[Following is a lightly edited transcript from the webinar, “Select the Right PDM Solution,” brought to you by PTC and Design World Magazine.]
Kim: Hello, and welcome to this PTC webinar. Allow me to offer a quick introduction of today’s speakers. Joining us are Alan Goldman, VP of Cloud Solutions with PTC. Mark Lobo, Senior Director of PLM Solutions Management, also with PTC. And Jim Brown, President of Tech Clarity, who will now get this webinar started. Jim?
Jim Brown: Great, thank you very much, Kim, I appreciate the opportunity to present today, and just very excited to have a chance and talk to people about selecting the right PDM solution.
It’s clearly an important thing for companies to do in order to drive better productivity, but also set themselves up for the future. One of the things we’re gonna do today is start with a few introductions.
Then we’re gonna talk a little bit about some of the research that’s behind the product data management recommendations that we’re making. We’ll talk a little bit about some of the challenges that companies have with data management, the impacts of those challenges, then also the value that collaborative structured solutions like PDM can offer.
Then we’ll go through some considerations, things to look for for a solution, and just make sure that people keep in mind the fact that PDM is a great place to start and gain value, but also, it’s a foundation for future growth.
We’re then going to talk a little bit about the deployment options. In particular, we want to talk about the Cloud because of it’s high relevance today to what companies are looking for. Then we’ll move to a Q&A session.
So, quick introduction of myself, I’m currently an industry analyst for PLM, and focusing on digitalization and digital innovation for Tech-Clarity. But, I’ve got a background in industry also with management consulting, putting in and helping companies get value out of enterprise applications. Then, I’ve spent time directly in the software industry. Hopefully, some of those different roles can help provide some insights and value throughout the conversation, in addition to the research that I’ll be sharing.
I’m really happy to have Mark Lobo on this webcast with me. Senior Director of PLM Solutions Management for PTC. He’s got a lot of valuable experience and responsibility with Windchill, with Creo View, really helping drive the strategy, and has been in the industry for a long time, and has seen a lot of the growth of these solutions.
Mark, maybe you can just tell us a little bit about your current role at PTC and with PDM to get us started.
Mark Lobo: Absolutely. Thank you Jim, and Kim. I’m really excited to be here today. I am responsibility here at PTC for much of the direction around PDM and the growth on PDM to PLM. But, at the heart of it is still PDM, Winchill, Creo View. So, excited to be here, and happy to have a conversation. Thank you.
Jim Brown: Thank you very much Mark, and always a pleasure.
Also, joined today by Alan Goldman, welcome Alan. Alan is the Vice President of Cloud Solutions for PTC, and is really responsible for PTC’s Cloud-based product portfolio. He’s got a wealth of experience with Cloud and hosting operations via the internet. And has been in this industry also for a good amount of time, and really offers a greater amount of perspective on the Cloud and how it can help. So, Alan’s actually gonna come in a little bit later in the conversation as we start to talk about deployment options.
Alan, maybe to get us started, can you share a bit about your experience with the Cloud and your current responsibilities with PTC?
Alan Goldman: Yeah, sure, thank you Jim, and hello everyone. I joined PTC about three and a half years go with their acquisition of the Axeda Corporation. At that time, I was leading Axeda’s Cloud-hosting team. Axeda was an early adopter of the fast delivery model, and offered one of the first IOT applications on the market. In my role at PTC, I’m supporting the definition and evolution of the PLM Cloud products. We call it Cloud Optimizing. What we’re doing is we’re focusing on enhancing the application operations and readiness, really to deliver a superior Cloud Service.
Jim Brown: Fantastic, Alan. To start with, let me just talk a little bit about some of the research that goes behind what we’re talking about today. One of the key elements obviously, is that we have a product data management buyers guide that really is focused on helping companies identify what the key requirements are, what they key things they should look for in order to gain the most value out of their product data management solution.
This is actually just the most recent in a series of these buyers’ guides. We’ve touched on things like billing material management in our buyer’s guides, Cloud PLM, we’ve had some that have been focused on some very specific pieces of capability like requirements management, or managing service information.
But, others that are actually more general like medical device manufacturers, software selection guide, to leveraging research that has looked directly at product data management, and the value companies get from it, as well as some research we’ve done on how to manage the complexity of today’s products, but also today’s product development environment.
So, I’m gonna start with some PDM challenges that we’ve uncovered in our research. I don’t think it’ll probably surprise a lot of people to see that one of the biggest challenges is being able to share information with other departments. The next one, right after that, is being able to find information just for ourselves within engineering.
Clearly, what we see is that companies tend to have lots of data, whether its cat files, whether it’s additional types of information about their products. It’s often very difficult to keep those organized so that they can quickly retrieve what they need, and then be able to reuse that to develop a new product on top of it. But also, when it gets to sharing that information down stream, getting information for manufacturing, for example, to do the right thing.
You see further down, the sort of, derivative challenges of people working on the wrong or out-dated data, inability to reuse data. One of the hugest challenges is being able to manage change, and particularly manage the impact to change to know how pieces fit together. So, when one thing changes, what is that domino, or cascade effect.
Those are things that engineers, or engineering teams see, and run into, complications and annoyances. But, then when we look at it from a business perspective, what are the business impacts of those challenges? The number one thing we see is over half of the companies that we survey say that they face design inefficiency. Inefficiency ends up having them miss their due dates. Those are the things that really have people miss their market opportunities, have people miss potentially getting a product out to beat the competition, and really keep engineers from being able to spend the time that they want on innovating, instead of searching for the exact right file. Or trying to find a way to get the right information to somebody in purchasing, or somebody in manufacturing.
Mark, you’ve got a lot of experience in this as well, so, maybe what have you seen companies struggle with when they’re looking to improve product data management, and what impacts have you seen?
Mark Lobo: Jim, you know, you touched on a couple of these pain finds already, and I think on this very call, your companies talk to us about reducing the non-value add for designers and engineers. Most frequently, what we’ve come across is inability about finding the right design, or supporting documentation. Could be us working on the incorrect data, recreating it from scratch. When they could actually reuse the system data. Because, at the end of the day, it’s all about getting stuff out of the door.
The other thing that comes up more oftenly now than in the past is the need to provide product information to folks outside of engineering. It might be within the same company, but more so with people outside of the firewall, partners, suppliers. There’s been a lot of [inaudible 00:10:20] actually, email .zip files out, or putting them on Drop Box.
So, those are a couple of things to just directly come to mind and customers feel it’s a big problem today.
Jim Brown: Mark, we’ve seen a lot of the same times. Actually, our research shows that top performing companies, those companies that are able to hit their kind of market targets, and able to innovate, and hit their budget targets as well, are more likely to use structured, collaborative solutions, like Product Data Management.
So, we really do see a strong tie between being able to address these challenges, and using Product Data Management. In fact, we do see companies spending up to 20% of their time, a day a week, looking for information and certainly, that’s something that is gonna hamper product development efforts.
When we look at the solution to this, with Product Data Management, we break our buyer’s guides down into multiple elements. Obviously, there’s the software requirements that companies need to look for, and in this case, we broke those down into three elements. Controlling information, accessing information, and sharing it. We’ll walk through some of those in just a minute.
But, then, beyond that, it’s important to look for service requirements. What does it take to implement and adopt a solution, and what kind of support’s available? Particularly if you need support across a global implementation, and enterprise. But, also to look for the partner that you’re dealing with. The requirements for the vendor.
Then, for PDM specifically, we mentioned some special considerations for either smaller or larger organizations, specific industries, and also for setting themselves up for the digital enterprise. We’re obviously not gonna have time to go through all of that today during the webcast, but that’s what is in the buyer’s guide and what companies should take a look at. And just to give an idea for people, the types of things that we will share in the buyer’s guides, there are some key things to look for. Sort of a requirements checklist that can be very helpful when you’re starting to select a solution. We don’t go through everything, but we try and go through those key things that are gonna be the difference between being able to get value from the solution quickly.
Let’s move onto the first section which is, sort of, taking control. This control, access, share paradigm, or framework that we use really covers the basics of Product Data Management.
Control, in this case, is really about being able to make sure that the information the you have is safe, it’s well organized, so this includes things like managing documents, managing CAD data, and intricate relationships that all of the CAD data has. For example, associativity between the different CAD files, but also, what other information is tied to, for example, the specific revision of a product, or a specific configurations.
One of the key differentiators we see here, is the ability to really effectively manage multi-CAD. Some companies are very good at managing one CAD file format, but when we start getting into a multi-CAD environment, they start to fall down.
Mark, from your experience, what is some of the key things manufacturers should look for to get their data under control? And how does that help the business?
Mark Lobo: Well, Jim, so two things come to mind as I heard you speak out here. So, number one is while it’s great to have your data under control, as I said before, there’s a bigger and larger need to collaborate with folks outside. While PDM allows you to put stuff under control, you also want to make sure that while you’re collaborating, you’re not thinking about your ID being unprotected out as it’s being shared in the larger ecosystem.
So, PDM allows you to put things under control, but at the same time, gives you the checks and balances so that the right folks can access the data, and you don’t have to result to sending files on email, or FTP. But, you can still collaborate. That’s number one, I see companies need to look out for. Does the PDM allow you to enable collaboration?
The second thing is, you also touched on, is driving designer efficiency. Here, it’s important that the designer doesn’t feel that PDM is a hindrance to getting the job done, which is innovating and designing in a CAD system. So, when we think about PDM, we think about hiding that complexity from the user. It doesn’t matter which CAD system they’re using, they just get a chance to innovate and push that data in a controlled manner. Then you get more efficiency as the larger enterprise starts to use that data.
Those two things come to mind. Collaboration in a secure way, and designer efficiency with PDM.
Jim Brown: Yeah, Mark, I appreciate that.
Then, the second area we’ll talk about is access. Access really gets to the point where once data is under control, we know what our configurations are. We know what the current file is. We know what the current revision is, and we know where to find it so we can reuse it. It’s being able to pull that back quickly.
One of the things that we see companies struggle with is just spending an inordinate amount of time trying to pull back the designs they want, and what we found from our research is that companies will spend very little time before they’ll start recreating the wheel. We’ve all probably been through that in our own lives where we look for something, we can’t find it, and so, we start again. The impact of that is pretty significant, because, whenever you fail to find and reuse something, you’ve also got extra validation work, more down-stream work for others. Even potentially inventory issues downstream.
So, we always encourage people to have different ways to access information, not just a single hierarchy, for example, and at the same time, having that appropriate security model, so things are kept safe.
Mark, I guess the question to you here is, what should companies look for in order to make sure they can readily access their data? And how does that help?
Mark Lobo: Jim, you kind of touched on it already, but just this whole idea about design reuse. Design is at the heart of it, designers, engineers, they want to get stuff done quickly, innovate, and sometimes if it’s not easy to find a part that they need to design that relevant to the task at hand, they’re actually gonna go ahead and recreate it, thinking that it’s probably the path of least resistance. We’ve all done those kinds of things.
Typically, a designer really doesn’t understand the cost of creating a new part. It may be a new design, but there’s cost of procurement, the cost of getting it out onto the shop floor, and suppliers. We want to make sure that PDM gives them an easier way to find parts. Especially when you’re talking about companies that have merged. Everyone has their own definition of a screw, of a particular size. How do you do a lot of that innovation when you have a lot of data? Reusing it is really, really critical and something that PDM brings to the table.
Jim Brown: Mark, you bring up some good points there in terms of mergers, and when people move from one group to another, they leave a company, then you start to lose files, and you can’t find them. That tends to be … The steady state is usually not as bad as when things start to change.
The last piece that we’d like to talk about is this sharing. This really gets to that collaborative aspect of being able to share information. Not just finding it yourself and sharing it within engineering, but being able to take that and share it down-stream. Share it with people in procurement, or in manufacturing. Maybe set up some design review processes, design for manufacturer, design for assembly, design for compliance, those types of things.
We see very often that companies are able to share drawings well, they’re able to email things around. Mark, you mentioned a lot of different ways people try to get that information out, but really, having a way that companies can go in easily, look at something in a 3D context that makes sense, without all the complexity of CAD because they’re not engineers. They’re not designers. So, having some sort of a way to share that production information with people, in a way that makes sense to them, in a way that they can easily consume it in 3D, as opposed to trying to expect them to interpret drawings, or find something in their email, or have to learn the complexities of a CAD system.
Mark, what do you see as some of the key things that manufacturers should look for in order to share product data outside of engineering?
Mark Lobo: So, Jim, this is an interesting topic. A conversation we’re having more and more with people who are looking at PDM, is the designers need to think that the stuff that they’re putting into the system is gonna be used not only by them, and their design teams, but by a host of other people outside of the typical engineering team thought they think about.
The non-value at a task is, you said before, and we’ve seen it as well, these engineers then having to go and find the information and provide it. When we think about how can you make that process easy, in terms of self-service? Making product information easier to the larger enterprise by looking at role-based specific interfaces into PDM that allow people to quickly find information and use it. Again, in a secure manner. We don’t want it to be willy-nilly out there.
The other thing you touched on is the 3D information. That’s really important to kind of get a feel for. What the product looks like. A drawing is a drawing, it’s 2D. We have seen here internally, at PTC for example, companies are looking at how they can take augmented reality view of a product, which adds another level of engagement to a design, something you can put on top of your table, or on the shop floor and see it right there without actually having to share a file. There’s no way to experience the product in the real world. This is one way they can do it today.
Jim Brown: Mark, you really bring up and excellent point in terms of being able to use things like AR, augmented reality, and virtual reality.
So, let’s move on. Let’s talk about PDM as a foundation for growth, and what do I mean by that? Product Data Management, when we look at controlling, accessing, and sharing information, goes through some typical stages of early implementation. And in many cases, you look at sort of the bottom left of this, is you see companies are looking to manage CAD data. Early in the implementation, maybe that’s all they’re doing. They then start to move through phases where they start to add additional capabilities.
So, maybe we’re starting with engineering and starting to manage CAD data. Moving on to more of a collaborative mode where we’re sharing with new departments, maybe even reaching out to some third party engineering firms, or working directly with suppliers in our PDM environment.
Then, maybe taking on more of a process and project perspective to it. So, being able to do things like design reviews. Doing engineering change management around the designs to make sure that we’ve got configurations right.
What we see as companies do this, is that we continue to add greater and greater business value over time. So that PDM is not just a one time implementation, that then you can’t do anything with. There’s lots more that you can do, and over time, you start to gain a significantly larger amount of value.
Mark mentioned things like augmented reality. There’s lots of things that we can add on even beyond some of the basics to really get into a full product life cycle management solution that covers an even richer amount of the product and more processes, and gets further up and down the life cycle.
Mark, what have you seen in terms of how your customers expand the value they get from Product Data Management?
Mark Lobo: There’s some natural areas that companies, once they get value from PDM, and putting what we call “Digital House in Order”, is things like engineering change management. This is more than just a promotion to release. The next thing that has come up very often is actually managing and engineering material, and tying that back to the CAD that we have in all the documentation.
You can take that even further down into bringing the manufacturing engineering team and transforming some of those engineering material. Then actually integrating that into ERP. So, it seems like a natural progression, added value. The other thing that has come up, as well, with our customers, is integrating with their legacy systems. Right? Everybody has more than one product development system, either out-of-the-box systems, and PDM systems, document systems. It’s integrating those and making sure that there’s a cohesive setup, interfaces to access all the product information.
Jim Brown: Mark, I really appreciate you adding the perspective in it of integration, because you know, it really is the same way that product development and product innovation is a team sport. It also takes a village of systems behind it, there’s a lot of information that is stored in different places that support those different departments, and we are seeing quite a bit of value from extending solutions to be more collaborative with each other, in addition to the people.
One of the things we cover in the buyer’s guide is also the deployment options. We’ve seen companies try and address some of the things that may be barriers to implementation and adoption for PDM, either cost, or maybe availability of IT resources. There’s lots of different ways that companies can now implement PDM that can really reduce those barriers, but also provide a significant amount of additional value.
So, we see companies that may have been in private, or on premise mode, starting to move towards hosted, or infrastructure as a service, but then moving up the chain to really start to get more value from their service provider, and being able to focus more on their own product innovation, as opposed to maintaining systems.
Alan, first of all, thank you for your patience as Mark and I have been talking about a lot of the fun PDM things. What can you share in terms of what companies should consider when looking a different deployment options?
Alan Goldman: When thinking about deployment options, I think we should consider, really, I’m gonna focus on three different models.
The first is the traditional on-premise, or company IT deployed applications. In this model, the actual organization procures and installs the hardware, the software, networking. It handles all of the deployment services. When I talk about deployment services, it not only includes application installation, but it also includes the maintenance, the monitoring, and upgrades, along with, and almost more importantly, data protection. Such as backups and disaster recovery, and security, and your security model.
Second model is a hybrid model. In a hybrid model, you would utilize a Cloud infrastructure, however, the application would still be managed by the company’s IT organization. It’s typically called infrastructure as a service, or IAAS.
In this model, it really has the advantage of you don’t have to worry about the infrastructure, however your organization does have to manage the application. Once again, this includes all of the deployment services, the maintenance, the back ups, the data protection, and security.
In the final mode, or the software as a service, or a SAS model, the service provider manages every aspect of the service delivery. This includes all of the hardware and deployment. And the Software as a Service model really has the advantage of enabling companies to focus on application usage, and not have to worry about application delivery, security, or up-time.
I saw that many of the participants are unsure about Cloud deployment. I will say that I often find that Cloud providers have a more extensive and complex security program than typical on-premise delivery. So, that’s something to take into account.
Jim Brown: Thank you, Alan. We’ve actually seen a bit of shift from companies that were previously telling us they were concerned about the Cloud for things like performance and security, now mentioning to us that they’re looking to move to the Cloud, to take advantage of internet scale performance and security offered by a third party that specializes in that. So, it’s been interesting to watch that transition.
One of the things that we’ve seen with Product Data Management in the Cloud, is that Cloud really helps to amplify the benefits, the return on investment. It does that in a couple of ways. One is it helps to get companies up to speed and running a solution faster. So, faster time to benefit. But it also helps to reduce the cost of the implementation, or the cost of this solution, or the investment.
So, we see both sides of that ROI being impacted positively by the Cloud. So, this work Cloud gives you some different things that our customers, or our research clients have shared with us through surveys, in terms of the value of the Cloud.
We tend to break them down into a few different areas. The first is around implementation benefits. No need for hardware, no need to install software, less demand on IT. Those kind of things can really help companies get up to speed, more quickly, and at a lower cost.
But, there are also operational benefits, things that happen on a day to day basis. Alan, you mentioned not having to worry about things like disaster recovery, and backups. But there’s also the ability to access things like infinite computing capacity. Being able to scale the number of users up and down based on, maybe, projects rolling on and off, or seasonal demand.
See though, business benefits, and those can be from moving the cost from capital expenditure to operational expenditure. But, they can also be by some of the … Being able to take advantage of capabilities sooner, and really being able to leverage PDM in a more holistic, more value-chain oriented way, getting it beyond a single group. Because it’s easier to scale with the Cloud, easier to work with … Easier to work, for example, in a mobile environment.
So, there’s a lot of different aspects, or vectors to the benefits of Cloud. Then there’s the transformational value. We’ll talk a little bit about that as we talk about the digital enterprise. But, I think it’s important to realize that the value is not just a flat thing that really comes in different dimensions.
Alan, maybe you can share, go a little beyond what you said before and talk about how the Cloud really helps give more value specifically from PDM.
Alan Goldman: To start, what I’ll say is what it does, is it really enables organizations to take advantage of the Cloud, without having to know how to operate within the Cloud. The Cloud model enables a company to focus on usage and not on infrastructure, deployment, and security. It allows companies to easily expand their usage of the application as their organizational needs grow. It provides users with quicker access to newly released features and capabilities. Really about transferring the application deliver risk, the organization itself, to the Cloud provider. So the company can focus on application usage in their products.
What it translates to is really faster time to value with lower risk.
Jim Brown: Let’s talk a little bit about, we talked about PDM as the foundation for growth, one of the things that we’re talking a lot about in our research now, and I know PTC is as well, is this transition to the digital enterprise, or digitalization. It comes under many different names. But we’re seeing this fundamental shift in the manufacturing industries where companies are moving from an automated view, or electronic view where we’ve got a lot of things that are document centric, or locked up in files to a more free-flowing set of information where the information is unlocked and available to be used, much more readily across the enterprise. We’re seeing it drive a significant amount of increased agility and innovation, but also helping companies move faster with high quality.
So, it’s exciting to see. Some of the specific areas that are gaining a lot of attention right now are things like the digital thread, and the digital twin. If you think about each of those, and certainly each of those could be a topic to it’s own webcast, but, if you think about the value of each of those, they really require that you have your digital house in order, Mark, as you said.
If you don’t know what is in your products, you don’t have a solid control of your bill of material. You don’t know what your configurations are, it’s really hard to take that information and extend it outward.
What we’ve seen is that PDM and then even growing to PLM, is really the 3D backbone that underlies the digital enterprise in manufacturing.
With that, let me go ahead, and Mark, in what ways do you see PDM playing that foundation for the digital enterprise, and what capabilities are available?
Mark Lobo: Jim, to some extent, a lot of companies, both big and small are still struggling from getting their digital house in order. It’s ironic that’s sometimes a conversation we’re still having with them. But, once they’ve taken care of that, they start looking at focusing on the scope of PLM. And PLM also means different things to different people. But, it’s that extension of more business processes, going from just beyond managing CAD files and documents to change management, bill of materials management, supply chain collaboration. More aspects of the life cycle.
So, on the front end, you have the requirements, and on the back end you have service manufacturing. That means more people. A lot more people looking and needing to work with product data. But at the same time, you’re looking at business initiatives things of that are strategic to companies, which is new business models of how they provide their product as a service. When you start to do that, we’re starting to look at how technologies like internet or things, will take information from the physical product, and stream it back down, and in some shape or form, that’s consumable by the engineers who are actually doing innovation.
So, it really closes the loop on what life cycle management is. We’re seeing that PDM is that foundation to eventual goal.
Jim Brown: You make a good point. It maybe hard for companies that are in the mode where they don’t have the fundamentals of being able to control access, and being able to share information, to look beyond that. But, as they’re looking at solutions, we definitely suggest to them that they look for a solution that can grow with them and grow beyond to some of those capabilities. AR, VR, IOT, being able to put in a full digital twin that would buy directional communication. It may seem like a long way off, but the last thing you want to do is end up with a dead end solution.
How does the Cloud help manufacturers with their digital enterprise needs?
Alan Goldman: What the Cloud does is it really offers flexibility and focus. It first comes from the CLoud’s ability to offer unlimited processing and storage to meet the needs of the enterprise. This really helps manage the company’s growth, as well as user and data loads.
But, more importantly, the focus and flexibility is around having the ability to take advantage of the additional service and capabilities offered by the Cloud and the application provider.
There are many applications that Cloud providers have that can be utilized by dealing with and sort of having your application service through the Cloud.
Some examples of these include data analytics, and as Mark mentioned, IOT, and augmented reality.
The Cloud offers a digital enterprise this out-of-the box scalability and services. So, organizations could really focus on their innovation and development without having to worry about infrastructure and operations.
Jim Brown: Alan, I appreciate that.
Let’s share some key take-aways real quickly, just to get a little more, and then we’ll move on to our Q&A.
I think the first thing is that manufacturers really do face some really important and significant challenges with managing data. And I probably don’t need to tell anybody on the call about those, because you’re probably living through quite a few of those right now. Those really lead to some important business issues, in terms of poor productivity, quality issues, lack of ability to hit your targets for design and for launch of products.
We’ve seen that better data management tools, there’s a high correlation between top performers, that really hit their product development targets, and using collaborative product data management solutions.
So, PDM really gives them that ability to control, access, and share, but, also makes it, provides them an opportunity to grow even further, and we heard some great examples in the webcast from both Mark and Alan of some different potential options that companies can go to to get more value.
So, we do see Cloud reducing risk, reducing cost, helping companies adopt, but also being more transformative and helping companies do more and access that levels of computing, that probably would be very different for them to do inside, as opposed to focusing on their own innovation.
Some of the key take-aways from the buyer’s guide, is really to make sure you pick a partner you can grow with. Make sure that they understand how to work with some of the special considerations, like larger companies, smaller companies, and your industry. But, also somebody that really is prepared to move forward in this digital environment that we’re moving into, and help you compete.
We firmly expect to see some significant changes in the market share of companies, and market placement of companies with the digital enterprise, and you want to make sure that you’ve got the capabilities to grow into to do that. Once you’ve got your basics in order.
I’d like to thank you for listening today, and also invite you to continue the conversation via social media or in any way you would like to do that.