In this post observations from the PDT 2015 conference which took place in the IVA Conference Center, part of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Services in Stockholm.
The conference was hosted by Eurostep supported by CIMdata, Airbus, Siemens Energy and Volvo AB.
For me, the PDT conference is interesting because there is a focus on architecture and standards flavored with complementary inspiring presentations. This year there were approximate 110 participants from 12 countries coming from different industries listening to 25 presentations spread over two days.
Peter Bilello from CIMdata kicked off the conference with his presentation: The Product Innovation Platform: What’s Missing.
Peter explained how the joined vision from CIMdata, Gartner and IDC related to a product innovation platform is growing.
The platform concept is bringing PLM to the enterprise level as a critical component to support innovation. The main challenge is to make the complex simple – easier said than done, but I agree this is the real problem of all the software vendors.
Peter showed an interesting graph based on a survey done by CIMdata, showing two trends.
- The software and technology capabilities are closing more and more the gap with the vision (a dream can come true)
- The gap between the implemented capabilities and the technical possible capabilities is growing too. Of course, there is a difference between the leaders and followers.
Peter described the three success factors determining if a platform can be successful:
- Connection: how easy is it for others to connect and plug into the platform to participate as part of the platform. Translated to capabilities this requires the platform to support open standards to connect external data sources as you do not want to build new interfaces for every external source. Also, the platform provider should provide an integration API with a low entry level to get the gravity (next point)
- Gravity: how well does the platform attract participants, both producers, and consumers. Besides a flexible and targeted user interfaces, there must be an infrastructure that allows companies to model the environment in such a manner that it supports experts creating the data, but also support consumers in data, who are not able to navigate through details and want a consumer-friendly environment.
- Flow: how well does the platform support the exchange and co-creation of value. The smartphone platforms are extremely simple compared to a business platform as the dimension of lifecycle status and versioning is not there. A business platform needs to have support for versioning and status combined with relating the information in the right context. Here I would say only the classical PLM vendors have in-depth experience with that.
Having read these three bullet points and taking existing enterprise software vendors for PLM, ERP, and other “platforms” in mind, you see there is still a way to go before we have a “real” platform available.
According to Peter, companies should start with anchoring the vision for a business innovation platform in their strategic roadmap. It will be an incremental journey anyway. How clear the vision is connected to business execution in reality differentiates leaders and followers.
Next Marc Halpern from Gartner elaborated on enabling Product Innovation Platforms. Marc started to say that the platform concept is still the process of optimizing PLM.
Marc explained the functional layers making up a product innovation platform, see below
According to Marc, in 2017 the major design, PLM and business suite vendors will all offer product innovation platforms, where certain industries are more likely to implement product innovation platforms faster than others.
Marc stressed that moving to a business innovation platform is a long, but staged, journey. Each stage of the journey can bring significant value.
Gartner has a 5-step maturity model based on the readiness of the organization. Moving from reactive, repeatable, integrating towards collaborating and ultimately orchestrating companies become business ready for PDM first, next PLM and the Product Innovation Platform at the end. You cannot skip one of these steps according to Marc. I agree, PLM implementations in the past failed because the company was dreaming that the PLM system would solve the business readiness of the organization.
Marc ended with a case study and the conclusions were not rocket science.
The importance of change management, management understanding and commitment, and business and IT joined involvement. A known best practice, still we fail in many situations to act accordingly, due to underestimation of the effort. See also my recent blog post: The importance of change management for PLM.
Next session from Camilla Wirseen was a real revelation. Her presentation: We are all Peepoople – innovation from the bottom of the pyramid.
She described how Anders Wilhemson, original a professor in architecture, focused on solving a global, big problem addressing 2.5 billion people in the world. These 2.5 billion persons, the poorest of the world, lack sanitation, which results in a high death rate for children (every 15 seconds a child dies because of contaminated water). Also the lack of safe places for sanitation lead to girls dropping out of school and women and children being at risk for rape when going to toilet places.
The solution is a bag, made of high-performance biodegradable plastics combined with chemicals, already in the bag, processing the feces to kill potential diseases and make the content available as fertilizer for the agricultural industry.
The plastic bag might not be new, but adding the circular possibilities to it, make it a unique approach to creating a business model providing collection and selling of the content again. For the poorest every cent they can earn makes a different.
Currently in initial projects the Peepoo system has proven its value: over 95 % user acceptance. It is the establishment that does not want to introduce Peepoo on a larger scale. Apparently they never realized themselves the problems with sanitation.
Peepoo is scaling up and helping the bottom of our society. And the crazy fact is that it was not invented by engineers but by an architect. This is challenging everyone to see where you can contribute to a better world. Have a look at peepoople.com – innovation with an enormous impact!
Next Volvo Cars and Volvo Trucks presented similar challenges: How to share product data based on external collaboration. The challenge of Volvo Cars is that it has gone through different ownerships and they require a more and more flexible infrastructure to share data. It is not about data pushing to a supplier anymore, it is about integrating partners where you have to share a particular part of your IP with the partner. And where the homegrown KPD system is working well for internal execution, it was never designed for partner sharing and collaboration. Volvo Cars implemented a Shared Technology Control application outside the firewall based on Share-A-space, where inside and outside data is mapped and connected. See their summary below. A pragmatic approach which is bringing direct benefits.
Concluding from the Volvo sessions: Apparently it ‘s hard to extend an existing system or infrastructure for secure collaboration with an external partner. The complexity of access right, different naming conventions, etc. Instead of that it is more pragmatic to have an intermediate system in the middle, like Share-A-space, that connects both worlds. The big advantage of Share-A-space is that the platform is based on the ISO 10303 (PLCS) standard and, therefore, has one of the characteristics of a real platform: openness based on standards.
Jonas Hammerberg from the Awesome Group closed day one with an inspiring and eye-opening presentation: Make PLM – The Why and How with Gamification FUN.
Jonas started to describe the behavioral drivers new generations have based on immediate feedback for the feeling of achievement, pride and status and being in a leading environment combined with the feelings of being in a group feeling friendship, trust, and love.
Current organizations are not addressing these different behaviors, it leads to disengagement at the office / work floor as Jonas showed from a survey held in Sweden – see figure. The intrinsic motivation is missing. One of the topics that concerns me the most when seeing current PLM implementations.
The Awesome group has developed apps and plug-ins for existing software, office and PLM bring in the feelings of autonomy, mastery and purpose to the individual performing in teams. Direct feedback and stimulating team and individual performance as part of the job.
By doing so the organization also gets feedback on the behavior, activity, collaboration and knowledge sharing of individuals and how this related to their performance. An interesting concept to be implemented in situations where gamification makes sense.
Owe Lind and Magnus Lidström from Scania talked about their Remote Diagnostics approach where diagnostic readings can be received from a car through a mobile phone network either to support preventive maintenance or actual diagnostics on the road and provide support.
Interesting Owe and Magnus were not using the word IoT (Internet of Things) at all, a hype related to these capabilities. Have a look here on YouTube
There was no chance to fall asleep after lunch, where Robin Teigland from the Stockholm School of Economics took us in a whirlwind through several trends under the title: The Third Revolution – exploring new forms of value creation through doing more with less.
The decomposition of traditional business into smaller and must faster communities undermine traditional markets. Also concepts like Uber, Bitcoin becoming a serious threat. The business change as a result of connectivity and communities leading to more and more networks of skills bringing together knowledge to design a car (Local Motors), funding (Kickstarter) – and it is all about sharing knowledge instead of keeping it inside – sharing creates the momentum in the world. You can look at Robin’s presentation(s) at Slideshare here.
All very positive trends for the future, however, a big threat to the currently established companies. Robin named it the Third Revolution which is in line with what we are discussing in our PLM world, although some of us call it even the Fourth Revolution (Industry 4.0).
Professor Martin Eigner from the Technical University of Kaiserslautern brought us back to reality in his presentation: Industry 4.0 or Industrial Internet: What is the impact for PLM?
Martin stood at the base for what we call PLM and already for several years he is explaining to us that the classical definition for PLM is too narrow. More and more we are developing systems instead of products. Therefore, he prefers the abbreviation SysLM, which is more than 3 characters and therefore probably hard to accept by the industry.
System development and, therefore, multidisciplinary development of systems introduces a new complexity. Traditional change management for Mechanical CAD (ECO/ECR) is entirely different from how software change management is handled (baselines / branches related to features). The way systems are designed, require a different methodology where systems engineering is an integral part of the development process, see Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE).
Next Martin discussed 4 potential IT-architectures where, based on the “products” and business needs, a different balance of PLM, ALM or ERP activities is required.
Martin’s final point was about the need for standards support these architectures, bringing together OSLC, PCLS, etc.
Standards are necessary for fast and affordable integrations and data exchange.
My presentation: The Perfect Storm or a fatal Tsunami was partly summarizing topics from the conference and, in addition, touching on two topics.
The first topic is related to big data and analytics. Many are trying to get a grip on big data with analytics. However, the real benefit of big data comes when you are able to apply algorithms to it. Gartner just made an interesting statement related to big data (below) and Marc Halpern added to this quote that there is an intrinsic need for data standards in order to apply algorithms.
When algorithms can be used, classical processes like ECO, ECR or managers might become obsolete and even a jobs like an accountant is at risk. This as predicted in article in the Economist in February 2014 – the onrushing Wave
The second topic, where I believe we are still hesitating too long at management level, is making decisions, to anticipate the upcoming digital wave and all of its side effects. We see a huge wave coming. If we do not mobilize the people, this wave might be a tsunami for those still at the seaside
Conclusion: PDT2015 was an inspiring, well-balanced conference with excellent opportunity to network with all people attending. For those interested in the details of the PLM future and standards an ideal opportunity to get up to date. And next the challenge: Make it happen at your company!
.. if you reach this point, my compliments for your persistency to read it all. Too long for a blog post and even here I had to strip