GPS, PLM, BIM: Plan the Next Leapfrog?

November 4, 2009

Picture 37You probably wonder – GPS, PLM, BIM… What do they have in common today? In my view, the common is their relationship with real objects of a physical world around us. GPS can position us and give us a direction in surrounding world, CAD/PLM is the universal mechanism to design everything, PLM and BIM respectfully are set of product and tools to organize processes around product design, manufacturing, building etc.

For years engineering and building systems like CAD, PLM, BIM was completely disconnected from a real world. I always had the feeling of separation. This is like a wall between engineering and rest of the company. You (engineers) can use any systems you want, design and plan whatever you want… The real things will be disconnected from this virtual engineering world. Not anymore in my view. Few announcements and publications drove me to think about future leapfrog in this space.

Google’s announced first Droid phone with Google Navigation System. You will ask me how it related to PLM? Not as much, for the moment. However, thinking in deep and applying some PLMish language you can see Google providing 3D application connecting physical driving experience and virtual world model based on Google Maps.

Another one – Google SketchUp. On the surface, there is nothing special. I used to hear from many engineers their opinion about this product as a toy, far from “Real CAD” systems. Slow down, please. Keep your engineering ego for the future. Google is using SketchUp to re-create the world in 3D on top of Google Map. Google 3D Warehouse is a very good example of building blocks in this 3D universe. Read more in about Google Building Maker in Google official blog.

Some business thoughts. You need to see the following article: Google Redefines Disruption: The “Less than Free” business model. This is not the first time when we see the power of free products. I’m almost hearing engineers that saying – but this is not for the real enterprise world, this is on the different planet. Not anymore, in my view. Connection between real and virtual happens much faster that you can think about it.

So, conclusion for today. I’m thinking about immersive world where design, engineering and real people are all connected to dream, design, plan, build and manufacture life around us. And, in my view, this is a perfect time for today’s CAD/PLM/BIM vendors to think about a future of their products. How to catch up before Google’s next leapfrog? Just not to find themselves in place of GPS manufacturers today.

Picture 35

Just my thoughts.
Best, Oleg

Relative Value vs. Absolute Value of PLM

July 6, 2009

I was reading an amazing post by Larry Cheng: Relative Value vs. Absolute Value. This made me think  about how we are developing PLM today. It seems like we are doing this with very absolute values: PLM allows you to cut costs, optimize processes, increase profits, etc. From the technology standpoint, PLM allows you to manage product data in a traceable way, handle changes etc.

What is the problem? I think that PLM sticks to the ecosystem of “Enterprise Software”. We tried to put it into this ecosystem in the first place, so this is actually what created the problem in the first place. Enterprise software is perceived as expensive with costly implementations and ROI that is not simple. So, with PLM being perceived as “the most expensive dish on the table” (sorry, Larry’s post put me into a food mode):)… I think we need to find a new way for PLM to get into an organization and we need to make sure to focus on PLM values in relative way. So, how can you do this?

Here are a few of my ideas that I wanted to share with you:

  1. Take PLM out of “Enterprise Software bundle” and position it as a productivity software for product development
  2. Combine PLM capabilities with Office Tools – approach IT and business directly. In today’s economy, many companies are struggling with the cost of enterprise software implementation and are looking for good alternatives
  3. Don’t sell “process orientation” – focus on “task completion” and management of the work that needs to be done.

I imagine that you might find this a bit strange and the way that we think of PLM in terms of ‘Out of The Box’, but maybe it’s time to change?

PLM, Please Don’t Take Giant Steps…

June 30, 2009

This post caught my attention last week. “PLM, please take 3 giant steps forward!” by Jim Brown. I’m very well connected to Jim and yet I’d like to pose a controversial question – should PLM do it? I would like to explain my points and look forward to a fruitful discussion.

I will be discussing the three dimensions raised by Jim –

1/ Product;

2/ People;

3/ Lifecycle:

Products are expanding. Of course we are thrilled by our product capabilities, but what is the actual adoption rate? How much of our functionality is used by customers? How we can implement and answer exact customers needs? Since about 50% of revenues in our industry are generated by services, I assume that we still have a long way to go to deliver a good fit of functionality to customer needs. So, here’s my request:  please, let’s do what customers want slowly– and in the current turbulent time, we will try to deliver as much more precisely. I’d like to learn from Google, put more betas out of the door and see how our customers can adopt our functionality.

People. When I first saw all the social-related development by Product Lifecycle Management vendors, I thought –this is really great! We will allow users to be better connected. Which means to be aligned with what customers want. Actually for PLM vendors, we need to allow our products and processes to be better connected with people that use them, and we need to be able to get their feedback step by step, and implement it. This is related to the overall manufacturing ecosystem that needs to be driven by vendors and their partners.

Lifecycle. This is a good one and really connected to PLM in my view. Everything is about to change. We are managing the lifecycle of products created by our customers. But what about our lifecycle?. Our customers these days are trying to be more lean and agile. So, how we can we manage change successfully? Our implementations are still so complex and expensive that customers need time to adopt to new versions and changes of existing implementations. So, I want us to be more agile and be able to go with multiple small steps.

So, what is my conclusion? We definitely need PLM to leapfrog in the future and improve what we are doing in the current turbulent economical situation. But let’s start this huge leapfrog with small steps. This will be more flexible and lean and simple for our customers.

What is your view on this? I’m looking forward to our discussion.


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