PLM vendor who is not selling PLM licenses, but selling optional subscription – Aras.com. There is high interest to discover new PLM business model developed by Aras, but other PLM vendors are catching up providing subscription based PLM licenses too. So, where is the problem?

One of things I want to discuss is implementation lifecycle. In other words what it takes organization to agree about PLM implementation. The first and most critical step in every PLM implementation is planning. This is a step when company is engaging with business and technical sales people. It is also the time when companies are actively collaborating internally and with PLM consultants to create and/or tailor PLM implementation plan. There is nothing wrong with that, but…. it takes time and it is very costly process. What is the alternative, you can ask? This is $1M question and I’m not sure have an answer.

However, here are some of my thoughts.

1- PLM planning and implementation should turn agile. For the last few years, agile became de-facto product development standard for software companies. PLM vendors and manufacturing companies should discover agile world for PLM implementations. It goes around 3 main things- how to start fast; how to capture data painlessly and how to solve interoperability problem. More thoughts about PLM agile practices here.

2- Take PLM away from corporate process alignment. There are no perfect companies (although some of my friends from manufacturing companies may disagree). Every company is messy in their own way. We should disconnect PLM implementations from solving corporate politics and internal conflicts. Easy to say, but hard to implement. In my view, focus on providing useful tools that company can leverage fast can be helpful.

3- Look on PLM as a tool to manage a complete product lifecycle. Today most of PLM implementations are starting in engineering department and crawl towards manufacturing and support organizations. PLM industry did it for the last decade and it is proven as complex and painful process. What if PLM tools will provide a way for company to manage product lifecycle by focusing on critical milestones – requirements, product data, marketing, design, manufacturing, supply chain, sales, support.

What is my conclusion? The existing paradigm of PLM is to focus on engineering lifecycle and resolving complexity of existing business processes. It is complex and has few critical points of failure. Crawling through corporate politics and conflicts to create process management tool is costly and slow. It is a time to rethink PLM with new paradigm of lifecycle management. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


CIMdata PLM forum: platformization and obsolescence

April 1, 2015

sustainable-plm-platform

I’m returning home from CIMdata PLM market forum in Ann Arbor. For those of you who are not familiar with CIMdata and this event, take a moment of time and look here. Today’s event is the first in a row of "CIMdata world tour" to review 2014 PLM market analysis. You can see agenda and list of topics discussed at forum today. You can also take a look on the twitter stream here. The day was packed with information and it will take some time to digest it. The information about PLM market share, numbers, dynamics and vendors specific is available from CIMdata. PLM market grew up 6.8% in 2014 to $37.2B (vs. 5.8% forecast), which is obviously a good thing.

Two topics caught my special attention today – PLM "platformizaiton" and PLM "PLM obsolescence". I want to share my observations and thoughts about it after presentations and discussion at CIMdata forum.

PLM platformization

This is a new buzzword CIMdata is coming to discuss a broad trend in PLM industry. How existing PLM products and tools will be transformed into "business platforms"? In my view, the topic is important but controversial. It is going back to the reality of many PLM implementations – a diverse set of tools used by a company in a different areas of design, engineering, manufacturing, supply chain, etc. "Platformization" is a process, which supposed to run product development differently, innovate and transform PLM tools into new type of business process.

In my view, the discussion about platform is very important. It can make PLM industry more integrated and open. However, it raises many questions: 1/ What is a difference between business platform and integrated set of tools. 2/ How platforms delivered by PLM vendors will form a business platform for a specific customer; 3/ How multiple platforms will co-exist in a universe of large and small manufacturing companies.

According to CIMdata, "platformization" is not coming to replace PLM, but supposed to bring a better vision of PLM business and innovation.

PLM obsolescence

What is a lifecycle of PLM implementation? How often companies are replacing PLM systems? How to create a sustainable product development environment which will support manufacturing company for a period of product lifecycle (some of them are 25+ years)? These are very interesting and important questions.

Manufacturing companies are seriously concerned about sustainability of PLM platforms and tools. To replace PLM system was often a very painful process. Companies often considered this step only after PLM vendors stopped to develop and support PLM products. A traditional approach of "rip and replace" was criticized by customers, vendors and industry community. At the same time, vendors and customers didn’t find many alternatives to a brutal process of PLM platform replacements. In my view, cloud can impact PLM platform sustainability because of increased interest of vendors to support software lifecycle.

What is my conclusion? I found platformization and obsolescence topics connected. Here is the thing… Vendors and customers are concerned about sustainability and progress of PLM platform development. The "rip and replace" approach was always problematic for customers and manufacturing vendors. Even so, many vendors handled that in the past. We are coming to the point of time when customers won’t be able to afford a big bang PLM replacement processes. The fundamental issue is to rethink the way we are managing product lifecycle – existing PLM paradigm. Industry is looking how to make continues delivery of PLM platforms together with new solutions. Companies are more connected these days. Future PLM solutions should enable collaboration between different players in PLM eco-system and remain sustainable for a long time. Just my thoughts..

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


How to prevent cloud PLM integration mistakes

February 2, 2015

connected-plm-erp

Cloud is huge enabler for collaboration between people. It makes your data and processes accessible everywhere from a browser. It can help you to collaborate between engineers and suppliers. It can help you to integrate systems and people across enterprise.

Let me speak about the last one. The integration topic is actually tricky. I’ve been sharing some of my thoughts about cloud integration challenges – Integration is holding back PLM cloud adoption few months ago. Last week, I had a chance to attend two webinars about PLM and integration.

Become a Connected Manufacturing Enterprise with Agile Integration by Jitterbit. The following picture gives you a perspective on a problem of “connected manufacturing” and architecture solutions like Autodesk PLM360 and Jitterbit are solving this problem.

plm360-jitterbit-1

Here is the view that shows you the reality of mixed (cloud and on-premise) integrations.

plm360-jitterbit-2

Another webinar by CIMdata – “PLM & ERP: What’s the Difference, and Why Should you Care?” is providing another perspective on integration challenges between engineering an manufacturing.

cimdata-plm-erp-1

cimdata-plm-erp-2

Companies are moving into mixed cloud and on premise environment. This is a reality and we cannot avoid it. So, for a foreseeable future, we will have to deal with integration of multiple systems – some of them will continue to run on premises and some of them will be elsewhere (public cloud). It made me think about potential mistakes you can run into while integrating systems.

1- Lost data semantics

Most of integration scenarios are about how to send data back and forth between systems. It is hard to keep semantics of data and not to loose it when exchanging information. So, define what data means and keep an overall integration data schema. Otherwise, the result can be messy.

2- Data transfer limitation

Although some of integration infrastructure can allow you to implement data exchange quickly, you can underestimate the bandwidth requirements. Sending large packets of data can cause significant latency and create runtime errors and problems. Check what monitoring tools are available to handle such situations.

3- Transaction management

Most of manufacturing systems are sensitive to transactions. To manage distributed transactions can be tricky and require some fine tuning. Pay attention on how you handle error processing when integrating transaction system managing ordering, lifecycle and bill of materials.

What is my conclusion? The complexity of integration is growing. Cloud systems are bringing many advantages, but will create additional challenges to IT and professional services. Most of integrations are not working out of the box. New tools running from the cloud can help you to integrate it faster, but it will require good coordination with IT and planning upfront to prevent potential mistakes. Data integration is hard and requires experience and familiarity with manufacturing systems. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

photo credit: freefotouk via photopin cc


Can BOX become a platform for PLM?

January 20, 2015

box-collaboration

Platform is a topic, which comes quite often in the discussion about future of PLM. CIMdata recently came with a topic of “platformization” in PLM. You can catch up on the discussion – A CIMdata dossier: PLM platformization. I can probably divide all existing PLM platforms into two groups – 2D/3D design platform and Object Database Modeling platform. Last year, I charted some of possible options for a foundation of future PLM platform – System Engineering, 2D/3D services, product development standards, New database technologies. From another standpoint, the debates about future PLM platforms are often raising a question of single vs. federated platform for PLM.

New technological trends and demands of customers can bring new platforms into PLM world. One of them is cloud storage. I touched cloud storage topic in my article – CAD companies and cloud storage strategies. One of the points was related to longevity of “cloud storage” business. Cloud companies want to store your data. It gives them an opportunity to understand your business better. However, the prediction is that cloud storage cost is eventually coming to zero. Which leaves cloud companies with the need to develop solutions to elevate productivity and improve collaboration and document creation. This is where it comes to PLM as a future platform for product innovation.

BOX is a company which is located at the intersection of cloud storage and enterprise business. My attention was caught by BI article – In One Slide, Box Explains What Everybody’s Getting Wrong About The Company. Here is the slide:

box-enterprise-platform

Here is an interesting passage and conclusion from the article:

In an interview with Business Insider, Box CEO Aaron Levie said he knew storage business was going to turn into a commodity business back when he first started the company. Instead, he said he’s creating a platform business, where more value is added on top of things like storage, computing, and security. “It’s all about going into the top 8 to 10 industries and finding where are companies reimagining their business, where are they going digital, where are they transforming their business model, and how does Box act as a platform that could accelerate that push into the future,” he said. If the critics are right, Box is doomed. If Box is right, it has a chance at being a valuable enterprise company along the lines of Salesforce.

Looking on customers, partners and, especially BOX enterprise content collaboration platform, made me think about an interesting intersection between product lifecycle and BOX business. Of course BOX is not in the business of design and engineering software. However, enterprise collaboration has a significant overlap with what most of PLM platforms are providing – metadata, security, workflow, collaboration, content search. These are topics that always presented in PLM. It seems to me current focus of BOX is outside of manufacturing companies. However, maybe future BOX growth will take it towards manufacturing enterprises.

What is my conclusion? I don’t think BOX is focusing today on manufacturing companies. However, elements of BOX platform have a perfect sense when you think about product lifecycle collaboration. What is especially interesting is content collaboration on an enterprise scale. This is a topic, which most of PLM companies are struggling with. Existing PLM platforms have good representation in engineering domain, but lack of broad enterprise adoption. This is a place where future competition between PLM vendors and BOX (or similar companies) can occur. On the other side, BOX can become a platform to take PLM collaboration forward in enterprise companies. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Picture credits box.com


Why today’s CAD & PLM tools won’t become future platforms?

January 12, 2015

yesterdays-tools-are-failing-todays-engineers

PLM business and software vendors are transforming. Manufacturing companies are looking for new type of solutions that can give a faster ROI as well as become a better place for engineering and manufacturing innovation. The dissatisfaction of customers about slow ROI and low value proposition is growing. Back in 2012 I was listening to Boeing presentation – Reaching for the value of PLM at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. You can read my notes in the old blog post – PLM Innovation: Who will provide PLM to Boeing in 2015. I hope to hear more about new PLM trends at upcoming PLM Innovation congress in Dusseldorf next month and later this year at PI Americas in Boston in November 2015.

Earlier last year I posted – Traditional PLM have reached their limits. My main point was around ability to PLM platform to support a continues pipeline of business solutions in current business environment. Integration is one of the key inhibitors that preventing easy PLM implementation and deployment. However, from a broader perspective, existing PLM platforms were invented 10-20 years ago and vendors made only minor changes since then. In my view it means a lot in terms of changing paradigms of today’s business and computing environment and processes.

I found an interesting explanation about distribution nature of design in a recent blog by OnShape by Jon Hirschtick – Why we started from scratch (again) in the CAD business:

The Design World Has Changed – The way that design and manufacturing teams work together has dramatically changed. Teams that used to be under one roof are now fragmented and globally distributed. And teams are also changing faster, with people coming on and off projects all the time.

on-shape-website

Another provoking statement was made by Autodesk CEO Carl Bass at few conferences last year – Why yesterday’s tools are failing today’s engineers”. He speaks abut inefficient tools and a conflict of paradigms. You can watch his presentation here:

carl-bass-why-yesterday-tools

My attention was caught by CIMdata post – Platformization: The Next Step in PLM’s Evolution by Peter Bilello. An article speaks about what future development can support PLM growth and, specifically, about the impact of circular economy in manufacturing. Here is an interesting passage:

So what should/will the PLM enabling innovation platforms of the future look like? In my opinion, these platform-centric solutions need to be reliable, robust, and boundaryless. Reliable solutions must be able to withstand multiple system upgrades and platform migrations. In turn, these robust solutions must be adaptable, maintainable, extensible, scalable, reconfigurable, compatible, and stable. And finally, these boundaryless solutions must be free of artificial limitations on functionality that are imposed by the marketplace segmentation of design and engineering systems with conventional architectures. Meeting these characteristics will be a tall order for many of today’s commercially available PLM solutions, but one that must be met for the future of PLM to be successful.

I specially liked a notion of boundaryless solution and conventional architecture. It hard to say what is behind, but I wanted to speculate and connect it one of my previous articles – the end of single PLM database architecture is coming. To me it make sense – the amount of data is growing, companies are getting even more distributed, distributed design nature becomes a norm.

What is my conclusion? Existing tools and platforms limitation can slow down engineers and companies to innovate. Desktop tools and existing database architectures are limiting ways to implement and use them for new innovative process. Future PLM platforms will re-think existing design, product data management and business process paradigms by making them distributed and boundaryless. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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