PLM, Upgrades and Competition

June 1, 2015

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Traditional PLM wisdom says to buy PLM system is a complex process. Once you decided for a specific platform or technology, it will be very hard to change or replace with something else. I’ve been skimming social network news this morning The following tweet from @jonathanpscott caught my attention – “More details on the #ENOVIA #SmarTeam User Group meeting in OH next week ht.ly/NzuwE #PLM“. I’ve been involved into SmarTeam development many years ago and I’m aware Dassault System is still supporting the system. However, the following message from the agenda – “ENOVIA SmarTeam – a safe place to be”, increased my curiosity up even more. Future in the agenda you can see topics related to SmarTeam migration and co-existence.

It made me think about lifecycle of PLM systems and implementation more. What is the average cycle time for PLM implementation? How often companies are replacing PLM systems and what does it mean for a company in terms of effort, planning, operation and support?

Earlier this month I came across Aras Corp. materials about “resilient PLM”. If you haven’t heard about this new PLM buzz, navigate to the following link to read more. The term was coined by Aras to explain how Aras Innovator’s technology can withstand multiple upgrades and changes. Peter Schroer, Aras CEO is explaining about resilient PLM in the following video. Pay attention to the following part of the video explaining how Aras customers successfully moved between different versions of Aras on different databases – Postgress, Oracle, Microsoft SQL for the last 15 years.

Cloud technologies is another way to solve the problem of upgrades. Jim Brown of Tech-Clarity and Brian Roepke of Autodesk are discussing the advantages of cloud PLM. Watch the following video from 6:05 when Brian speaks about upgrades and revision lock. The upgrade sometimes even more expensive than initial implementation. According to Brian Roepke, cloud PLM technologies are solving the problem of upgrades and migrations in traditional PLM implementations.

Migration of PLM solutions can be significant driver in fundamental strategic decisions manufacturing companies are taking. Earlier last week Siemens PLM announced about the successful completion of PLM2015 project and move from CATIA to NX. Daimler’s decision was heavily influenced by the preference not to move between two PLM systems (Teamcenter and ENOVIA). Read about it in Schnitgercorp blog Reaching that one customer in a PLMish landscape. Here is the passage, which explains the reason:

Daimler‘s decision to move from CATIA to NX, huge as it was, was ultimately made by a team that weighed the benefits and risks in a more limited context than the overall Siemens portfolio. As I understand it, in the end it was simple: Daimler had based many business processes on its Teamcenter implementation; CATIA V6 requires ENOVIA, so Daimler would have had to build links between ENOVIA and Teamcenter to move forward with Dassault Systemes. That was more complicated, to Daimler, than migrating 235,000 “CAD objects” and retraining 6,000 people.

What is my conclusion? PLM upgrade or migration is sensitive and complicated process. It requires a lot of resources and can be very costly. In the current state of manufacturing and PLM technology customers are looking how to insure many years of operation once they implemented the system. However, business is changing and the need to be flexible is striking back as a conflicting requirement. Combined together it brings a very interesting flavor into PLM competition. The ability to implement PLM system and upgrade an existing (often outdated) PLM implementation becomes a key feature in the future competitiveness of PLM system. It is equally important for cloud and non-cloud implementations. I think the PLM vendor and technology capable to do so can gain a lot of traction in the future. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 



Siemens PLM: Cloud Services and Big Data

May 27, 2015


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You can say that buzz around big data is annoying. At the same time, organization are struggling with a fundamental challenge – there are far more data than they can handle. Some interesting facts about data growth around us. Back in 2000, only 25% of all data stored in the world was digital. By 2007, 94% of all data was stored digitally. Some experts has estimated that 90% of all data in the world was produced for the last 2 years.

Manufacturing and engineering organization have to deal with a growing amount of data. Old fashion methods of handling data are not good anymore. You may want to look on some of my previous posts – Will PLM vendors will dig into big data? , Big data and importance of information lifecycle. Even more, the question of how to use data to improve product quality or design becomes important – PLM and big data driven product design. For many organizations data can become a very disruptive force.

Last week at PLM Connection 2015 conference in Dallas, I learned few interesting facts about how Siemens PLM is developing big data cloud solutions to handle large volumes of complex information for manufacturers. Steve Bashada’s presentation was about the work Siemens PLM did following the acquisition of Omneo, which was part of Siemens PLM acquisition of Camstar.

Getting back to Siemens PLM Omneo. The idea is to discover data patterns that can lead to optimal product performance. This is may sound too generic. However, if you translate it into more specific actions. Think about finding reasons why the last batch of hardware devices such as computer flash drive or wearable gadget was defective and track a supplier of faulty components. Inside Big Data whitepaper gives you an interesting perspective on Omneo solution. You can download whitepaper in exchange of your email address here. Here is the passage from the article I specially liked:

For a compelling example that illustrates how big data is affecting the manufacturing sector, we can consider Omneo, a provider of supply chain management software for manufacturing companies. The business need was to enable global manufacturers to efficiently manage product quality/performance and customer experience. Consequently, Omneo needed to collect, manage, search and analyze vast amounts of diverse data types, and it sought the right software and hardware infrastructure to support this effort.

  • Enables global-brand owners to manage product performance and customer experience
  • Delivers a 360-degree view of supply chain data
  • Searches billions of data records in less than three seconds
  • Scales to support 300 million records every month
  • Allows customers to quickly search, analyze and mine all their data in a single place so that they can identify and resolve emerging supply chain issues

The following slide can give you generic yada-yada about the solution.

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Siemens PLM is working on a solution with few selected customers. Dell is one of them. The following slides gives you an idea how a specific customer problem can be solved.

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The solution uses “search based” user experience to search, filter and navigate between bits of data.

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What is the technical foundation of the solution? Omneo is using some elements of existing big data stack you might be familiar with – HDFS, Hadoop, Cloudera combined with open source search technologies like SOLR. Omneo brings meta data and unified data model to handle product information and uses HBASE to manage information. The following slide can give you some more information about technical stack and how product is handling data.

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What is my conclusion? Big data is a hard problem to solve. But it brings very interesting business cases. Siemens PLM Omneo is an example of specific data solution targeting big data problems in manufacturing organization. So far, the most specific example I was able to find reported by PLM vendors. My hunch, other PLM vendors might be looking on solutions, but haven’t seen specific publications about that. I think, big data can be applied in a very interesting ways to handle different product development, customer and manufacturing issues. We just not there yet. Manufacturing organizations and existing vendors are too slow to discover them. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

picture credit Inside Big data article


Active Workspace: The transformation of search user experience

May 21, 2015

To access product information is one of the most important roles of PLM system. Time ago, organizing data in folders was good enough solution. Not anymore. Google changed the way we think about accessing information. Searching engineering and manufacturing software is tricky. There are many things that influencing the way you search for information – access rights, context, dependencies. The following picture summarizes top obstacles in finding information according to the Enterprise Search and Findability Survey 2013 published by FINDWISE.

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I wrote few posts about search in PLM in the past. Navigate to one of them to read more – PLM search and findability. For the last few years, PLM vendors put significant focus on improvements of user experience and search functions. There are examples of search driven user interfaces in Aras PLM, Autodesk PLM360, Dassault / EXALEAD and others.

Earlier this week at Siemens PLM connection in Dallas, I had a chance to watch newest updates Teamcenter team made around Active Workspace. The first time product was presented back in 2011. Here is my original post about that- Siemens Active Workspace: PLM next big thing. Since that time, product evolved into rich user experience focusing on providing role-based, information search and navigation client. Siemens PLM Active Workspace is available in a browser and provides a way to search, filter and visualize information. In the example below, you can see an interesting combination of search, filtering and bar-chart visualization.

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Product information is usually intertwined with many dependencies. The following example shows the ability to navigate between interconnected pieces of information.

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The same UI is providing an access to the viewer.

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One of the new functions I found is an access to the information such as Bill of Material in a spreadsheet-like way with the ability dynamically select column, filter and sort.

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And finally you can annotate and comment on the pieces of information together with other people. It can give you some sort of social experience

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Search became the most important element of UI when it comes to access of complex information. Search is playing a significant role in the transformation of PLM user experience towards more simple and intuitive UI. Many users will appreciate a better search driven navigation. PLM vendors are paying more attention to search and you can find search functions in other PLM systems too. At the same time, Active Workspace is probably the latest example of search-driven UI in PLM.

What is my conclusion? I found interesting the evolution of Active Workspace for the last 4 years since it was originally presented. The UI became completely webish, many new functions were added. However, the core function of search-driven user experience is there and it provides differentiation to traditional folder-based navigation and browsing interfaces. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


Bill of Materials (BOM) and product lifecycle open loops

May 19, 2015

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It is hard overestimate the importance of Bill of Materials for product development. In my keynote at ProSTEP iViP symposium in Stuttgart earlier this month I’ve been sharing my thoughts why developing of single BOM across multiple disciplines in critical for organization. I wanted to bring few examples that can demonstrate why having a single BOM strategy can bring benefits to product development and manufacturing organization.

Earlier today, at Siemens PLM connection event in Dallas, I captured the following slide demonstrating an integrated approach in design, manufacturing, planning and production. What is really interesting is how as-design, as-planned and as-build views in PLM are integrated with design, manufacturing, planning and production.

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Few days ago, I the following article by 3D CAD World article caught my attention – Progress in closing the product lifecycle’s loops  by Peter Bilello, president of CIMdata. The article speaks about the importance of collaboration across diverse enterprise groups.

For many years, the PLM industry has greatly benefited from a steady stream of improvements in collaboration among ever more diverse enterprise groups—in data interoperability, for example, and in the transparency of workflows and processes. The development, manufacture and support of globally competitive new products are, however, still hamstrung by the remaining open loops new and old.

Later in the article it came to the topic I was looking for – Bill of Materials. According to article, BOM is a biggest remaining challenge to make integration running smooth. Here is the passage, which explains that.

Between engineering, manufacturing and finance, a big remaining challenge is the bill of materials (BOM) in its many forms—the as-designed BOM, the as-engineered BOM, the as-manufactured BOM, and so on. Generated and managed with PLM and often executed by enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, BOMs themselves are loop closers. PLM-ERP connectivity and interoperability are steadily improving, but some open-loop issues are resolved only after time consuming face-to-face meetings.

What is my conclusion? Single BOM could be a great thing if vendors will figure out how to implement that. As you can learn from Biello’s article, PLM-ERP has open-loop issue and BOM is a tool to close that. However, companies are concerned about bringing single BOM strategy since it can raise lot of organizational challenges for them. At the same time, the demand for better integration and collaboration can put companies in front of decision to bring single BOM to close open loops between engineering, manufacturing and production anyway. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 


May 19, 2015

plmconx-2015

Siemens PLM connection 2015 is taking place in Dallas this week. Thanks for Siemens PLM inviting me, I had a chance to attend the conference this week. More posts and thoughts will come, but today, I want to give you some of my notes from the opening day of the conference with keynote from Chuck Grindstaff and several other presentations made by Siemens PLM folks and customers.

First, about the community of PLM connection. Combined from customer and managed by separate board, it represents multiple industries. However, as you can see it from the picture below, the dominant 70% is covered by three main industries – aerospace & defense, automotive and industrial machinery. No surprise here…. if you think about established PLM customer community – these are industries are mostly engaged in PLM use and implementations. The interesting news is to see reps from other industries too.

keynote-1

The main message I captured from Chuck Grindstaff’s keynote is about smart products and how it will impact the manufacturing. In my view, the main point is that we are not separating products into large and small anymore. What we called in the past small and simple products are not simple. Any product today is a combination of multi-disciplinary technologies: advanced materials, electronic and software.

keynote-2

Separate note about cloud. Siemens PLM was long time silent about cloud technologies. Not anymore. Cloud messages were sent during keynote and other sessions. Initial Siemens PLM cloud strategy was IaaS and Amazon. I covered it in my earlier posts. The thing I captured yesterday is the work Microsoft and Siemens PLM is doing to certify Teamcenter and other products to be used on Azure cloud. I guess more to watch here in the coming months.

keynote-3

Another interesting topic I picked up was about cloud services and big data. These days product data is getting more in focus. I lives everywhere – in design, manufacturing records, sensors and many other places. To bring data together, connect it semantically and make available via search-like interface is an opportunity many companies are pursuing these days.

Siemens PLM new cloud services organization is up to the goal. I’ve been listening to Steve Bashada’s  presentation speaking about the work they do following the acquisition of Omneo, which come to Siemens PLM as part of Camstar acquisition. The following pictures can give you an idea of what Siemens is planning and I’m sure will follow this up in my future posts. They are currently working with Dell and few other companies on the solution covering engineering and manufacturing product data intelligence cases.

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I was super excited to listen to Jay Rogers, CEO and co-founder of Local Motors. Not aware about Local Motors? You should close your knowledge gap asap. Why? Because Local Motors is on the mission towards next industrial revolution. Imagine you have an idea for product, push a button and…. yes, you engage in the community of people designing, engineering and manufacturing it. It comes as a smart network of people involved into design, manufacturing and distribution of the product. New materials, new manufacturing processes- agile, collaborative and what is most important – quick and efficient. Local Motors can deliver products with 5x less time and 100x less cost.

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Siemens PLM discussion about Manufacturing Operation Management gave me an addition perspective on how to make more efficient production. It is about connecting engineering and manufacturing together. In a nutshell, unified manufacturing backbone connects production, quality, logistic and maintenance. It is all impossible without tight connection with PLM backbone and integrating product views – multiple bill of materials, bill of process, electronic and software related information.

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The final presentation I was watching was by Craig Brown, leading PLM at General Motors. The main topic is how to deliver connected, contextual experience among all products involved into design, productions and maintenance of GM cars.

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gm-1

My special attention was caught by the work GM is doing integrating multiple tools including TeamCenter using LinkedData technologies. The most resonating message – use web technology for data management and integration into enterprise.

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What is my conclusion? We are getting in the era of smart products, which will create even more data management challenges for manufacturing companies and PLM vendors. It will come from diverse sides – community based design and collaboration, agile engineering to manufacturing processes, smart manufacturing and production. Existing tools will not be replaced overnight, therefore an ability to co-exist will be demanded by PLM vendors and their customers. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


How much does it cost to manage CAD data?

May 14, 2015

cad-free-pdm

CAD files. Everyone who is dealing with design and engineering is familiar with this type of data. Large files, many dependencies, hard to store, share, change. That was the place where originally Product Data Management – PDM was born (if you long enough in this industry you might remember EDM or TDM acronyms too). Until very recently, PDM tools were hard to install, configure and use. Engineers didn’t like them and tried to avoid it as much as possible.

There are some good news on the horizon. CAD and PLM vendors are recognizing the need to release engineers from PDM pain and focusing on how to improve it from both user experience and license cost. If you recall one of my earlier blogs this year, I was talking about some interesting changes in PDM licensing from GrabCAD and SolidWorks – The future of free PDM.

Recent announcement from Autodesk about changes in Fusion360 packaging is not directly related to PDM. In a nutshell, it was about moving bunch of premium Fusion360 features into standard package with subscription price $25/month. At the same time, Fusion360 is providing PDM functionality and it is part of the subscription license which cost you 25$/month. Navigate here to learn more.

Another my post “Onshape quietly developed Google Drive for CAD” will give you a perspective from another cloud CAD disruptor – Onshape. A set of CAD data management (PDM) functionality is part of Onshape product. The subscription has free option as well as $100/month option. Navigate here to learn more.

It made me think about how much are we going to pay to manage and share CAD files in a near future?

The more “traditional” CAD / PDM approach is bundling CAD data management and integration functions into PDM/ PLM products. It forms a group of relatively expensive CAD data management tools. Navigate the following links to see examples – Aras CAD data management, Autodesk Vault, ENOVIA CAD data management, SolidWorks Enterprise PDM, SolidEdge SP, Siemens TeamCenter PDM, Windchill PDM Link. The license cost and TCO is not always obvious and transparent (not very different from many examples of on premise enterprise software). At the same time, the functionality of these packages are often goes much beyond just managing revisions and sharing CAD files.

Another group of vendors and products are formed by new “cloud products” that can give you an option to manage and share CAD data. All of them are subscription based. For some of them, PDM is an integral part of a bigger product. There are products with free subscription option under some conditions. Here is the list of vendors – Autodesk Fusion360, Autodesk A360, GrabCAD Workbench, Onshape, Kenesto Drive, Team Platform. I’m sure missed some of new cloud outfits, so please let me know about new cool names to be added.

What is my conclusion? I can see a strong trend for making CAD data management ubiquitous and near free is a reality we might face very soon. Cloud CAD vendors will lead this trend because PDM is an fundamental part of cloud CAD delivery mechanism. It will take trajectory of cost for CAD data management and collaboration to zero. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


The future of PLM apps

April 27, 2015

enterprise-apps

PLM technologies and products went through many changes for the last two decades. If you long timer in PLM industry, you might remember initial PDM / PLM products. In my view, most of them provided some sort of toolbox solutions used by large companies and IT service organization. You had to spend time to tailor a solution that can be used by a manufacturing company. The last decade of PLM development was featured by an invasion of Out-of-the-box PLM solutions. While flexibility was an ultimate requirements by all manufacturing companies, Out-of-the-box (OOTB) strategy used to lower implementation cost and demonstrating capabilities of PLM products for specific industries and needs.

The new trend came in 2010s. Apps and App stores. Everybody got an “app virus” in their strategies. To develop apps is a new way and we are getting infected by this trend. If you cut the marketing buzz, the idea of app development has some strong grounds. Think how to deliver a specific tailored solution for customers.

Who is developing PLM apps?

Apps is a language that used by several PLM providers in the past.

Aras PLM community solutions (projects). Aras enterprise open source model is allowing to partners to develop variety of solutions to cover specific customer needs. The openness of Aras and zero cost of platform (if you don’t want to pay for subscription) made Aras a good choice for partners and companies developing PLM solutions. You can learn more by navigating to the following link.

Autodesk PLM 360. Autodesk PLM360 flexibility and cloud delivery was presented a one of key differentiations. Navigate to PLM360 app store to learn about solutions (apps) available on top of PLM 360. Navigate to the following link to see available apps. The following Autodesk blog post by Mike Watkins make a demonstration how to build a new app using PLM360.

Dassault 3DExprience platform. DS is speaking about apps on top of 3DEXPERIENCE platform, but I didn’t find signs of these apps online. Chad Jackson of Lifecycle Insight put a good review of apps strategy on his blog, which indicated flexibility and apps as part of DS strategy.

GrabCAD Engineering apps. This is probably a history, but one day GrabCAD had a strategy to build an app store together with Autodesk. Navigate to this blog from 2013 to read more. After GrabCAD acquisition I never heard about GrabCAD building app store.

Siemens PLM apps and platform. Siemens PLM is also thinking how to come with PLM apps. Navigate to the following link to learn more about platform extensibility. Lifecycle insight article about separating platform and apps can give you an additional insight on that.

How to develop apps

To develop app is actually a challenge that requires many steps to be done. Every PLM implementation is a bit different. So, how to make an app store that can be used by multiple customers. To support these apps can be also a challenging factor.

What happens outside of PLM world? Salesforce1 is probably one of the best examples of a platform that used to develop enterprise apps. More to come. You can find publications of companies speaking about how to enable application building app stores or focusing on development of mobile apps. One the most notable was Apple / IBM partnership from very large companies (Apple and IBM). Box Dev edition is another interesting example. I posted about it last week here. I stumble on another interesting example coming from startup world – Fliplet – a platform to develop mobile apps, which reminded me some sort of “WordPress for mobile apps”.

What is my conclusion? How to develop, deliver and support enterprise apps is an interesting challenge software vendors are facing these days. It is especially painful problem in PLM world where each PLM implementation is a bit different. So, do you think PLM apps is a future? How to deliver PLM apps platform that will eliminate the need for painful and expensive PLM implementations? Do you think one of existing PLM platforms can be robust and open enough to provide PaaS for future PLM apps? What is your take? I don’t think we have an answer today. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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