Fast talk: Collaborative solutions are fueling PLM market growth

Solutions that enable collaboration are the fastest-selling products in the product life-cycle management (PLM) software space, according to a report from the consulting and research firm CIMdata.<br/>


Solutions that enable collaboration are the fastest-selling products in the product life-cycle management (PLM) software space, according to a report from Ann Arbor, Mich.-based consulting and research firm CIMdata .

Overall, sales of PLM technology grew 10.7 percent in 2006, and CIMdata expects that trend to continue through 2011, at which time the market would exceed $30 billion. More than $20 billion was spent on PLM software in 2006, according to CIMdata, with those expenditures breaking down as follows:

In analyzing market, CIMdata refers to the collaboration-oriented products as cPDm—or product data management—solutions. It

“Tools are focused on fundamental intellectual property [IP] creation, and cPDm is focused on IP management—including collaboration, visualization, vaulting, and sharing of product-related information,” says Ken Amann, CIMdata director of research.

Amann says the current healthy grow rate in PLM software sales—10.7 percent in 2006—reflects “continued recognition of the value of PLM in improving companies’ business performance.”

He also says PLM software vendors are boosting the value of PLM software by adapting their solutions to meet users’ current needs.

“Companies that have broad product suites designed to manage the full life cycle represent the foundation of PLM,” Amann says. “Increased user investments in these types of solutions are being driven by their continually broadening scope into areas such as digital manufacturing, strategic product planning, compliance management
The broad-based PLM vendors typically started out offering computer-aided design (CAD) tools before branching out into other areas. The leading broad-based PLM software vendors include Siemens PLM Software, Dassault Systemes, and PTC.

While these vendors control a large portion of the market, Amann says there is still room for smaller vendors that focus on specific portions of the product life cycle—such as testing during the design phase or supporting after-sales service. He also notes that both the comprehensive technology suppliers and the smaller focused vendors are both packaging solutions to address problems in specific vertical industries or manage specific business processes.

“The growth of these packaged solutions is significantly enabling small and medium-size businesses to adopt PLM technology,” Amann says. “Some PLM suppliers have been able to differentiate themselves by focusing on small and medium-size companies, and others have done so by focusing on specific industries.”
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