Product Innovation Platform: Plug'n'play in next generation PLM – TV-report
Verdi Ogewell posted on December 03, 2014 |

What will the PLM platform of the future look like? Can a single system cover everything from product realization to distribution, from services to smart products and maintenance?

There are certainly those who thinks so.  Dassault Systèms, Siemens PLM and PTC have set their sights on an ambitious vision of the PLM market. But there are sceptical voices too, like analyst Gartner’s Marc Halpern and CIMdata’s Peter Bilello. "No, this will not be," they asserted during the recent PDT Europe conference in Paris where the main theme was, "Shaping the PLM platform of the future".

"With digital business, the nature of products is changing," says Marc Halpern in this TV-report from the event. "This requires manufacturers to adopt new thinking and a new type of IT platform called 'Product Innovation Platforms' to define and design products and to manage life cycles”

So, what is the Product Innovation Platform about? In his keynote, Peter Bilello characterized it as, ”the next generation of PLM”. In its broadest defintion a Product Innovation Platform will allow:

·         Availability

·         agility (rapid-fitting, easy to change)

·         real-time collaboration

·         discoveries through research tools for comparison and analysis

·         insights through simulation

·         reuse of insights and designs

The new platform is based on system-centric design and holistic governance, rather than the individual product data owners, "who often work in siloed environments” according to Bilello.

There are four building blocks that support communication in a Product Innovation Platform: Cloud, Mobility, Social and Big Data Analysis. From a PLM and product design perspective, the engineers will be able to use more digital solutions and processes to define, construct, resource manage, manufacture and service products.  Most of those products will have embedded software, sensors and will be connected to the Cloud. Everything is modular, adapted to a federated PLM platform where one solution can be switched to the other.

”It’s "Plug and Play" applicable”, said Bilello.

"Plug’n’play applicable in next generation PLM", claims CIMdata’s Peter Bilello.

PLM can not ”afford” to be regarded as just a design or engineering system

Both Bilello and Halpern stressed that PLM has become an enterprise issue. You have to look at it as an end-to-end business platform, a way to manage life cycles from concepts through end-of-life and reuse. In fact, analysts are using the word ’lives’ because ”in a circular economy ( will cover this topic in a coming article and TV-report) we’re talking about products with multiple life cycles”, the CIMdata analyst explained.

PLM can no longer ”afford” to be regarded as a design or an engineering system given the fact that the nature of products is changing.  The infrastructuture to support product development has to evolve to support these new products and their software-type business models.

Global marine engine and power plant solutions manufacturer Wärtsilä sees new business opportunities in the product-as-a-service concept.

Product-as-a-service in Wärtsilä – demands a federated platform

This trend was underscored by marine engine and power plant solutions manufacturer Wärtsilä’s Shefali Arora. She is the PLM/PDM manager of this global company and asserts that product-as-a-service not only already is here, but also  will become an increasingly important foundation for new business opportunities.

"We already have many service products", she said to the PLM TV News team. We have, "services for products, for ship power, operations, maintenance, and for environmental products. In today’s world customers are increasingly interested in outsourcing operations. At Wärtsilä we have an extensive product portfolio; those products are part of our integrated and customized power solutions and they are offered with envelopes of services around them. So if we want to support their life cycle, having information about all our installations is very important. Also important is the ability to dynamically update that information to be able to deliver things like better performance, preventive maintenance, and also promote continues upgrades of efficiency". 

"We’re aiming to build a federated PLM platform", says Wärtsilä’s Shefali Arora.

Wärtsilä regards PLM as a business platform that has to be capable of enabling different needs. ”A federated platform can do that and we are aiming to build one”, Arora concludes.

Analyst Gartner’s Marc Halpern: "Already in 2017 we expect 25% of the global manufacturing industry will work on some kind of Product Innovation Platform".

Product Innovation Platform and the importance of standards

The Cloud, Internet of Things, Big Data and predictive analytics are just some of the new technologies and platforms that, when combined with new patterns of consumption and smart connected products, dramatically alters the way product realization is done.  Things are moving fast. ”Already in 2017 we expect that 25% of the global manufacturing industry will work on Product Innovation Platforms of some kind”, Halpern predicts.

Eurosteps Group’s CEO, Håkan Kårdén agrees: ”The Future PLM system will be a federated system. This becomes obvious when you consider all legacy systems out there that need to be integrated. The total replacement of all existing PLM applications is not possible any more. As the future PLM system will have to span also the extended enterprise, federation is even more obvious. Business needs and agility require a redefinition of PLM. Modularity, openness and standards will help users to control their own PLM destiny.” He also pointed out that the transformation will raise demands for data formats that can support distribution, service and maintenance over time. ”Who knows which of today’s PLM providers who will be there tomorrow”, asks the Eurostep chief rhetorically.

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus’ PLM executive, Anders Romare reasoned along the same line during last year’s PDT when he pointed out the hazards of putting all an enterprises PLM eggs in the same basket. ”We don’t want to put all the IP (Intellectual Property) into one companys solutions. The sheer risk to have one vendor is simply to high”, he says in the PLM TV News’ report. 

Laurence Earl, Saab Defense: "Lifecycle based support is a key issue for the next generation of fighter jets".

More on the Product Innovation Platform

The Product Innovation Platform (PIP) concept will contribute to reshape the future of PLM. While the details are not clear, the general ideas around it are becoming clearer. Watch this TV-report to find out more about the effects it (PIP) can have on product development, manufacturing and services.

In this video you’ll hear from:

  • Laurence Earl, Head of Strategy & Business Development at defense & security corporation Saab AB (Business Area Support and Services, Sweden)
  • Shefali Arora, PLM/PDM manager, Wärtsilä (marine engines & power plant solutions)
  • Sebastien Olivier, ILS Advisor, French Army
  • Amir Rashid, Associate Professor, Department of Production Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology, KTH

"To handle complexity is a key issue", asserts Steven Vetterman, ProSTEP iViP.

  • Steven Vettermann, General Manager, ProSTEP iViP, Germany
  • Gartner’s PLM analyst, Marc Halpern.
  • CIMdata’s Peter Bilello, President
  • The CEO of PDT organizer Eurostep Group, Håkan Kårdén

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