One of the biggest problem I can see in all PDM / PLM tools is a high level of the complexity. I’ve been thinking about it many times. After observing this industry for quite some time, I started to come to conclusion that solutions are becoming more complicated without becoming more functional. I’ve been reading the article The case for stripped-down enterprise 2.0 tools on by Moly Bernhart Walker. He was quoting Tim Young of Socialcast. Here is my favorite passage:
"Simple tools are incredibly powerful," said Young Nov. 15, during a keynote at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, Calif. It’s very difficult to solve a complex problem with a complex tool, he added. What we’ve been doing with customers is actually moving away, stripping away functionality and making it very, very simple by just focusing on one or two activity screens. And we’ve actually begun to see the value in this," said Young.
I decided to pull few old pictures of EDM and PDM tools and take a look on them from the angle of PLM 2012.
How to strip-down PLM?
I think, we’ve been obsessed by the power of computer, higher screen resolution and interest to push additional functionality in the PLM software. It is a time to stop and think. Here is the slide from last presentation I’ve made during Autodesk University 2011.
PLM software is bloody complicated. To find a right strip-down option will be an appropriate way to think about the next PLM solution.
What is my conclusion? PLM was born many years to solve the problem of product development in complex defense and aerospace companies. Since that time, software vendors passed a long way developing new functionality. However, I don’t think it made solutions better. It is very hard to remove functionality for existing software. At the same time, I don’t see any alternative to that in the future. Just my thoughts…