A new life cycle: IBM boosts support for collaborative product development

IBM says it is bolstering its product life-cycle management (PLM) offerings to support the industry’s move toward cross-functional, collaborative product development processes.
By Sidney Hill, Jr., executive editor July 30, 2008

IBM says it is bolstering its product life-cycle management (PLM) offerings to support the industry’s move toward cross-functional, collaborative product development processes.
From a product standpoint, IBM will continue to sell and support PLM software from Dassault Systemes . But it will recommend Websphere Process Server —IBM’s business process management engine—as the platform of choice for linking business applications with PLM systems.
In a press release announcing its new PLM initiative, IBM singled out Websphere Process Server’s service-oriented architecture (SOA) as critical to supporting enterprise wide product development processes.
“A traditional PLM environment typically includes anywhere from 20 to 40 applications—from authoring and simulation tools to business applications such as ERP,” the release said. “Today’s product development processes also require careful orchestration of mechanical, software, and electrical components into an integrated system often referred to as mechatronics. This orchestration takes place across a supply chain of hundreds of partners and suppliers who require a common platform to make information sharing easy. With Websphere Process Server, companies can build a SOA foundation to help integrate PLM applications with legacy and enterprise business systems.”
IBM also promises to make Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs and wikis easily available to users of the Dassault software to further enhance collaborative processes. For instance, it plans to embed the instant messaging capabilities from the IBM Lotus Sametime program into the user interface of the latest release of the Dassault PLM software suite.
Along these lines, IBM already is experimenting with retailers to use Second Life , a Web-based 3D virtual world, to test new concepts by pushing virtual samples to targeted communities for review.
“Clients can bet on IBM’s expertise to help them integrate PLM applications into existing technology investments while ensuring that products will be delivered on time,” said Albert Bunshaft, VP, IBM Product Lifecycle Management.
In addition to these product announcements, IBM is promising to help companies boost their expertise in the practice of PLM through the following resources: