PLM is becoming serious business for IBM. The computer giant is reinvigorating its 20-plus year relationship with Dassault Systemes, along with intensifying its PLM resources by adding new centers of excellence and expanding the number of consultants and domain experts.
IBM is making a broader play around PLM in response to customers' increasing focus on innovation as a means to drive top-line revenue growth. "PLM is maturing to the point where it's no longer engineering's best kept secret," says Mark Lefebvre, director of global marketing for IBM PLM. "It really is a means for a company to transform itself."
Lefebvre says companies both large and small have long recognized PLM's ability to take time and costs out of the equation thanks to the operational efficiencies it can drive. But what they're starting to discover, he says, is PLM not only means you get products to market faster and at less cost, but with the right strategy, you can push more innovative products to market in a timely fashion, which is the only way to grow and differentiate a company in this crowded global economy.
The first pillar of IBM's announcement is it's expanding its long-time relationship with Dassault to resell the V6 PLM platform, including ENOVIA for global collaboration and product data management, CATIA for virtual product design, 3Dvia for 3-D virtual product documentation and DELMIA for digital manufacturing.
In addition, IBM is now overseeing 10 Global PLM Centers of Excellence, and the long-time PLM partners will co-coordinate an International Competency Center for PLM research and development. IBM is also adding to its consulting arsenal by manning a team of more than 2,000 PLM consultants along with 60 PLM industry experts that are now assigned to its research and development organization.
While IBM has been a reseller of PLM products for years, these latest efforts and its recent acquisitions of related technologies also serve to broaden its PLM story. The company has scooped up additional non-CAD focused PLM pieces over the years, including the Maximo enterprise asset management (EAM) tool for tracking asset data, which is invaluable for post-production service after sales, and the Telelogic customer requirements management tool. IBM also recently announced the $340 million acquisition of iLog, a French-based maker of business rules management software, which expands its SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) and PLM integration capabilities.
The integration and business process piece is where PLM customers can expect added value with IBM. "The value customers can expect out of IBM is the ability to help them integrate a PLM environment into the enterprise to collaborate across the supply chain both inbound and outbound," Lefebvre says. "PLM is migrating from a CAD-only or PDM-only platform into a broader play ... and IBM is expanding to address these other areas."