Sunday, June 26, 2011

The power of open PLM platforms

While researching on PLM openness, I came across the ebook The Power of Open. It is basically a marketing brochure for the creative commons licensing models, and it contains a lot of case studies where these models were successfully applied, e.g. Wikipedia and TED talks. The term open in this case refers to sharing content through CC-licenses. At first glance, this didn't seem to be useful for my work on PLM openness. After all, we want to protect IP, right?

The case of creative commons was nicely stated on the homepage:
Creative Commons began providing licenses for the open sharing of content only a decade ago. Now more than 400 million CC-licensed works are available on the Internet, from music and photos, to research findings and entire college courses. Creative Commons created the legal and technical infrastructure that allows effective sharing of knowledge, art and data by individuals, organizations and governments. More importantly, millions of creators took advantage of that infrastructure to share work that enriches the global commons for all humanity.

PLM platforms as infrastructure
Open PLM platforms should also provide an infrastructure for effective data sharing. In the best case, this PLM infrastructure can be enriched by 3rd parties, e.g. by adding functionality. This suggests that PLM openness can be applied on data and on functionality - each with an company-internal view and with an external view:

- Complete access to company data
- Open data model
- Support of data format standards, esp. STEP
- API's and documentation for sustainable customization, i.e. supported over multiple versions
- Ability to integrate with other applications
- API's and documentation for 3rd party add-on development including a business model to support this
- Support of service standards, esp. PLM services

Especially the aspect of 3rd party add-ons points back to the Power of Open: the current practices of most PLM vendors seem to focus on developing all functionality themselves. Partners are only used if needed, e.g. when specific know-how for the integration of other applications is needed. The success of App Stores with ten thousands of developers offering add-ons for a basic platform such as the iPad indicates the unused potential of PLM vendors. More openness could help using this potential - what an incentive.


  1. I think, time ago EDM/PDM/PLM are tried to be "tool-kits". Do you suggest to move PLM platforms back to that days? Best, Oleg

  2. Thank you for commenting, Oleg.
    I'm not asking back the toolkit, but I am asking for better architectures to manage the customizations that most larger PLM implementations still need. Such an architecture would also enable the integration of 3rd party add-ons.
    Best regards,

  3. reach post to read and think more detail about it.

    Best Prom Dresses