PLM Think Tank – Top 5 August, 2011

September 6, 2011

Summer is over. Last week I was attending SolidWorks media event in Concord Mass. September is going to be a traveling month for me. I’m going to attend Autodesk CIS event in Moscow. Autodesk is making some bold movements in the area of PLM. If you had a chance to follow my blog, you noted Autodesk PLM: Fast Second? post back in July. I hope to learn more about what Autodesk community outside is expecting from the future Autodesk PLM product and share it with you. Now, let’s move to the traditional Top 5 reviews of the last month.

ERP vs. PLM: More Competition in the future?

PLM and ERP integration topics are usually drive lots of attention from readers. This topic was clearly the August hit. I think we are going to face an increased competition between ERP and PLM vendors in a near future. The overlap between these two domains becomes more and more obvious. With the increased business objectives, PLM companies and stepping into the ERP territory in the spaces related to business aspects of PLM. At the same time, ERP companies are increasing their ability to handle and maintain engineering and product design data, which will put under a big question mark the potential implementation of PLM.

Live from SolidWorks 2012 Media Event

This post was mostly informative about what is going on with SolidWorks and coming SolidWorks 2012 release. I’ve shared some interesting numbers I had a chance to learn. Some of the most important ones – SolidWorks revenue ($417M), the number of employees – 825 world wide, the average selling price ($8K) is almost constant for the 4-5 years, 20% of sales are coming from non-CAD space (technical documentation, simulation and PDM). The integration between SolidWorks and Dassault System is increased for the last 2-3 years. I think SolidWorks can play a significant role in the future transformation of Dassault Systems.

PLM 2.0: Born to Die?

PLM 2.0 is an innovation introduced by Dassault System about 5 years ago. It is trying to capture the philosophy of Web 2.0 and everything else 2.0. However, I haven’t seen PLM 2.0 succeed as a trend. I’m discussing this topic and making analogy with Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0. I think the key word in a failure of PLM 2.0 is openness and availability. On a contrary, think for a moment about Web 2.0 – Blogs, Wikipedia, Flikr, eBay, Twitter… These and many other applications and technologies turned Web 1.0 into what we know as Web 2.0. It allowed many people bring web to a completely new level. I can influence the content published on the web, and many people simultaneously can have an access to this content. What I’d expect from PLM 2.0? I’d say, first, the ability to all people in the organization to have an easy access to product lifecycle data and processes. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, until now. So, we have a new version of PLM. It applies to DS V6 and to other PLM vendors as well. However, I cannot call it PLM 2.0.

Total Integration and the future of PLM

Integration is a very painful topic in PLM eco-systems. Most of the vendors are relying on partners and system integration companies to deliver a finished solution to customers. It seems to me, the understanding of the “integration value” is important to successfully implement PLM systems. This is not a short term project, but a long journey. I think, in the past “integration” was a “step child” in PLM product family. PLM companies focused on their own product lines and dismissed integration opportunity. However, future is integrated.

PLM Definition from Dassault System’s Al Bunshaft

Ask 10 people about "what is PLM?" and you will not find an identical answer. When I’m hearing somebody is coming with remarkable PLM definition, I always like to bring it to a wider audience to discuss. I found Mr. Bunshaft PLM definition quite balanced. Lifecycle is always a hot topic in every PLM discussion and an important element of PLM strategy. At the same time, lifecycle is also one of the biggest challenges in every PLM implementation. Let think about ECO as one of the fundamental elements of Product Lifecyle – the implementation of ECO management is still complicated and expensive. In the end of the last week, I posted about Total Integration and the Future of PLM last week. This post included some examples of Siemens PLM strategies in this space and raised active conversation with people about TLCMS (Total Lifecycle Management System). It is interesting to see how lifecycle oriented strategies will be converted into future products and technologies.

Best, Oleg

PLM Think Tank – May Top 5

May 27, 2011

What do you think about standards and PLM? For the long time, I thought about standards as toothbrushes. Everybody needs one, but nobody wants to use somebody else standard. My observation – standards in PLM are not very popular so far. STEP is one of the standards that materialized and widely used by many companies – vendors and customers. Early this week, attending Eurostep 2011 event, I was learning how standards can play a role of a cost saving factors for commercial software. To delivery some standard compliance in fundamental PLM functions such as data modeling can play a positive role in the development of future PLM solutions. Navigate to the following link to see my Eurostep 2011 presentation. Now, let’s turn to May Top 5.

Aras PLM lines up against Windchill, Enovia, and TeamCenter

Aras is definitely moving towards crossing paths with PLM like Windchill, Enovia, TeamCenter. Is it possible to displace large PLM system with Aras today? My answer – it depends. The PLM implementation scope is varied, and every implementation can be different. Therefore, I specially liked the community oriented approach of development. This is something that can make a difference. On the side of platforms and integrations – time will show if Aras will find a balance between throwing resources and effective delivery. This is a big challenge.

PLM, SharePoint and ProductPoint Lessons

Combining PLM and SharePoint raises many questions. Initially proposed as a successful combination to attract small manufacturing companies, it was discontinued by PTC. Here are my initial 5 lesson learned: (1) SharePoint is a technological platform that requires implementation and services. To use it for small manufacturing companies can be dangerous and depends on deployment configuration can be problematic. (2) Microsoft business interest is to deploy SharePoint to bigger companies, and it can be asymmetric with the interest of PLM companies to solve PLM SMB problem using SharePoint. (3) There are alternative ways to solve PLM usability problems rather than re-use SharePoint UI patterns. PTC just released new version of Windchill (10.0), which probably delivers better user experience. (4) Maintenance of multiple PLM products is probably way too complicated. (5) PLM for SMB is probably not only about better user experience and subset of functionality

Should we “pack” PLM data into 3D PDF?

To find a reliable way to make the information available downstream is critical for many organizations. 3D PDF seems to be as an option. The file-orientation paradigm helps current users to achieve their goal in an easy way. However, the “packing” a whole system into set of files seems to me problematic. The synchronization, run for updated information can become a nightmare.

Autodesk, Dassault and Free CAD Options?

I think we can see a very interesting dynamic. Both Autodesk and Dassault are playing with the power of free options on the competitor’s side. Known as a strong provider of 3D CAD (both CATIA and SolidWorks), Dassault released 2D CAD for DWG files for free to attract AutoCAD users. On the other side, the introduction of 3D CAD free downloadable 3D design tool, by Autodesk – a king of 2D draft package (AutoCAD) is another interesting step, which is probably has an intent to disrupt 3D CAD business on the low end. I hope to learn more about 123dabc as well as about future Free CAD products in 2d and 3d.

Top 3 “PLM Cloud” Killers

Cloud has a potential. However, as every new technology (and not only technology) it can be over-hyped and diminished by wrong implementations. It is important for companies experimenting with the cloud technologies not to be trapped into using “the cloud” as a marketing term as well as to apply “old software projects” under a new sauce.

Have a good weekend!

Best, Oleg

PLM Think Tank – April Top 5

April 29, 2011

What do you think is the most hard thing in everything we do? This month for me was overloaded by conferences. It started from COFES 2011 in sunny Scottsdale, AZ and ended in rainy Detroit, MI. However, the one thing was common between these two events – an extremely energetic community discussing various topics related to engineering, manufacturing and Product Lifecycle Management. My blog posts this month were influenced significantly by everything I was listening and discussing with people. Nevertheless, I’d like to mention one statement – "redesign is not so much having a new idea as stopping having an old idea". When I’m thinking about what will be the next 10 years of engineering and manufacturing software, I give my vote to people and companies that thinking differently. This is the most complicated thing. Just my opinion, of course. Now, let’s move to my traditional PLM think tank "top 5".

Post COFES, Dropbox and PLM Made Simple

This post started from a very simple tweet – "Drop box is a model for PLM in the future…". Yes, people are looking for simple tools. This is what made DropBox successful. PLM is complex. PLM companies have similar functionality in their hands today. However, the simplicity wins. Security is another question. This is a matter of trust. Do you trust Google? DropBox? Dassault? PTC? Use the cloud you trust…

PDM. Pre-configured? Painless?

Another post about simplicity and thinking differently. Engineers normally dislike PDM functions. They are trying to avoid it as much as possible. Therefore, PDM systems are not as popular when it comes to implementations. It requires time, cost and affect CAD functionality. However, the industry perception is that you need to have PDM to control your data. CAD vendors are trying to embed PDM functions into CAD packages and improve vertical integration between CAD and PDM packages. Can it be completely pre-configured and painless? I’m not sure. I think, the best thing engineers can think about is the “invisible PDM”.

PLM and Comprehensive Search

Search is an important infrastructure. The demand for search in manufacturing is growing. After ten years, people finally got Google. So, they expect the same from enterprise software. To be competitive, software vendors in this space such as PLM, CAD and others are trying to bring new technology to solve old problems. This is a good sign, in my view. However, one of the biggest problems in PLM and enterprise software is the complexity of solutions. This is quite important. I think, effective search solution can make software simpler. What is your take?

Moving from PLM to PLMSocial?

"Social" is trending. Do you think we are moving from PLM to PLS(Social)? I think, it is important to differentiate “technology” and “technological buzz”. Social has a power. People like to watch their friends’ pictures on Facebook and thinking about new Color startup supposing to change the way how people sharing photos in small communities. Do you think, the same technology will change the way people work with CAD drawing and Bill of Materials? The adoption of social networking (and associated technologies) is defined primarily by “social interests” in photo sharing and people belonging to the social net. User experience is important. That’s why Salesforce’s Chatter very similar to Facebook UI. Technology is secondary here.

ECO Management: What Matters?

ECO is a an important, but very complicated process. It involves many people from organizational departments to work on this and following ECO related activities from inside and outside organization. To have an appropriate tool is important. When you choose a tool, take into the consideration what are specific characteristics of your organization from the standpoint of mobility, complexity, need for visual and 3D before you make a right choice. In parallel, the simplicity of a tool is another important thing. To have a simpler can be a much bigger problem for manufacturers in coming years.

Best, Oleg

PLM Think Tank – January Top 5

February 6, 2011

My January was busy with travels. If you followed my blog and twitter over the past month, you’ve seen my posts and twitter messages from PLM Innovation 2011 event in London and SolidWorks World 2011 in San Antonio, TX. One of the most interesting trends that I’m observing last time is “consumerization” of enterprise software. It comes in different aspects. The most notable is re-thinking of the way enterprise applications, in general, and specifically Product Lifecycle Management is going. My hunch- people are ready to make compromises in functionality in order to have more usable software helping them in everyday life. iPad is actually a very good example. Despite the fact of providing fewer functionalities and, in general, being limited on the internet, iPad developed a huge adoption spiral. Apple sold 7.5 M iPads during the last quarter. Why it is so? I think, people are tired of complexity related to operation of complex PCs. The simplicity of iPad operation is the winning factor. Guess what? The same is going to happen with enterprise and engineering software. Now, let me come to my January top 5.

SolidWorks n!Fuze: The Cloud Remake of PLM Collaboration?

The collaboration topic in PLM is still a place where we will see lots of innovations. The attempt to remake some old concepts to a new reality is a good sign in my view. I can see “cloud” concepts, focus on usability and introducing of social elements as right steps toward converting n!Fuze into something useful. However, I have to note that some functionality of n!Fuze will create an overlap with existing Enterprise PDM features. Users have a tendency to push the limits of product can do from the functional standpoint, and I can see people can use n!Fuze as a basic PDM on the cloud.

PLM Innovation 2011: PLM and Engineering Software Trends

During my presentation on PLM Innovation Congress in London, I talked about major trends in Enterprise, Technologies and PLM customer’s demands. Navigate your browser to the following link to see my presentation. The major enterprise trends – mobility, social, open source and end of Microsoft dominance. From the technological standpoint, I noted significant impact of consumer and web 2.0 on engineering and manufacturing software. Another two technological impacts are coming from cloud computing and something I identified as “data networks” that going to replace the dominance of databases.

CAD, PLM and End of Microsoft Dominance

The development of multi-platform application is a tough work that requires additional resources of vendors. However, time is about to change and vendors are responding to the reality of the software and hardware platforms. I think, we are going to see growing appearance of CAD and PLM software on non-Microsoft platforms soon. I will be a very interesting change, in my view.

SolidWorks Lifecycle Management

In this post, I’m talking about changes in Dassault SolidWorks management and future perspective of SolidWorks product and technologies. I definitely can see a new chapter in what SolidWorks need to accomplish in coming years. The potential fundamental changes coming from multiple directions – platform, geometry, PDM. I tend to agree withSolidSmack’s Josh interviewing new SolidWorks CEO Bertrand Sicot – remember the roots is important.

3D/PLM and iPad: Future or Baloney?

You can find my collection of iPad applications related to 3D, CAD and PLM in this post. iPad and “new tablets” are creating a new device niche. New iPad apps provide us capabilities and user experience we have never seen before. It will take few more years until iPad gold rush will be transformed into valuable business apps, but I definitely can see some of them becomes a reality in Engineering and Manufacturing world.

Best, Oleg

PLM Think Tank July’s Top 5

August 19, 2010

Summer is vacation time. I spent first week of August in Orlando Disney Word with family and my photo camera. I’d like to share few of my pictures taken there.

If you are interested to see more of my pictures, navigate your browser to the following link. Now, let me get you to the PLM Think Tank July’s top five list.

PDM vs. PLM: A Data Perspective

In this post I started a discussion about one of the most confusing topics related to PLM – What is a difference between PDM and PLM? Here is my short brief from this post: The ugly truth of enterprise software – it is all about data and the control over the data. It appears in every solution. It is all about what data you manage, how do you keep your customers accessing and processing this data?. PLM is the attempt to manage data in the much broader scope than PDM. It creates lots of benefits from the standpoint of data completeness and, at the same time, created many overlaps in data management solutions in enterprise organizations. The PDM vs. PLM posts will continue and last week I posted my “PDM vs. PLM: A Process Perspective“.

PLM, BOM, Excel – How To Make It Right?

I’m getting back to the “Excel stories” this month too. Some PLM companies started to understand that they can build some business around preparing your future Excel to PLM migration. I’m covering one of these stories in this post. I think, MS Excel is a big deal for PLM companies. Customers are voting for Excels. PLM vendors may understand that their previous “Export To Excel” strategy was wrong, and they need to change it now. The competition with Excel will be growing as much as PLM vendors will be trying to expand their solutions to be used by more people in companies. So, give away some Excel templates can be a very good idea.

Top 3 Elements of Successful Social PLM Strategy

Here is my dive into “social PLM” ocean. Facebook and other social software generated a massive trend in enterprise applications. This trend will impact everything that PLM is trying to accomplish for years. I can see many Facebook-clones today. Creating a successful Facebook-clone will require to understand the content and specific characteristics of enterprise and PLM applications. I’m discussing various aspects of applying social strategies in PLM space.

How To Define PLM?

In this post, I’m catching discussion on a very big topic. What is the definition of PLM? I presented two very orthogonal definitions coming from PLM journalist and PLM mindshare vendor. This post caused multiple comments and discussions in LinkedIn forums. I’m planning to come with new post very soon on the same topic summarizing all I learned so far.

PLM and Legacy Data

Legacy data rarely coming into PLM strategic discussions. However, I think, legacy data is important. The amount of data is growing in the exponential manner. To handle legacy data and systems is a very painful task. Each time we come with new systems, the problem of legacy data comes up again. PLM needs to learn to handle foreign lifecycle data or lifecycle data produced by previous versions of PLM systems. It seems to me as a very important functionality that almost missed today.

Best, Oleg


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