In yet a further retreat away from long-time design tool
partner Dassault Systemes, IBM announced a partnership with Siemens PLM Software for a
new set of PLM applications and consulting offerings based on Siemens'
Teamcenter PLM platform and IBM's
middleware and service-oriented architecture (SOA) framework.
Siemens' forthcoming Teamcenter 8.0 comes ready to use with
Development Information Framework (PDIF), a set of extensions built on SOA
for integrating multiple applications, and comes preconfigured with the WebSphere middleware software and DB2
database management system. Siemens and IBM officials claim it is the only PLM
platform to be so tightly integrated with IBM's SOA and integration
architecture and for the first time, doesn't force customers to choose between
the two environments.
The pair, which have been actively working together for more
than a year, say the relationship is all about strengthening PLM as an
enterprise platform. "This is not just a reseller deal," says Mark Hanny, IBM's
vice president ISV alliances. "This is about the transformation of PLM beyond
the engineering workstation. The central theme is about how companies can
connect with other companies and suppliers around the world."
Teamcenter has historically been configured with the Oracle
database or with SQL Server. For over 20 years, IBM has partnered with Dassault
on PLM and CAD tools, reselling its Enovia PLM platform and CATIA 3-D CAD tool.
Despite the new Siemens agreement, IBM will continue to resell Dassault
products, officials say.
As companies look to PLM to streamline their business
processes around product development and innovation, integration of systems
becomes a thornier problem â one this latest alliance can help resolve, according
to both IBM and Siemens officials. Specifically, by offering Teamcenter preconfigured
with the IBM blue stack of technology, the companies aim to reduce the
heavy-lifting typically required to get PLM systems to talk to other key
enterprise platforms. Moreover, by creating such a tightly-coupled environment,
companies will be able to focus more on business process transformation with PLM
as opposed to the nuts and bolts of integration work, officials say.
"Traditionally, the client buys the middleware and the application and they
figure out how to make it work together with consulting help," says Rob Thomas,
IBM's worldwide vice president of business development for information
management. "(With this approach) the biggest benefit is to the client.
Overnight, it changes the expectations around deployment and ongoing
Those savings are indeed important, but only for those
customers that buy into the IBM SOA. "If an end user buys into the
IBM stack and Siemens software solution at the Teamcenter level, they're
ultimately going to save some money that they'd have had to spend to do the
integration themselves," says Ken Versprille, PLM research director for CPD Associates, a market research
firm focusing on product development.
As part of their relationship, IBM and Siemens will also
optimize Siemens PLM Software applications that can run IBM server and storage
devices as well as collaborate on joint sales and consulting engagements.