The secret sauce for a mega-integrated PLM system is…

Ingredients for a CAD & PLM soup

If you’re like me and you have Google Alerts sending you daily emails of news in the PLM world, all you’ve seen over the last week is discussion about Oracle’s $495M (!) acquisition of Agile.

Now, this is obviously a significant event and you’d expect it to get a lot of attention. But most of the discussion has been pretty formulaic. Much of the commentary fits the pattern of this coverage from eWeek: how PLM “touches” every system in the company or why Oracle’s ambition is to crush SAP.

Even in the CAD blogging community, the coverage has been mundane. One exception is CAD and PLM blogger extraordinaire Franco Folini who posted this insightful comment last week that (as always) got me to thinking about the real meaning of the merger. Franco talks about the importance of visualization on the desktop. And I completely agree, but think there’s even more to it than even Franco was thinking about.

It’s clear that the big software players are all about creating “mega-integrated,” all-encompassing systems. We’re talking CAD+PLM+financials+manufacturing+PDM+HR+making coffee in the server room. These mega-integrated systems are going to be big — really big — and strategic to customers. But 100% of the effort is happening at the back end…in the server room. It’s not only big, it’s entirely focused on integration among heaps of code no user ever touches. To the extent anyone does see stuff exposed in UI, it’s really only there to feed the back-end beast.

We think the spotlight is too heavily focused on back-end integration simply for integration’s sake (and for the potential profit in selling mega-integrated systems to enterprise customers).

The real secret sauce that makes all this integration mania worthwhile is — ta da! — a desktop utility that’s easy to use, standards-based and capable of accepting input from anything and creating any kind of common human-consumable output…like HTML and PDF. In other words, why mega-integrate everything if not to make it available to people in an easily consumed way? If this sounds like we think a desktop integration point is the answer, you got that right.

We believe that the more integrated the back-end systems are, the more a lightweight, desktop system becomes the only way for end users to “digest” all that integrated information. And, the desktop becomes the only way to deliver the business value of all that integration. Integration by itself doesn’t do a darn thing to improve the business.

No surprise here…to us, the secret desktop ingredient to making those mega-systems sing is Seemage.

2 comments to The secret sauce for a mega-integrated PLM system is…

  • Donato Mangialardo  says:

    Speaking of desktop ingredients, why not Actify then? I don’t expect you support a competitor, of course, but yet, if the game is on the desktop, Actify does it very well.

  • Alex Neihaus  says:

    Well, maybe…OK, not. (-: Seriously though, whatever moves the trend TOWARD the desktop is a good thing, in our opinion.

    Our CEO often makes the point that CAD itself was a desktop revolution. The darker history of PLM, ERP and CRM systems has had a back-end emphasis. That’s why we think the secret sauce for creating the next level of productivity will be added not at the back-end but on the desktop.

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