Identity management in future PLM platforms

December 8, 2014

federated-sso

Identity is a topic that raises lot of attention over the course of last few years. As a number of cloud application is growing, the question of management of identity and access rights online becomes more important.

Federation was one of the topics that was discussed in my last posts about future PLM platforms. It is a broad topic. One of the aspects of "federation" is the ability to manage "federated identity". I’ve been reading DarkReading article Identity Management In The Cloud during the weekend. It is worth reading. It speaks about current practices of identity management through Active Directory (AD) and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. It also speaks about importance of federated identity and integration of cloud application into federated SSO. Here is a passage I captured:

An employee using a federated single sign-on system is given one set of credentials to access multiple cloud accounts. This user is only authorized to use those cloud accounts permitted by the group he or she belongs to. For example, if a user is in the sales group in Active Directory, he or she would be given secure access to Salesforce.com as well as the enterprise’s in-house sales applications. This approach aids the rapid rollout of new cloud services to large groups of users. Even more importantly, using AD to aggregate identities in cloud environments speeds up the deprovisioning of cloud applications to employees when they leave the company or change roles. "Enforcing the use of federated SSO — and not using passwords with cloud apps — means that users can only log in to cloud apps if they have an account in AD," says Patrick Harding, CTO of cloud IAM company Ping Identity. "Terminated users are usually immediately disabled in AD by IT and will not be able to access any cloud apps."

The number of cloud identity management software is growing these days. You might noticed products from Amazon Identity Manager, Microsoft Azure Identity and Salesforce. Startup companies are entering the space of IAM as well.

I captured the following diagram showing current status of cloud identity usage.

plm-federated-sso

It made me think about growing usage of cloud services for design, engineering and manufacturing. Modern transformation of product lifecycle will require usage of multiple online services. To integrate them together using singe security access layer can be a significant challenge.

What is my conclusion? I can see identity management as an important first step in the future PLM platforms. The ability to manage access to diverse data sets (on premises and using cloud applications) will become a first test of future PLM platforms in their ability to manage federated data. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


How to migrate into “future PLM platform”?

December 6, 2014

plm-platform-migration

One of the topics I touched in my yesterday post about future PLM platforms is platform migration. The ability of customer to make a move is significantly dependent on how existing environment can be migrated. You can catch up on some of my earlier thoughts about PLM migrations by reading the following posts – PLM upgrades, release cycle and legacy software; PLM migration and product data rock-n-roll; PLM cloud and future of upgrades.

Most of large manufacturing companies (and even smaller companies) already made some sort of investment in PLM products. What is ROI of move to a new platform? How to calculate it? How not to get troubled by supporting multiple versions of applications and environment? These are good questions. Customers and PLM vendors are equally interested how to manage it in a right way.

My attention caught Dassault Systemes’ 3Dperspective blog post – Top Three Considerations for Planning Your Move to the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform. It speaks about how customer can migrate into new 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Here is an interesting passage:

The same data model and business process rules that power the 3DEXPERIENCE platform also powered the ENOVIA platform. In fact, the same basic approach also powered the MatrixOne platform. This is why so many of ENOVIA’s current customers have been able to successfully upgrade since their first implementation in the mid to late 1990’s.

The following picture shows the history of 3DEXPERIENCE platform evolution. It basically means that the say foundation platform used by all MatrixOne and ENOVIA customers and migration is effortless. I’m not sure if I’m happy to know that the same data technology used by all generation of systems from mid 1990s. However, it is clear benefit for customers looking how to migrate data between different versions of MatrixOne and ENOVIA V6.

3D-experience-platform-evolution

Dassault System’s rival – Siemens PLM and its TeamCenter platform also has long history of transformations. I didn’t find specific public references on compatibility between data models and application among TeamCenter versions. However, the following article from Tech-Clarity blog by Jim Brown presents an interesting diagram of TeamCenter evolution – Siemens PLM vision 2014+.

TeamCenter platform evolution

More information about evolution of TeamCenter can be found in the following CIMdata document – TeamCenter “unified”. The following passage speaks about “migration” issues:

Siemens PLM will continue to support Teamcenter Engineering and Enterprise for those customers that have them in production. Importantly, with each release of these older products, they have updated the underlying architecture and technology so that when a customer decides to change, the transition to the unified Teamcenter solutions will be easier. They have also developed a robust suite of migration tools that can be used when moving from earlier versions of Teamcenter products to the unified platform.

What is my conclusion? The migration is a complex topic. It is probably one of the most important topics that will define ability of large vendors to move into bright future of next generation PLM platforms. Regardless on what platform customer is going to move, migration will have cost that must be calculated and validated. The idea of “federated platforms” brings some promise of minimizing of migration cost. However, the mechanics of this process is not very clear. At the end of the day, data must be brutally dumped out and transferred. Application migration is even more complex. Users must be re-trained. All together, it is not a simple task. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


Future PLM platforms: between a rock and hard place

December 4, 2014

plm-platform-hard-rock-place

Manufacturing landscape and technology are changing fast these days. Most of existing PLM platforms were developed 15+ years ago. Therefore, a question about new PLM platforms is getting more vocal. What will be a foundation for that platform? How existing implementations and technologies evolve? What will be a role of standards in a future PLM platforms.

Engineering.com article Product Innovation Platform: Plug’n’play in next generation PLM – TV-report caught my attention yesterday with the discussion about what will become a future PLM platform. Verdi Ogewell speaks about multiple dimensions of future PLM platform – federation, standards, behaviors as well as brings opinions of customers on how they see future of PLM platforms. The key question debated in the article was raised in the beginning and related to “single system”. Here is my favorite passage:

Can a single system cover everything from product realization to distribution, from services to smart products and maintenance? There are certainly those who thinks so. Dassault Systèms, Siemens PLM and PTC have set their sights on an ambitious vision of the PLM market. But there are sceptical voices too, like analyst Gartner’s Marc Halpern and CIMdata’s Peter Bilello. “No, this will not be,” they asserted during the recent PDT Europe conference in Paris where the main theme was, “Shaping the PLM platform of the future”.

It made me think about future PLM platforms in the context of marketing and technological dynamics. PLM market is very competitive. At the same time, most of the decisions usually have very long time impact. Therefore every customer win is long term win. In my old article – PLM platform wars: who is right or who is left?, I’ve been talking about ‘openness’ as a strategic advantage. In my view, it is still very important factor. Customers dislike “closed” systems. From technological and business standpoint, what can become a foundation for a new platform? Navigate to my blog -The foundation for next PLM platforms. I outlined four potential developments that can form a new PLM platform – (1) model based system engineering, (2) unbundled 3D service, (3) product development standard, (3) database technology and web infrastructure. These things can interplay together.

At the same time I can clearly see two major trends in establishment of new PLM platforms – (1) single platform trend; (2) federated platform. I want to elaborate a bit more about these options.

1- Single platform. For many years it was a strategy for almost every PLM vendor. Seriously, I don’t believe somebody realistically can think these days about single vendor providing a complete set of tools for OEM manufacturing company. Nevertheless, vendors are developing tools and acquiring technologies to create the most comprehensive product suites. At the same time, a single platform is a high risk for manufacturers. Customers are trying to diversify their investment between multiple vendors and products.

2- Federated platform. Customers and vendors are often articulating ‘federation’ as a very desired state of future platforms. Here is a thing. Federation is a good vision. The implementation is hard and expensive. For last few decades, PLM vendors invested huge amount of resources in development and implementation of enterprise integration middlewares, technologies and projects. To implement federation is quite expensive and time consuming. I can see some technological promise here coming from modern web and cloud technologies, but taking into account existing enterprise assets it is still highly sophisticated task.

What is my conclusion? Growing complexity and longevity of manufacturing products are raising questions about future PLM platforms. One of the the biggest problems is set of conflicting constraints. Customers are afraid to risk and put all product information into a single vendor systems. At the same time, federated platform is more miracle and vision rather than reality that you can get and implement tomorrow. Standard-based approaches are promising, but slow to ramp up. And, last but not least, new platform ROI is a biggest issue. Imagine, we have a future federated PLM innovation platform built as a result of multiple vendor effort and leveraging existing industry standard. To migrate existing disparate customer environments into a new platform will be multi-year project with very high cost and questionable ROI. I have no doubt, time is coming to rethink the concept of PLM platform. How to do so is a big question. Can manufacturing industry collectively afford it? This is a another good question to ask. Just my thoughts…

Best Oleg


PLM and Almost Enterprise Apps?

April 29, 2011

The cost of development enterprise apps was one of the topics discussed among the people on Aras ACE 2011 conference earlier this week in Detroit, MI. Where the future is taking us? The development and customization of full blown PLM suite can be long, expensive and not very cost-effective these days. During the Beyond PLM panel discussion, I raised the question about the future of agile business apps that can provide value and won’t take manufacturing companies to the hell of product suites. The approach I discussed was introduced by Dion Hinchcliffe in hisNext Gen Enterprise blog.

On my way back to Boston I read Deloitte’s report “Technology Trends 2011. The Natural Convergence of Business and IT". Download this report, read and make your opinion. On of the topics of the report is about so called "Almost enterprise Applications". The idea resonated with my thoughts about how manufacturing organization can develop applications to be used by design engineers, managers, manufacturing planners, quality planners without taking organization into the two-year cycle of PLM suite deployment. I found the following example of "almost enterprise app" interesting:

A chemical products manufacturer had been an early adopter of Google Enterprise Apps engine – focusing on building almost-enterprise applications anchored in the productivity and collaboration suites. One example was a series of Gmail plug-ins that read the subject of emails and automatically retrieve CRM and HR workfl ow documents from SAP, with embedded controls for taking action that, in turn, execute back-offi ce transactions. Another was the ability to automatically update call notes in their CRM system with chat or voice transcripts, removing what was historically 90 seconds of low-value activity at the end of each customer service call.

PLM: Platforms and Applications

The notion of a platform in product lifycle management becomes interesting, in my view. The context of business apps can provide a new angle in a company strategy to develop a platform to serve the needs of product development processes. The focus on the platform will be in product data management rather than in business processes. Information services provided by a platform can be used to develop apps (Almost Enterprise Apps) highly focused on a particular engineers and other user’s needs.

What is my conclusion? The idea of "amost enterprise apps" is fascinating. It is easy to follow the concept of development apps based on any available services in the company. In the past, it led companies to the "excel hell". However, combination of a platform provided information services and agile practices of small apps development have in chance to develop an efficient solution. What is your opinion about that?

Best, Oleg


PLM Platforms and PLM Automotive Future

March 7, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I posted PLM Platform Wars: Who is Right or Who is Left? The following short article in Dasssault 3D Perspective struck me to think more about the future PLM technologies and innovation. Watch the video and make your opinion.

Kate is asking: “Can the automotive industry build cars of the future with old technology?” In my view, devil is in details. PLM is a bit different from iPad 2. Despite some marketing presentations showing V6 as a PLM 2.0 technology, PLM technologies are not created from scratch every 2-3 years.

PLM Platforms

The notion of a platform in enterprise software is very specific, in my view. When we are talking about software platforms, we often can think about .NET, Java, iOS or similar stuff. Platform is an obvious target for every technology. By achieving the level of a platform, your technology can leverage value of all applications running on top of this platform.

However, the enterprise software created a special notion of “platform” in my view. In such a context, platform always becomes a set of technologies coming out of a specific software vendor successfully created a rich set of applications and dependent products. There are few enterprise software platforms that approached a high level of partner’s software development. However, enterprise platforms are controlling the ability of additional software components to run on top of so called “platform” in a strong way.

PLM mindshare vendors are often using the term “platform”. TeamCenter platform, Windchill platform, V6 platform. In my view, these solutions are more representing a rich set of vertical and horizontal applications rather than a software platform. The core of all these platforms is database-oriented software product. These products are supporting core data modeling capabilities of these platforms. Until the recent time, the integration between these data management components and CAD elements was very weak.

PDM in CAD Innovation

One of the innovations created by Dassault V6 platform was bundling of Enovia V6 (platform) with CATIA technologies. By providing CATIA with RDBMS based data modeling backbone, DS created few very interesting capabilities in management of CAD data as well as product development processes. Other PLM vendors approached a slightly different scenario. At the same time, the recent announcement about PTC Creo came with a definition of something called “common data model”. For me, it is not clear what will be relationships between “common data model” and Windchill platform capabilities.

Do you think combining of PDM and CAD is a fundamental PLM innovation of 2010s? Well, the CAD/PDM integration was always a complicated part of the game. The ability to achieve a successful integration was a critical element in most of CAD/PDM/PLM implementations. The fact PLM vendors decided to solve it by providing tighter bundling between CAD and PDM tools is extremely positive. However, as a result, we are going to see a larger amount vertically integrated product suites. It can make many customers happy. However, the same solution can make a lot of complications in case of companies’ mergers, usage of heterogeneous products, etc.

What is my conclusion? Building large vertically integrated product suites is not a new approach. It can be very successful. However, we cannot mislead ourselves- companies are running heterogeneous application set. In my view, this is a reality. To have the ability to implement a granular solution set, with the intensive support of Open Standards can be a key for a future success. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


PLM Collaboration and SaaS Wake-Up Call

January 18, 2011

I read on Forrester Blog about acquisition of Dimdim by Salesforce.com. T.J. Keits of Forrester is discussing various aspects of Dimdim advantages as well as Salesforce acquisition details. Last year, I had a chance to try out Dimdim and I found the environment very convenient. The following characteristics of Dimdim mentioned as very complimentary to Salesforce’s Chatter released earlier – tools for social collaboration. Here is the quote from T.J. Keits blog:

Dimdim’s real-time communications technology fleshes out the collaboration story Salesforce began with its social offering, Chatter, last year. This blending of tools will boost the collaborative power of some key Chatter features:

  • Profiles. On its own, this social tool is the foundation for information sharing and expertise location in an organization. Users can post information about themselves and their job and associate their profile with certain shared information in a searchable format. With added conferencing capabilities, employees can locate an individual and start a meeting with them, allowing the parties to communicate and jointly view data in real time.
  • Groups. Salesforce’s turn on team workspaces allows employees to share information and work together in a central location. Unlike a team space in SharePoint or Lotus Quickr, though, there was no integration with any tools that would allow for synchronous interaction. With the inclusion of Dimdim’s conferencing tools, information workers can now communicate within the context of the team space, allowing for real-time collaboration within a workflow.
  • File sharing. This is a recent addition to the Chatter offering, but an interesting one because it allows for content sharing within their activity stream. Of course, the real potential of this will be unlocked when the option to start a web meeting is included with that shared document, allowing a worker to start a live discussion with the individual who posted the content.

PLM, Social Collaboration and Platforms

Vendors in PLM space put a significant emphasize of “social aspects” of collaboration. Social Link of PTC, Social Innovation of Dassault and some others are best examples to present an interest of PLM vendors not to lose “social aspects”. However, none of PLM vendors didn’t decide to have a core collaborative functionality as part of their own portfolios. Most of the work PLM vendors are doing was about integration of existing collaborative features and platforms (i.e. SharePoint etc.).

What is my conclusion? Salesforce presented an interesting case related to the acquisition of platform capabilities. In my view, this is a very logical step in the future development of Saleforce’s platform. What it means for PLM? In my view, it makes Salesforce more competitive. Some of PLM vendors are thinking about their cloud / SaaS offerings. The wake-up call for owning some fundamental technologies can be too late. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


How Many Enterprise Backbones Organization Needs?

November 13, 2009

Picture 51Interesting post drove my attention yesterday. Reading about the role of PLM as enterprise backbone, I wanted to raise a question – how many of such “e-bones” do we need? My experience shows that in every enterprise implementation, discussion magically came to the point of “what will serve as a company/organization/product/enterprise or whatever else backbone. And I have to say, that I always got mixed feeling about that. I will try to put my pros and cons in the way enterprise systems can be organized to serve product lifecycle and enterprise resource planning needs.

1. One vs. Many
Thinking about a dream situation when all systems in enterprise will be magically synchronized around a single system (or bone), I came to the conclusion that we need to keep it as a dream. However, practical approach, in my view shows that enterprise organization will continue to have multiple systems serving their needs.

2. Enterprise Platforms
The interoperability between enterprise systems is killing enterprise organizations. Company’s IT is normally trying to develop their strategies around various platforms, but even so, they can rarely reduce the amount of systems and functional needs drive to additional system deployment.

3. Master Data Record
This is another place where “discussion” between enterprise systems becomes critical. Who is controling data and serve as a master? The data synchronization is an expensive. However, decision about master data control comes again and again with each next step of enterprise system development on the functional level.

4. Role of SaaS
In my view, cloud services (or SaaS, if you will) is playing disruptive, but positive role in discussion related to enterprise architecture and various “enterprise bones”. The disruptive role of SaaS is to show to the organization, the reality of no-single system controlling all data and processes in enterprise.

I’m interested to discuss and listen about your experience? What is your opinion on that?
Best, Oleg


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 262 other followers