PI Congress: Product development as we have known it, is dying…

February 25, 2013

I spent the beginning of this week in Berlin attending PI (Product Innovation) congress. Navigate to the following link to learn more. The event is a successor of PLM Innovation conference happened in the past in London, Munich and Atlanta. The even was organized by Market Key in partnership with CIMdata. This year event was expanded to cover product design in addition to PLM related topics. The event is vendor neutral. With about 300 guests and representation of many CAD and PLM vendors, it provided a good place to discuss and get updated about what happens in product development world (PLM included). The primary focus of the event was clearly about customer presentations. Even so, PI congress was blessed by several well-known keynote speakers – Steve Wozniak, Prof. Martin Eigner and few others. In addition to that, exhibition provided a good opportunity to see demos and speak to vendors. Below some of my thoughts as an outcome of two event days.

PLM – changes are coming

I must credit Peter Bilello of CIMdata for a truly provoking title of this blog post. I took it from his presentation: The future of PLM – enabling radical collaboration. We are facing changes driven by two major factors – new social-savy workforce and “maker” movements. I specially liked the following slide from Peter’s presentation – Radically connected… Kids.

We have new reality and new people. These people will influence future priorities of manufacturing companies and will drive industry changes as individuals. We can debate timing of when it will happen, but this is more tactical. Strategically, new social workforce will drive future changes in the industry.

Another interesting aspect of product development changes is related to new technologies. They are going to impact product design as it is today. Key factors here are connectivity, social networking and big data. All together they are changing the way product designed and manufactured. The transformation comes from the connection these technologies are establishing between development processes and business goals.

Large successful mono-PLM projects

A significant part of PI Congress was dedicated to customer presentations. This is one of the sweet spots of this conference. To listen to customers and how they implement existing product and technologies is the main reason to come. This year, PI Congress introduced few remarkable presentations from The Boeing Company, GETRAG, Dana Holding, Andritz, Kennametal, Autoliv and few others. I found these presentations very interesting and educational. It shows that value of PLM is recognizable by companies and organizations are strategically focused on driving more PLM implementations to improve their development processes.

The downside experience of these implementations (I call them “mono-PLM”) is related to effort and cost. Most of them are multi-year and focusing on how to replace a zillion of legacy application with a single PLM platform like it was presented on a picture above. All these implementations are good and provide value to companies. However, some of these companies are not comfortable even to speak about the cost of these implementations. In my view, this is an indication of potential cost/value ratio problem.

Interdisciplinary integrated PLM

The complexity of PLM implementation is growing. Integration theme was dominant in most of the presentations done by customers, analysts and industry experts. Here are few examples showing the importance of information assets integration during PLM implementation.

Speaking more, Peter Bilello of CIMdata discussed the convergence of Configuration Management, PLM and System Engineering as the only way to solve the problem of complexity.

What is my conclusion? I want to get back to my conclusion about PLM perfect storm 2012 one year ago. In my view, we will see more changes and disruption in coming years. Three main driving factors – cost of implementations, complexity of product development and consumerization of IT. All together, they will provide a perfect eco-system to innovate. My recommendation to customers these days is not to make 5 years commitments. To vendors – don’t trust status quo. Your potential competitors are not reading emails and still working from a garage space. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Thoughts about PLM Conferences

November 1, 2012

Last week I attended PLM Innovation Americas 2012 conference in Atlanta. I already published few posts inspired by the conference – PLM Innovation and 5 PLM Trends and PLM Innovation: Who will provide PLM to Boeing in 2015? Few facts about the conference itself: about 250 attendees, reasonable sized for large presentation and small roundtables. Exhibition floor was presented by all PLM vendors. This is one of very few vendor-independent PLM conferences. Actually, I know only one more – PLM Roadmap. I’ve been reading blogs and twitter stream from the last PLM Innovation. The following press release caught my attention – PLM Road Map To Be Presented with PLM Innovation Americas 2013.

CIMdata, Inc., the leading global PLM strategic management consulting and research firm, announces that it will be co-locating its PLM Road Map conference in conjunction with MarketKey’s PLM Innovation conference in 2013, the date to be announced. The name of the combined event will be Product Innovation Featuring the PLM Road Map. Both organizations will participate in planning and program development for these events. CIMdata brings its extensive PLM knowledge and 20 years of PLM Road Map experience to bear. MarketKey provides its marketing and event organization skills to the combined effort.

It made me think why PLM events became so rare and what can make non-vendor event successful and popular. In the world of the web, blogs, youtube and social media, you need to provide something very special to drive people to get on board of airplanes and travel across the country to attend the conference for few days. I found only one reason to come – to listen to customer stories and speak to customers live.This unique opportunity is priceless and can justify the time and money you need to spend.

Actually, I found a confirmation of my idea reading Michael Fauscette blog post Recap of Oracle Open World 2012. Michael is comparing Oracle Open World and Salesforce.com user conference Dreamforce by analyzing how customers were presenting during the conference. Here is an interesting passage:

Having just attended Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce conference two weeks before OpenWorld it’s hard not to compare the two mega-conferences. Both vendors put on a great show, but there were some differences. For me the thing that Salesforce did right, and I think is clearly a best practice in vendor conferences, was weaving powerful customer stories, told by executive from those customers, all through every keynote and discussion. In other words Salesforce lets its customers tell much of its story. This is simply not true of Oracle. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of Oracle customer stories involved, many in the form of videos, but the approach is just different. Oracle prefers to tightly control the message and have its executives present the information, backed up mostly by customer videos. It’s just not as compelling to me, and its a shame because there are some great customer stories to tell.

What is my conclusion? In our online world, there is a single reason to come and attend the conference – to connect and speak to customers. In this context, vendor-independent events are more appealing. During these events, customer can speak about real customer experience without obligation to promote a specific vendor. These are speeches that help you to learn a lot about the product, implementations and industry practices. Unfortunately, there are not so many PLM vendor-independent events. I’m looking forward to seeing more PLM events in 2013. Vendors should take a note to promote customer presentations during the events. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of [fotographic1980] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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