Legacy Systems and Future Coolness of PLM Software.

May 30, 2013

Enterprise software sucks. How many times we’ve heard that for the last 5 years? Probably too many… I remember one of the first articles about that back in 2007 – Why Enterprise Software Sucks? by Jason Fried. The article got almost 100 comments, which confirmed that the topic does matter. Earlier this month, I found an article re-thinking the view on enterprise software – Why Enterprise Software sucks – 6 years later. Take some time and read these articles. There is a clear confirmation that trend towards developing better enterprise software is positive. While you can still see lots of crappy software used by enterprise organizations, enterprise software and SaaS is seeing lots of innovation. At the same time, legacy systems is one of the main factors that prevents enterprise software from innovation. Here is a very important passage:

One of the main reasons that enterprise software sucks is because enterprises are still using software from the 1990′s (or worse). Putting traditional enterprise systems in place is expensive, time consuming, and requires massive customization. Once it’s deployed, it gets relied on by other software, workflows, and processes. Over time, it becomes mission critical and a load bearing wall. Companies are entrenched in their systems and don’t dare touch it if it’s “working” (think: Windows XP).

Let’s get back to PLM. Think about typical situation of manufacturing company using PDM/PLM legacy systems. The deployment cycle of legacy PDM/PLM systems is 3-5 years from initial product introduction and demonstration. Installation and customization can potentially take up to 1-2 years to get it done. As a result of that, companies are using PDM software developed back in early 2000s. The average investment into an existing PDM/PLM deployment can be in the range from $0.5M up to millions of dollars. The level of complexity to update an existing system is high. The migration is combined from multiple factors – data import, customization of new systems, people training. Companies need to pay a lot of money to re-implement software and processes, which is a complicated decision in terms of product ROI.

What is my conclusion? The roots of future enterprise software coolness is deep in enterprise legacy products. The ability to transfer data and processes from old systems to new environment and keep ROI of these projects high – this is a major goal of new enterprise vendors these days. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

PLM: from EGOsystem to ECOsystem

December 1, 2012

I just came back AU2012 in Las Vegas. Among many meetings, I had during AU, I attended Innovation Forum – The Reality of the cloud. The reality of events these days that you can attend actively by participating in social networking via Twitter. One of the tweets during the cloud presentation was Chad Jackson’s: – Think about data as an eco-system.

"Think about data as an ecosystem" from the #Cloud #Innovation forum at #AU2012 twitter.com/ChadKJackson/s…

— Chad Jackson (@ChadKJackson) November 29, 2012

It made me think about PLM as data eco-system. Watch Gerd Leonhard presentation- The future of the internet (SoLoMo) futuristic presentation with strange title – Big Data, Big Mobile, Big Social. I found it is interesting. Navigate here to take a look.

Few slides caught my special attention in the context of PLM and Data Ecosystem discussion. One of them is related to Paul Baran research back in 1960 (way before the internet and even early PLM systems). He was pioneering some of early work related to computer networks. Navigate to the following link to read more. Here is an interesting passage:

The pioneering research of Paul Baran in the 1960s, who envisioned a communications network that would survive a major enemy attacked. The sketch shows three different network topologies described in his RAND Memorandum. The distributed network structure offered the best survivability.

Another slide that sticks in my memory was the comparison of Egosystem and Ecosystem. That slide made me laugh. Especially when I put it next to one of my previous post about PLM Egoism. Think about PLM system transformation. A year ago, during AU2011, I was talking about transformation from Database to Networks. This slide is representing the way how ego-centric PLMs need to be transformed into reliable and modern PLM eco systems.

What is my conclusion? Today’s PLM EGOsystems are not sustainable. The centralized approach made PLM implementation weak and not able to survive long term lifecycle, evolution and business changes. The result is heavy PLM systems that require propriety maintenance. Change management of these systems is either expensive or impossible. It is a time to think about data networks and networked system models. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

pictures courtesy of gleonhard presentation

PLM and IT Consumerization (PLM 2012 in Munich)

February 23, 2012

I had two very busy days in Munich attending PLM Innovation event. There were lots of great conversations, ideas and demos. Earlier today I had a chance to share my ideas of how Consumerization of IT will influence the future of Product Lifecycle Management. Below, I’d like to share slides of my presentation.

In a nutshell, consumerization shows a significant influence the technological disruption of modern web and mobile technologies in the enterprise. iPhone was a first event. Business as usual is not an option anymore. Five major disruption factors – mobile, social networks, consumerization, cloud and big data will influence future of PLM and enterprise, in general. Just my opinion…

Best, Oleg


PLM Jungle or PLM State?

October 7, 2010

I read a blog post by Stephen Porter of Zero Wait State called – The PLM State: Why can’t we all just get along?. I think Stephen raised an important question of vendors co-existence in the engineering software ecosystem. It made me think about PLM Software Landscape and trends going around.

PLM and Enterprise Software Trends

In my view, there are few important things that happen today in PLM and engineering software world. I’d like to name few of them – vertical integration, increased speed of change and influence of consumer software. Vertical integration becomes more and more important in PLM. Customers are not interested to spend time integrating products. Customer demanded to have things integrated and work together from the beginning. It raises many questions about how vendors will maintain integrations. Speed of change represents growing dynamics of businesses. Engineering and PLM software will need to adjust their clocks with businesses. 12 months changes processes seems to be as something that business will stop accepting very soon. The cost of change becomes even more important. It raises a lot of questions related to traditional software release frames and speed of updates. Influence of consumer software becomes crucial. I think, we love all new applications and devices that came to use for the last 5-7 years. You can see a clear difference between "weekend life" and "business week" life. I can see a clear demand of customers to adopt "consumer behaviors" in the enterprise.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

This is another very important aspect to mention. During the last 10-15 years, PLM and other enterprise software companies tried to apply best practices and other strategies related to software product unification. My conclusion after these years is simple – one size doesn’t fit all. The need for diversification becomes more and more clear. Solutions are moving towards customization and differentiations of users in the organization. It will imply a growing amount of multi-vendor software use by customers.

Focus on Customers

Last, but definitely not least. The relationships between customer and vendors are moving in a very interesting direction. It reflects the overall software trends towards openness and customer excellence. The growing amount of Open Source, SaaS and other new business models will decrease customer’s lock-in on a specific software. It reflected in what customers will be looking for in the future PLM and Engineering Software.

What is my conclusion? I think, changes are coming to PLM Jungle from the outside world. Current models will not survive. The wave towards more dynamic business, openness, and customer un-locking is too strong to ignore.

Best, Oleg

PLM Philosophies Collide

September 29, 2010

Somebody asked me last week about how I see th future of PLM… Does it look like-BOM or like-Workflow? I found this question very interesting. Bill of Materials and Workflow (or process management) are fundamentally two most important pieces of PDM and PLM systems for many years. So, we have them already in place. However, thinking about the future – what will be a dominant solution? Do we need re-invent the wheel? Is there any conflict here? I want to elaborate about both to see what future PLM looks like.

Bill of Material World

BOM is considered as a foundation of design, engineering and manufacturing. You can see it everywhere – design BOM in CAD system, Engineering BOM, Manufacturing BOM, Support and Service BOM. You can follow a product lifecycle by discovering different bill of materials. You can find lots of methodologies and systems that help you to handle your Bill of Material world. These things are really complicated. Bill of Materials represents many issues related to product development and in the end of the day you can think about a virtual Bill of Material representing everything.

Workflow World

Processes (or how we can simply call them Workflows) are very important for an organization too. They are a life blood of every manufacturing organization. Organization is running business processes and making overall execution of the business. We can classify them as local and global cross-department. Local are mostly focusing on departmental processes. The more interesting and challenging thing are cross-departmental processes. These processes are connected people working in different departments. Cross-departmental processes are very important if you think about the overall product lifecycle.

PLM Philosophies Difference

So, why I put BOM world against Workflow world? You can draw your organization in terms of Bill of Material and, at the same time, in terms of organizational processes. Is it about philosophy or about real development practices? In the early days of PDM and PLM, the main focus was absolutely on files, data management, revisions, Bill of Materials. Later, PLM system discovered “process world”. This “discovery” was part of the competition between PLM and ERP world. PLM systems made an upscale to compete in the high society. The “process approach” presented organic change to fit product development processes in organizations.

What is my conclusion?

I think, this question represents one of the biggest philosophical collide in engineering and manufacturing software. What will be the winning behavior in the future? It is hard to say. In my view, the end-game solution will need to provide answers to both sides of the problem. BOM and Worklow need to be equaly included into PLM solutions. Only together they can keep an organization to manage efficiently product lifecycle. Just my thoughts. What is your take?

Best, Oleg

The Future of TLA in Engineering Software?

September 22, 2010

Yesterday, I attended COFES Russia / isicad 2010 forum in Moscow. My presentation on the forum was about my view on the future of TLA (Three Letter Acronyms) in Engineering Software. You can see slides of my presentation below.

Later I run the round table about the future PLM technologies. Here are my key takeaways. Last decade was a decade of consolidation in Enterprise Software and PLM. Not much was done beyond that. Consumer software, the Internet and specially Web 2.0 applications will provide a significant impact on the future of technologies and products in Engineering and Manufacturing Software. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Top Five PLM Software Challenges for 2010s

December 27, 2009

We are coming to the new decade, and I found interesting to drop my thoughts related to what I’d expect in 2010s from Product Lifecycle Management. I think last 10 years were the period of initial introducing of PLM concepts on the market. Initial came in early 2000s as a transformation of Engineering Data Management and Product Data Management, PLM emerged as an integrated information oriented approach to manage a product lifecycle.

1.  Find Simple Solution for Complex PLM Problems. Most of the people in the industry today agreed about the need to manage a product lifecycle. However, opinions about what should be a way to do so are very different. This is in my view the biggest PLM problem today. PLM considered as a complex, expensive, service-depended software initiative. Established PLM brands as well as newcomers are trying to explode complexity of PLM. I think it will be the biggest challenges PLM companies will try to resolve in coming years.

2. Explore New Business Models
. Life is going to be different in the next ten years in everything that related to business models. PLM will not be able to continue existing business model with mostly direct sales, heavy reliance on the service offering by partners and marathon of new product releases with new features. What will come next? Open Source, Online / SaaS services or maybe even “Free” options. Time will show…

3. Processes beyond Engineering. PLM is very much about what engineering is doing. Most of products became mature in design and engineering. At the same time, there is no significant presence of PLM products related to disciplines outside of R&D departments.

4. Internet Technologies Adoption.
Majority of PLM systems was created based on previously available EDM/PDM and CAD products. Some of the products related to ERP offering inherited lots of ERP technologies. However, nature of PLM products drives Product Lifecycle Management into areas where Internet technologies demonstrated clear differentiation – scale of data management, integration, collaboration, information sharing. PLM needs to stand in front of complicated decisions about how to adopt various internet technologies to keep tecnological leadership.

5. Develop Open Strategies.
For the long period of time CAD (and PLM too) considered as not open products. This is come initially from low interest to share product data information, integration, etc. In my view, current status quo served as very bad characteristics of CAD and PLM software. I think, many organizations these days understand it and require a change in existing CAD/PLM products.

So, these are my 2010s predictions, and I’m looking forward to you comments and thoughts.

Best, Oleg

PLM in 21st Century: Fewer Giants, Folksonomies and Infinite Opportunity

July 21, 2009

future-trendsIn the early beginning of the Internet in the late 80s of 20th Century, MIT professor Tom Malone started to think how Internet will re-shape industry landscape in 21st Century. In a series of papers, he predicted that huge top down corporations would soon decentralize and transform themselves into industry eco-systems. Huge companies were created in the past to minimize “transaction cost” between teams down to supply chain. Modern distributed networks and information systems will do the same outside the walls of single company. However, actually for the last 10 years we observed a huge parade of growing gigantic companies – global consolidations happened all over the places, in pharmaceutical, chemical, finance, automotive and other sectors we had chance to see unprecedented growths of big companies. And… then 2008 crashes in finance sectors happened. Big finance corporations turned out  to have been inflated by debt at the level never seen before, the big car corporations crashed head-on skyrocketing oil prices and plummeting consumer demands…

Obviously, all these changes also impacting Product Lifecycle Management industry. First PLM companies were born of big defense, aerospace and automotive companies, providing initial backup to companies first developed CAD and coming later Product Lifecycle Management brands. What will happen with these companies in the changed landscape of traditional industries?

I think, today, we are finally coming to the point where Internet will start playing a significant role in future PLM development. In the landscape of fewer gigantic corporations, Internet will play a role of infrastructure between multiple numbers of smaller players in a supply chain of existing OEMs and in the ecosystem of many of the newcomers… Opposite to well-know today hierarchical PLMs, Folksonomies (also known as collaborative tagging, social classification and social indexing) will play a bigger role in organizing of smaller systems together. Big exposure of top-down systems will create infinite set of opportunities in providing solution for smaller companies. These smaller companies will behave in absolutely different way.

So, what will be key principles for future Product Lifecycle Management Solutions? I’d like to figure out three major characteristics that will form future Internet based PLM in 21st century.

#1 – Flexible Data Organization. PLM will be transformed to live in an open Internet world. We will not be able to apply today’s principles of data governance on PLM data management. PLM systems will be requested to co-exist in the big network of small companies operating in single cloud-y space. Transparency of information will play more important role in future data organization.

#2 – Social Networking. People and Organization system will be transformed into global social networks. Boundaries between a company network and social network of suppliers, partners and customers will be blurred. Together with information transparency, social network will create a network of future business opportunities for big number of independent companies – suppliers social networks.

#3 – Crowdsourcing. Global data availability and global people network will open new opportunities for work organization. What we have today as global design and global manufacturing will become mainstream and allows to small companies to be self-organized in industry communities.

I think for 2009 is a bit futuristic view, but if we will analyze situation in many industries, we will discover that processes toward decentralization, creating of bigger number of small suppliers and network organization already started to happen… So, I’d be interested to hear your voices and to discuss it with you.

Best, Oleg.

How to move from PLM Legacy to PLM 2.0?

July 9, 2009

2.0-largeI think enterprise software is a lot about lifecycle. Most of enterprise software projects have a long implementation lifecycle; require time for  implementation, deployment and training. Following modern 2.0 trends, PLM 2.0 is expecting to change this trend, provide more agile, open and lean the environment. In other words, “PLM 2.0 offers industry what Web 2.0 offers the general public”. But I’m asking myself… how will it happen tomorrow? Product Lifecycle Management is not a tool, like a mobile phone, a laptop or even database server that can be replaced. PLM is software that accumulates corporate knowledge, processes and intellectual property. How companies will be able to move from today’s legacy to tomorrow’s PLM 2.0?

I think that the following PLM capabilities might enable future move from PLM Legacy to PLM 2.0:

1. IP Representation

Today’s PLM system accumulates a lot of product knowledge. Future coming system needs to manage this IP and be able to absorb existing corporate knowledge. Similar to the new CAD system which needs to be able to open models created by previous CAD, PLM 2.0 needs to be able to work with IP created by current PLM/PDM system.

2. Process Streamlining

From my point of view, organizational processes  can not be changed in one day; many of today’s PLM implementations were not successful because they have tried to change the way companies had been working, in one day. This is impossible, in my view. So, PLM 2.0 needs to be capable to handle process transition in an organization.

3. Granularity.

I don’t see PLM 2.0 as a big universal tool. I believe PLM 2.0 needs to be deployed step by step and optimize existing PLM and enterprise environment in organization.

So, these are my thoughts about PLM 2.0 transformation. What are your opinions about them? I’d be happy to discuss.

Cloudy PLM: Roadmap Into The Future

June 16, 2009

cloudy future

How will PLM-related software evolve on the cloud? This is actually my question for today. How will PLM get along with its big brother – the Cloud? I think we’ve spoken a lot in the past about topics related to Clouds and Product Lifecycle Management. I’ve linked a few of my previous posts below if you’d like to refresh your memory, or you are new to plmtwine and haven’t had the chance to see them before.

Where is PLM on Industry Cloud Map?

Where is the PLM shortcut to the cloud?

Should PLM take Excel to the Cloud?

Host PLM Data using Cloud Services

How will PLM applications change when they move to a cloud?

This time I’d like to try to outline the possibilities for the development of PLM Cloud options. For the moment, I can designate a relatively small set of available Cloud-based products in the PLM space today starting from veterans (such as Arena Solution), some past and existing services from the large PLM players  (Agile-Oracle, PTC-IBM) and related services provided by ERP vendors (such as?). Definitely we don’t have a PLM-cloud-mainstream so, how PLM become mainstream using the many options available today.

Following are 5 possible options:

1. Host of existing PLM products on private and public clouds.

This is a straightforward option for today’s PLM providers. They can try to leverage value from their existing infrastructure, by using the power of the existing implementation for legacy customers now wanting to move into this space. (is this what you meant?) . This offering is also probably the simplest from the technical standpoint. It provides multiple alternatives for deployment, provides a mixed integration of existing stacks, and offers a potential for great value for existing and growing partners.

2. Development of PLM-related services based on existing and/or new ERP or other PLM-neighbor-domains

The PLM domain isn’t very friendly, and competition in this space has increased over the past few years. So, I’d expect that the PLM-neighbor will try to step into this space and provide cloud-based services that leverage their power of infrastructure, customer base and diverse portfolio.

3. Emerging PLM-related services out of emerging services and applications.

I’d expect that some of the products available today can provide a good potential for PLM-related products. We discussed MS Excel and the related SharePoint product offering. The new wave of Google Wave and maybe some additional products can provide scalable grounds for future PLM services.

4. Development of new separate PLM-related services based on upcoming Cloud platforms from large vendors.

The upcoming MS Azure and other Cloud-based platforms hold a potential future for newcomers in this space. I’m sure that platform providers will be interested in developers who want to test or try their new offering within this space – PLM will not be excluded from the list as good value providers.

5. Developing PLM services based on Cloud based infrastructure available today.

This is an addition for option #4. But a few of the available platforms today can be mature to deliver some PLM functionality.. Amazon Web Services is probably on the top of my list. In addition Google Apps and, more specifically, Force.com can also provide some alternatives to newcomers in the PLM space.

Finally, I cannot vote for one of these options. My take is that the future will come in the form of a diverse set of federated PLM services related to the space that we refer as today as Product Lifecycle Management. Will we call this space PLM? This is a very interesting question, I think we need to discuss this and, of course, to see (or influence) this in the future.


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