KILL_INNOThis time a little provocative title, which I hope will give some feedback from those who claim PLM brings INNOVATION. In one of my earlier posts, I talked about PLM – what is the target and also acted as an advocate for innovation.

Now after hearing PLM and INNOVATION mentioned the past two weeks everywhere as a logical combination, I started to question myself is this is just marketing ?
In this post I will act as the advocate of the devil.

Two weeks ago I attended the PLM Innovation congress, where first of all these two words were accepted by the audience as obvious linked together PLM INNOVATION. I participated in three sessions where INNOVATION was the topic. Charles Gagnon from Hydro Quebec talked about open innovation, but mentioned Hydro Quebec did not use any tool to manage INNOVATION so also not PLM. Peter Fassbender talked about the innovative approach to connect to the outside world using crowd sourcing and social media, but again no mentioning about PLM. Finally Christian Verstraete held an appeal for INNOVATION, urging everyone to think outside the box (did he mean outside the PLM box? Anyway no mentioning of PLM contribution)

Autodesk´s CEO  Carl Bass talked about The New Rules of INNOVATION at TEDx  and in the first part of his speech he is making the same statement that I would make related to PLM – see video:

Innovation–the work of the individual

Some quotes from his speech:

“Innovation is fundamentally not a corporate phenomena. Innovation involves taking risks and involves breaking the rules. And companies aren’t particularly good at that. In fact let´s say that it is just the opposite: companies are good in making rules and minimizing risk”

and quoting the author of The Innovator´s Dilemma Clayton Christensen:

“The lack of innovation is not the failure of companies but rather the result of prudent and sound management”


A week later Autodesk PLM 360 is launched. Again a PLM system that is bringing rules and structure, but apparently so far not affecting INNOVATION as we can see in one of the videos that came with the launch.

What the experts say.

Unfortunate the above video is only a teaser to get to the Autodesk Facebook page where, if you like them, you will be rewarded with access. A modern way of marketing: Only if you like us, we will tell you what we like.

Sanjeev Pal believes PLM is a business strategy that helps companies to reach their INNOVATION goals. Tom Grant starts with: “INNOVATION is really the word to focus on. At the heart of PLM is INNOVATION”. Later he states that probably one of the problems in PLM is the M (the Management part) that misleads the mind shifting in the wrong direction (against user acceptance and involvement’) and he prefers to call it more enablement instead of management. Somehow the conclusion is that PLM supports INNOVATION by bringing products faster to market. Does this mean PLM is the vehicle of bringing new innovations to the market ? Instead of creating a platform for INNOVATION?

STATS: Autodesk PLM + Innovation: 199.000 hits on Google

Once you have struggled like me to find the roundtable discussion and its content,  let´s look at other PLM vendors in alphabetical order:


Aras INNOVATOR– the word INNOVATOR it is already in the name but when you read more clearly what is stated at the Aras website, you see the word INNOVATOR is more targeting themselves (the software / the delivery model) instead of customer oriented INNOVATION. There the message is more about streamlining and connecting people and businesses (efficiency / collaboration).  So not much INNOVATION here related to PLM is my conclusion

STATS: Aras + Innovation: 11.200.000  hits on Google

Dassault Systèmes

When looking for Dassault Systèmes and INNOVATION I found an interesting statement on their website.

Dassault Systems launched its Passion for Innovation program in 2005. The program is based on a simple guiding principle: it is often the case that outstanding ideas do not come to fruition due to lack of appropriate resources. At Dassault Systèmes, all employees are free to install CATIA on their workstation. The idea of the program is to provide this opportunity to everyone

Is INNOVATION a result of the CAD tool ? not related to PLM ? I am sure there must a better story – but where is it ? There is a lot of talk about innovation, but related to PLM ?

STATS: Dassault Systèmes+ Innovation 1.340.000 hits on Google

Oracle Agile PLM

Oracle Agile PLM has a clear statement how they support INNOVATION:

Accelerate innovation through ideation management and collaboration, product portfolio management and analytics, data consolidation and cleansing, and a rich enterprise product record

I am not sure from this statement if we know the source wrote it. Marketing or a serious attempt to describe how Agile supports INNOVATION. I would love to learn a refined statement here that I understand.

STATS: Oracle PLM  + Innovation: 150.000 hits on Google


PTC does not give a direct association with INNOVATION. When I searched for PTC and INNOVATION the first suggestion was:  Did you mean HTC INNOVATION ?

Also when searching the PTC website, INNOVATION was hard to find. Interesting I noticed that the first main tab on the left was Discover our software capabilities. I was expecting that PTC like most PLM vendors would start from the business and not from the products.

STATS: PTC + Innovation 3.450.000 hits on Google


On the SAP PLM website I found a tab called Innovation Management and here SAP PLM gave a clear explanation which practices contribute to INNOVATION Management. SAP mentions here:

  • Strategy and planning
  • Managing innovative ideas
  • Program and project management
  • Portfolio management

As I expected SAP will not hint in any direction towards CAD tools and their focus is mainly on the management side. I would love to learn the part of managing innovative ideas as this is the challenging part. Ideas and management ?

STATS: SAP PLM + Innovation 131.000 hits on Google

Siemens PLM

On the Siemens PLM website you have to search for INNOVATION and when you do a search, you are mainly directed to blog articles, The word-cloud next to the blog did not show the word INNOVATION in bold, showing it is not a common used word. Digging deeper, I found a blog post related to an Innovation Leadership Summit, which suggests again there is a relation between PLM and INNOVATION. The closest match I found here was:

The HBR survey found that enterprises rely on PLM and IT to manage all this complexity, including new sustainability and regulatory requirements. PLM solutions  track the ideation process, monitor progress, identify laggard projects, and facilitate collaboration. Leading organizations leverage PLM to improve new product development processes and outcomes

That´s all. So my conclusion here is that also Siemens PLM not naturally connects PLM and Innovation.

STATS: Siemens PLM + Innovation 901.000 hits on Google

Common rumors


Without mentioning names, I hear stories from PLM implementations (or should I call it extended PDM implementations) that have created such a massive lock-in on the current state of the company, that changing the processes or innovating is almost a mission impossible. Exact what Clayton Christensen mentions in his Innovator´s Dilemma.

So having played the devil´s advocate role, I hope I made my statement that there is no real relation between PLM and INNOVATION despite it seems these two words are mentioned together as if they are linked.

Call for action

Therefore I challenge all vendors and companies that have a proven relation between PLM and INNOVATION to come to this debate and make their statement.

Where are the mythbusters that will crack the statement:

PLM has nothing to do with INNOVATION?

Looking forward to your responses.