Why does everyone need data access, but nobody wants PDM/PLM?

The original article was published on my Beyond PLM blog

I had a chance to dig into The State of Product Development 2020 report done by Onshape. You can get it here for free in exchange for a simple questionnaire, which I did. The report contains many interesting data points about what is important for manufacturing companies these days and what are their priorities. You will get some Onshape marketing, but the data is the most important.

The following list can give you an idea.

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PLM / PDM is on the bottom of the list. Interesting that the list has another item called data management. I found it interesting as it describes many functional aspects that usually belong to successfully implemented PDM or PLM systems.

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The article presents the top three items with the biggest capabilities gap. Again, the list presents functions usually found in PDM/PLM systems such as design visibility, process improvement, making design data less siloed.

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My favorite snapshot shows usage of PDM/PLM among differently sized manufacturing companies. You can see that even climbing to 50+ engineers (people involved in product development), almost half are not using PDM/PLM. Even, PDM/PLM is considered as an important task by many, people are looking for a "better way" to get things done.

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It made me think again about the existing PLM paradigm of placing a centralized database as a single source of truth. Such a paradigm seems to be outdated in the 2020s. People are thinking about data and not databases. People are thinking about getting access and sharing the data. Companies are demanding removing silos and early data visibility to departments. All these things are possible to achieve with modern SaaS PLM platforms in an agile and easy form.

What is my conclusion?

I shared my view on the PLM 2020 paradigm in the following Onshape article - What is PLM circa the 2020s? The industry passed a single database, hosted PLM systems, and is now moving towards multi-tenant SaaS PLM apps. These applications and platforms are focusing on how to get access to data and making data management invisible and transparent. Pretty much like Google gives you easy access to the data without requesting you to get deep in the way Google is managing the data.

The previous generation of PLM systems was designed on top of an SQL database, installed on company premises to control and manage company data. It was a single version of the truth paradigm. Things are changing and the truth is now distributed. It is not located in a single database in a single company. It lives in multiple places and it updates all the time. The pace of business is always getting faster. To support such an environment, companies need to move onto different types of systems – ones that are global, online, optimized to use information coming from multiple sources, and capable of interacting in real-time.

Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing a digital network platform that manages product data and connects manufacturers and their supply chain networks.

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