PLM vs. PDM – Perception vs. Reality

8 Feb

Inge Kraninckx asked a question about the definitions of PDM & PLM in the PLM PDM CAD group on Linked in.

I just read this statement in a Journal by PLMIG (Q3/2010) Do you agree with this definition?

As reaction to the idea that PLM is “scaled up PDM”, and the idea that PDM applies to less of the product lifecycle than PLM, they formulate this definition:
“PDM is the IT platform for PLM.”
Or, expressed from the opposite viewpoint:-
“PLM is the business context in which PDM is implemented.”

I think that the definition really comes down to perception vs reality. 

Our CEO here at CIMx is fond of  saying “perception is reality”  at one point early in our history, it was the tag line on his email signature. 

In the PDM/PLM debate the “perception” of Product LIFE-CYCLE Management is, in my view, significantly larger than the reality.  The reality is that most PLM systems are doing PDM, managing product data via BOM management, engineering change management, vaulting and workflow.  In that regard, PDM [read BOM management, engineering change management, vaulting and workflow], IS the IT platform for the yet unfulfilled promise of PLM.

Some may construe my comments as bashing PLM vendors.  Not true, I believe that Product Life Cycle management is where their focus should be as they grow and mature their products, and I believe that the vendors in that marketplace are working diligently to expand their horizons beyond the comfort of the engineering office. 

In order to support the full product lifecycle, PLM vendors need to invest in domain expertise outside of the realm of engineering (PDM).

This can be done by aquisition (as Dassault has done with the acquisition of Intercim, and Siemens has done with multiple acquisitions, Tecnomatix comes to mind), but acquisition brings it’s own challenges; differences in culture, technology and focus.  

Domain expertise can also be achieved by much less grandiose investments in partnering and/or talent. 

I believe that todays PDM will become PLM, it’s just a matter of time.


One Response to “PLM vs. PDM – Perception vs. Reality”

  1. beyondplm February 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    I think, the discussion about TLA should disappear. People in companies don’t think about TLAs – they think about processes and business objectives. We need to replace TLA discussion with the question of “where is the right app to do a job”? Time ago I wrote this – The future of TLA in engineering software. I think, CoIT (Consumer IT) behavior will be to provide a set of granular apps to the company… and forget about TLAs. Just my thoughts…

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