Has PLM Been Misdirected All This Time?
Chad Jackson posted on November 12, 2012 | 4011 views

Has PLM Been Misdirected All This Time?

It seems there's a movement afoot. Lots of folks have been pursuing PLM the same way: by getting the fundamentals right as a first step. But now, many organizations and new software providers are looking at things differently. And it might just be worth it.

Storified by Chad Jackson · Mon, Nov 12 2012 12:20:05

Deploying PLM. I know few technical champions that face the prospect of starting a PLM deployment with earnest joy. Mostly, that's because it can be a long, hard slog. According to posts like this one...
7 must have components of PLM solutions7 must have components of PLM solutions Increasing numbers of manufacturers are utilising PLM solutions, to optimise all aspects of their...
... there are fundamental pieces of PLM that you really need to put in place before you get into more advanced capabilities of PLM. Concurrent Engineering, a PTC reseller and author of the blog post above, is by no means alone. You'll find such posts on the basics, foundation or fundamentals of PLM all over the place. This view has been in place for years now.

Revolution! Anarchy! Cats and dogs living together!

More recently, however, there's been a counter-movement. With lots of change in the PLM space, folks are starting to question many of the fundamental assumptions they have had about PLM. Let's walk through a few of them.
You have some new PLM entrants that simply don't even cover some of the PLM fundamentals. Take a look at Nuage, Kenesto, Vuuch, and Autodesk's PLM360. None of them offer basic CAD workgroup data management. Kenesto and PLM360 offers some workflow type stuff. Vuuch and Nuage offer some social-based collaboration capabilities.
NuageSocial Media has changed the way we live. At Nuage, we believe it should also change the way we work. That's why we created Nuage Café. B...
Business Process Automation | Kenesto.comKenesto Meta Description
Deliverable-Centric Enterprise Social Software | VuuchEnterprise social software that connects people based on business deliverables rather than relationships. Improve time to delivery, commu...
You also have some folks talking about where and how to start PLM initiatives. Yoann Maingon suggests that it might be better to start PLM initiatives outside of engineering. Blasphemy! 
Stop starting PLM from Engineering !!!This has been a frustration for a while now for me in PLM projects implementation. Mainly during the first phase or even before selling t...
Oleg Shilovitsky, now an Autodesk executive but also notable blogger, also weighed in that it makes sense in some scenarios. The horror!
Should We Stop 'Engineering PLM'?Even if PLM (as a buzzword, business strategy and software) has a relatively short history, we can talk about some historical roots. Ther...
And of course, Jim Brown and I debated whether data and process must be integrated in PLM efforts. Regardless of who you think was right or wrong, the vote was split 49%-51% on what was, essentially, a very fundamental issue.
Granularity vs. Integration: Suites vs. Best-in-class PLMengineeringdotcom

What's the Point?

Well, it's this. Last week, Autodesk released some findings from a study they conducted of their PLM360 customers. Many folks blogged about it, but Deelip Mendes wrote up the best summary and gave some really good commentary as well.
Autodesk PLM 360 Adoption | Deelip.comYesterday Autodesk issued a press release titled " Survey of Autodesk PLM 360 Customers Shows Benefits of Cloud " which shed some light o...
Here's what smacked me in the face: 61% were using Microsoft Office tools for their PLM needs.
Now, let's contrast this with the old school thinking of PLM. The first step was always in the direction of PDM. And the value proposition there was to replace the management of files on shared drives and desktops with centralized management on a server-baserd system. That fundamental of PLM was all about getting your design data under control. From there, you would then deploy a lifecycle state driven release of that design data downstream. With that in place, you would deploy a change management process.
The findings from Autodesk's study stands in stark contrast with that. They are basically replacing spreadsheets and documents that served as process documentation. Your design data? leave it where it is. Got some document-based processes? Well, now maybe that can be improved.

My Takeaway

I'm now really convinced that the ground rules in the PLM space are changing. When you hear about the fundamentals of PLM, think very hard. At first glance, there seems to be a set of organizations that are happily leapfrogging those old school efforts and getting to value much faster.
And by the way, if those fundamental areas aren't a problem now, why wouldn't you want to leapfrog them?

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