What does the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) of the future look like?

In today’s landscape, PLM acts as a powerful enabler that provides an all-inclusive framework for companies to manage the entire lifecycle of a product, from its conception to retirement. But how will it shape the industry moving forward? Recalling my time at Siemens Digital Industries Software Realize Live 2023, let me share what I learned from the Teamcenter keynote.

At the core, there are three things all PLM solutions should do well to be successful in today’s market: 

– Establish a comprehensive digital twin & thread

– Be flexible for personalized adaptations 

– Engaged with an open ecosystem 

Companies like Siemens understand the importance of these competencies and are always willing to evolve their products for the future. One of the big initiatives they discussed was cloud-based PLM, with programs supporting this transition for many industries. 

Teamcenter X is a cloud-optimized solution of the traditional Teamcenter, packaged with the benefits of SaaS. Companies can now reach up to 60% reduction in overall costs with a system that is 10x scalable without the need for additional IT infrastructure. Global teams can collaborate on a secure and reliable platform with software that is updated to the latest releases. Additionally, Transform-To-Cloud Program allows businesses to switch their Teamcenter from on-premise to a cloud platform in three steps. 

Another big topic of discussion was building a concrete digital thread backbone that props an all-in-one workspace across various disciplines. Engineers can access a unified bill of materials (BOM), which includes inputs from design, manufacturing, EBOM, and other multi-domain BOMs. This, combined with application partnerships with major technology companies such as SAP, Microsoft, NVIDIA, etc., can be a game changer for many users. 

Lastly, there are plans in place for industry-focused management solutions where Teamcenter backbone would be integrated to specifically meet the needs of companies, whether it be Semiconductors or Capital Assets.

What’s My Take

Personally, it’s great to see how Siemens is embarking on a journey to explore industry-specific avenues in which they can reform Teamcenter’s backbone and better fit their customer’s needs. Moving into tomorrow’s world, I’m interested in seeing how the Integration of IoT and AI can influence PLM. Can this fusion help PLM decipher data better and generate product insights that lead to streamlined design iterations, predictive maintenance, and personalized customer experiences? Also, I foresee that PLM will play a pivotal role in fostering sustainability through material selection to end-of-life considerations. Lots of possibilities to uncover for the future!

How does the new Solid Edge SaaS make it possible to embark on the Digital Transformation journey?

During Realize Live 2023, I had the opportunity to sit in on a keynote about Siemens Digital Industries Software’s new Solid Edge SaaS offering and understand the breadth of possibilities available for customers to accelerate their digital transformation.

To begin, Solid Edge SaaS incorporates all the underlying technologies of traditional software with a SaaS architecture that unlocks many new capabilities. Users can now experience an enhanced user experience with new & improved CAD/CAM feature sets and interoperability with Siemens Xcelerator portfolio products. Data storage is secured in the cloud and easily shareable with teams anywhere, anytime, or on any device. Teams can leverage newly developed Augmented Reality (AR) capabilities for visualizing products in their real-world environment before they’re even built and conduct in-depth analysis much faster.

With the support of Xcelerator Share, Solid Edge SaaS also brings new features such as collaboration commenting, expanded view, and search tools that all streamline collaboration among different stakeholders. A modern dashboard with an in-built Kanban board simplifies project-related tasks and ensures adequate progress throughout the sprint cycle. Conversations become more interactive & intentional as users can track comments, filter through suggestions and make necessary adjustments in a single workflow, increasing team synergy. Additionally, the SaaS model allows customers to choose from a Value-Based Licensing system. Companies can benefit from lower IT costs and gain the flexibility of mixing and matching the add-on products & licenses as needed for their businesses to scale effectively.

What’s My Take

From my perspective, it’s interesting to see a shift in the market where companies are progressively working towards offering their traditional Software suite on a SaaS model. During my conversations at the keynote, I learned that 72% of advanced small and medium businesses believe digital technologies “level the playing field” when competing against larger corporations. And over half of them are leaning on a SaaS model. So, it makes sense why Solid Edge SaaS can be a great asset in helping companies transform their practices. As more & more businesses engage in some sort of digital transformation journey of their own, they will look towards such solutions that offer optimal functionality and flexibility with the usage of modern technologies.

What could be the transformative influence of ChatGPT and Generative AI on the Digital Thread?

The landscape of innovation is evolving at an unprecedented pace. As we navigate the complexities of the Digital Thread, the integrations of Generative AI and its specific implementations, such as ChatGPT, can be game-changers when it comes to unlocking the true potential of the technology. Luckily, I attended the Siemens Digital Industries Software Realize Live 2023 session hosted by Maya HTT to learn more about the experimental ways of using AI.

At the beginner level, AI-powered Chatbots can streamline communication between engineers, designers, and other stakeholders. With its incorporation in PLM systems, users can easily track progress, analyze large data buckets, and accelerate informed decision-making through a product’s lifecycle journey. Chatbots can act as subject matter experts for those who want to learn more about a particular program or process used in developing the product. For design challenges, Generative AI steps in with creative solutions by suggesting architecture possibilities based on set parameters & constraints while offering advanced virtual prototypes & simulation scenarios for pre and post-processing work. Moreover, imagine a world where users can put design context into a dialog box, and Generative AI crafts their bespoke products to the extent of individual preferences. The possibilities for personalization could be endless and our digital threads can be more powerful than ever.

What’s My Take

At first, I believe many engineering companies will be skeptical about the use of ChatGPT and other AI language models that aren’t independent because there is risk involved in terms of violating regulations, inciting copyright infringements & brand credibility, etc. But it’s a modern development that brings an opportunity for companies to solve more complex and challenging problems while developing a competitive edge in the market. So, the fear of missing out can be a massive factor in inciting businesses to use this Generative AI for distinct purposes and refractor language models into their ecosystems, with appropriate human oversight and ethical considerations. Nevertheless, I’m excited for users to experiment with this new technology and build something revolutionary for our world.