“JT Open” and the Future of PLM 2.0

August 29, 2011

Despite the fact “PLM 2.0″ was first articulated by Dassault back in 2006, I think, the term itself has some rights for expanded live beyond DS V6 platform. In my blog last week I discussed some aspects of comparison between PLM 2.0 and Web 2.0. One of the most important conclusions, also mentioned in the comments, were about “openness”. Actually, the conversation about openness is always dangerous in CAD/PLM domain. The vendors’ walled gardens provide significant barriers to develop solutions for heterogeneous enterprise environment.

During the weekend, I had a chance to read Design News article – SpaceClaim Stakes Manufacturing Claim. Have a read and make your opinion. SpaceClaim is clearly one of the youngest representatives of CAD vendors. However, what specially caught my attention was a comment made by Blake Courter about JT Open:

Another core area Courter emphasized in this new release was interoperability — a critical requirement, he said, for making in roads in the manufacturing production space, particularly in the automotive sector. In this vein, SpaceClaim built on its backing of Siemens PLM Software’s JT Open technology with the new release’s support for semantic Product Manufacturing Information (PMI). This means SpaceClaim users can leverage JT data in a lightweight format, or they can work with richer, more associative information, including meta data and PMI.

Courter applauded Siemens PLM Software’s efforts around JT Open, particularly as far as the format has made inroads into the automotive sector. “Kudos to Siemens for creating a level playing field and making a neutral format for delivering the goods,” he said. “The JT Open guys have done the right thing going after ISO certification and paralleling other standards where they can.” SpaceClaim is putting its money where its mouth is, Courter said, by becoming a JTOpen and ProSTEP iViP member.

Blake’s comments made me think about future potential paths of JT Open as a potential enabling technology for PLM 2.0. As you remember from the history of Web, some key technological elements made a significant contribution to the development of Web 2.0. The famous LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) was one of the key elements. Bundle together with AJAX and development of the blogs and wiki platform it enabled live people involvement into the broader development of web content.

One of the biggest problems of PLM these days is the ability of PLM applications to proliferate inside of organizations upstream and downstream. PLM vendors developed multiple exchange formats, and as it seems to me, stack in their transition to the agreement. What can move things forward is some business innovation in this space? Open Source is one of them. What if the technological leader such as Siemens PLM will release JT Open formats and tools under one of the possible open source licenses? Does it sound crazy? I’m not sure. It will allow to remove all barriers to proliferate data and processes downstream in organizations and boost usage of JT Open by other CAD and PLM players.

What is my conclusion? For a long period of time, many ideas were considered as crazy of impossible for implementation. However, for the last decade, we’ve seen already some very interesting industry and technological moves. Will JT Open become another one? Time will show. What is your take? Speak your mind.

Best, Oleg


PLM and Enterprise 2.0: No Fight… Yet.

June 16, 2010

Yesterday, I spent my day on Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston. It wasn’t overcrowded, although Expo pass registration that included Keynote presentation was almost free. It was also very interesting to see a landscape of vendors participating in the event. All enterprise kings were well represented- IBM, Microsoft, SAP. The only one king was out of the room – Oracle. It was surprising not to see Oracle, specially after their massive representation Oracle had in 2008. From the new players, I’d mention Cisco with their announcement about their social enterprise collaboration platform – Cisco Quad.

Lately, walking in the exhibition hall, I thought about all social collaboration platforms presented there and what is the potential impact of these platforms on Product Lifecycle Management.

Enterprise 2.0 Redefines Collaboration
Let me start from the history. What is the top collaborative tool we  have today? Email. Yes, email continue to be the most useful and widely adopted tools to collaborate. It is platform independent, it is reliable, it is free, it is asynchronous and, what is also very important, it is accepted by the majority of people. This is de-facto communication standard. Why we need to change it? I think the efficiency of the email collaboration is going down. Started from IM, and going down to forums and social networks, we can see a new way to share data and communicate. If you are newbie in so called E 2.0 space, you can take a fast ride and read a book by Andrew McAffee – “Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools…” Started in the beginning as set of different tools – wiki, blog, instant messaging, communities, etc. the Enterprise 2.0 absorbed all these tools and introduced the new way to communicate for people. We are adopting new practices outside of the organization boundaries, and they are coming inside of the organizational space. All together new tools allow to work much more efficiently in comparison to what we did before.

PLM Options In Enterprise 2.0
One of the strongest points of PDM and lately PLM was to provide set of tools to establish an efficient environment to collaborate in the engineering and manufacturing organization. It started as an ability to organize data in folders and databases, establish flow of documents, driving approvals and decisions. It was all about efficiency in communication and data sharing. What was the uniqueness of PDM/PLM that not allowed just to use plain set of collaborative tools? The engineering (CAD, PDM, PLM) context is the primary reason why the usage of mainstream collaborative tools were limited until now. To share Bill of Material or CAD model is not as simple as Word document. It requires better synchronization and more sophisticated level of data dependency management. As a result, it created higher level of complexity in everything – implementation, user interface, customization. At the same time, people are continuously inspired by the capabilities of mainstream internet and other collaboration tools. The initial steps were taken already. We had chance to see PTC’s and Dassault’s investments into community-oriented tools.

In addition to what established vendors are doing, I can see the potential for new companies like Vuuch entering this space too.

As I wrote in one of my previous blog post about the future of PLM collaboration  – 2010s are going to put Enterprise IT on fire.  PLM has two options today: (1) to develop vertical tools to support a new way to communicate and collaborate; (2) to adopt new Enterprise 2.0 platforms and tools and integrate PLM context into these platforms.

What is my conclusion? Enterprise 2.0 is overcrowded with different tools, platforms and initiatives. The initial cost of the solution development in this space is relatively low. Big vendors and small startups are trying the “enterprise 2.0 water” by introducing different solutions and checking people’s and organization’s reactions. I can see apathy on the other side. Too many dishes… People are looking for differentiations. It seems to me the fight is going between “vendor trust” and “cool and usable product”. Most of the vendors are not thinking about how to make their products vertical. Their efforts are focused on how “to own” organizations. Coming down to manufacturing organizations they can find that “one size doesn’t fit all” and special tools or collaboration practices are needed to work with engineering and manufacturing context. This is going to be a big day for vendors in PLM space. The question how they will come prepared to this day. This is also an opportunity for small companies to propose special solutions that redefine a way to collaborate for engineering and manufacturing organizations. Who is up to this opportunity?

Just my thoughts…
Best, Oleg

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How to Unleash the Potential of PLM 2.0?

September 25, 2009

The term “management” is very misused, in my view. Long time ago, somebody told me - if you don’t know how to call it, call it “management”. So, Product Lifecycle Management :)… How we can move it forward? I have heard a lot of discussions about 2.0 trends for the last few years. It started as Web 2.0 and after moved to different areas of our life - Government 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, Library 2.0, Everything 2.0 etc… So, finally, thanks to my colleagues from Dassault Systems, we have now PLM 2.0. I had chance to talk about various aspects related to PLM 2.0 and this is my next attempt to discuss and churn again about the PLM 2.0 topic.

Management Minimized, but Not Eliminated.

I think, management is a really outdated term in the context of software. Like a combustion engine, management as a technology is largely stopped being developed. In order to realize the full potential of organization we need to focus on a process or, saying differently, on how to marshal resources and activities to achieve our goals.

Many times in Product Lifecycle Management we are trying to lay down a structure - design, engineering, manufacturing, dependencies between them and later enforcing software to manage it to get maximum of business potential. This is an obsolete approach in my view. The right one - structure comes from real business context, from specific business needs. In this case PLM will become real enabling technology and not “management” technology.

However, what is going on around? There are few interesting 2.0 trends I can see in PLM going to PLM 2.0:

1. Expand. This interesting trend represented, in my view, in DS V6. I give full respect to my colleagues in Dassault System. This approach allows to resolve many problems in the organization of development, manufacturing and other business processes. Common model used in this approach can solve lots of problems as well as collaborative business applications leveraging common infrastructure. Since now, everybody will be able to collaborate in much more efficient way. I think big ERP vendors are also pretty much following the same ideas laying down fundamentals of ERP platforms to serve needs of product development and manufacturing.

2. Integrate. This is another approach. In order to achieve the next level of productivity, PLM content and process is going to be integrated into the environment that much more social and less formal. Different ideas about how to integrate PLM products or content into - business process suites, office applications, web portals, IM-tools. In my view, you can see a very interesting example of such approach in PTC’s Social Product Development strategy. Going hand-by-hand with Microsoft’s SharePoint, processes can be easy integrated and distributed, if you will.

3. Socialize. This approach is shifting 180 degrees to the people. Let say, people first (opposite to “product first”) - we need to care how to organize contextual communication by providing flexible space to do it. You just take what you need into this space- Bill of Material, Item, Drawing, Contact, Mail etc. The importance of contextual and not formal collaboration is taking top priority in such approach. I liked to see Vuuch.me service offer a way to collaborate without boundaries. The biggest advantage - you really don’t need “to manage”, but just to collaborate socially. What need to be prevented is organizing of “yet another informational silo”.

So, to unleash the real potential of PLM 2.0, PLM need to lose the “M” part. This is not about management anymore, but about how to help to people to realize potential of organization to design, manufacture, sell and maintain products and ideas. One of the best non-technological books I had chance to read last time was “The Opposable Mind“. PLM needs to get out of traditional “management” ways to think and transform PLM to PLM 2.0.

Best, Oleg


Internet Kills. PLM better move to become real PLM 2.0…

September 10, 2009

I’ve been enjoying reading UK Telegraph’s 50 Things that are being killed by the Internet“. So, good news - PLM is not on the list yet. But, point was made very clear - Internet can change our life and Internet can change our business. I think, Enterprise 2.0 is the real beginning of change to more productive tools toward open information exchange. This wave is slowly coming to enterprise, but will hit PLM space too. Take a look on a good comparison between Enterprise 1.0 and Enterprise 2.0.

enterprise 20 vs enterprise 10
So, what I‘m thinking about it? I think,Internet intervention is coming to enterprise space and Enterprise 2.0 is the first sign. But, looking on Enterprise 2.0, I‘m thinking how much PLM need to accomplish in order not to be killed and transformed. The top issues for me are flexibility, bottom-up, transparency, global. I think we still have long way to go.

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.


What will be the future potential cost saving with PLM 2.0?

May 27, 2009

Web 2.0 and following 2.0 technologies came to us a few years ago (around 2003 and 2004) and changed the way people interact with the Web. Web 2.0 created a massive wave of 2.0 and social technologies (including Enterprise 2.0) and changed the way people work in many areas in our lives. Back in 2008, PLM companies such as DS and PTC introduced new offerings (PLM 2.0 and Social Product Development) based on concepts of Web 2.0 and social development. I’d like to discuss the various aspects where future PLM 2.0 technologies can impact what we are doing today in and around PLM.

One of the important characteristics of the future PLM 2.0 is the potential cost saving factor for enterprises. Usage of Web 2.0 has changed the way enterprises work. Here are my potential cost saving factors for companies implementing future PLM 2.0 technologies:

1. Optimize communication, reduce email, streamline processes

Social tools and the internet can simplify communication. People are more connected and easily communicating. Open social communication reduces the need for email and simplifies processes. Collaboration will be easy. You will easily be able to find relevant people to communicate to inside and outside the organization. Companies will reduce online storages (i.e. for mails) and will move gradually to cloud-based services.

2. Improve information transparency

Product data and related information will become more available. You will be able to easy share information outside of the engineering organization, collaborating with people downstream – in manufacturing and sales – as well as with people in the value chain. Social tools such as wikis, blogs and others will establish a more transparent layer of information sharing.

3. Reduce IT costs

There are two main sources of IT cost reduction. First of all, PLM 2.0 rely more on internet and other social resources that have a much lower cost compared to dedicated corporate IT expenses. Secondly, the ability to share resources (corporate and public clouds) will bring additional IT savings.

4. Reduce integration costs

Usage of Internet technologies will lower the cost of integration. The use of open Web-based technologies will streamline the ability to integrate data and systems across the enterprise and value chain. You can use Mashup and other Web tools to manipulate, mix, and share data among people and applications.

5. Reduce printing services

Development of various connectivity and information share options will decrease the need for printing services. This will happen in organizations as a result of the wider availability of information outside of an organization – in the sales and supply chains. Wide usage of internet and mobile devices will reduce the need for paper materials.

6. Change trend in software cost

Last, but not least. The leverage of Internet, Web 2.0 and other 2.0 technologies brings a stream of new providers to the PLM eco-system. These providers are less dependent on legacy, on-premise product offering and maintenance revenue streams. These companies will be more dynamic and will drive the software cost trend down. Many companies will be leveraging this new trend.

I think that the future of PLM 2.0 is good, but still very challenging. We have seen dramatic changes in Web 2.0 and changes that the following technologies made in our life and on social communication. I’m sure that PLM 2.0 has a great potential and am looking forward to your opinions and discussions.


How can you prevent PLM 2.0 silos?

April 30, 2009

The latest development in Product Lifecycle Management has raised the level of PLM systems with their ability to support wider areas of product development, manufacturing and maintenance. I think that over the past few years we have seen many new capabilities, systems and technologies developed by leading PLM companies. So, where is my concern?. Massive development of PLM technologies creates a new domain of enterprise software which then creates a new island of data. With new and modern technologies, you can see very reliable and centralized storage of product information that allows you to track every record of product data and related information. However, this development has led to another problem – product information has become siloed inside of the enterprise.

So, how can you develop Product Lifecycle Management strategies that can prevent you from creating additional PLM silos?

1. Develop integration strategies for PLM including the connection of various existing software (design, planning, manufacturing) to PLM. Without these integration strategies, you will find yourself quickly landing on an island that contains a huge amount of information that you need to exchange with external bodies.

2. Plan Business Process Management initiatives that prevent disintegration of information and processes. These BPM initiatives can be processes connected on the organizational level. As part of this connection, these establish (physical and logical) links between PLM and other enterprise systems.

3. Invest into Business Intelligence and establish a way of accessing product information in PLM systems from outside systems. This business intelligence software will create a business background for improving the PLM information available and the general ‘de-siloing’ of data inside the organization.

So, what are my practical recommendations? Start from investing in overall IT infrastructure integration with PLM. You need to figure out where all the pieces of product data are related and what processes they touch. Afterwards, you will need to see how to optimize processes and align them with available platforms and tools for business process management.


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