PLM Vendors tweak offerings to woo mid-market users
“The growth of supplier-developed‘packaged solutions’ is significantly enabling small- and medium-sized businesses to adopt PLM solutions,” according to the annual Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Market Analysis Report from CIMdata, Ann Arbor, MI. The 2007 report presents an analysis of the vast market and suppliers of PLM-related software, with emphasis on the collaborative product definition management (cPDm) and multi-discipline mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD) segments.
CIMdata director of research Ken Amann said, “Mid-market investment in PLM continues to grow and PLM solution providers are fine-tuning their product suites and pricing models to better meet mid-market requirements for PLM adoption. PLM suppliers (such as Arena Solutions, Aras, and Contact Software) have differentiated themselves by focusing on small- and mid-sized businesses.” Other suppliers such as Selerant, Infor, and Lascom are examples of companies differentiating themselves by focusing on specific industries, he said.
“Increased end-user investments are being driven by the continually-broadening scope of enterprise-wide implementations, expansion into new areas such as Digital Manufacturing, Strategic Product Planning, compliance management, industry-focused packaged solutions, and integration with other business initiatives such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM),” explained Amann. Both comprehensive PLM technology suppliers and focused application suppliers are packaging their products into solutions that focus on, and support, the practices of specific industries (automotive, aerospace, high-tech electronics) and business problems, e.g. compliance.
Many of the larger PLM suppliers provide multiple solutions, each focusing on specific industries and sizes of companies, said Amann. Independent consultancies, system integrators and value-added resellers (e.g., Accenture, CSC, Deloitte Consulting, HP Consulting, TCS, T-Systems, etc.) also continue to expand their PLM programs in response to the growing demand for such services.
Major comprehensive technology suppliers expanded their direct service delivery programs and increased their development of alliances with SIs and VARs. “Consultancies and SIs are growing PLM programs by teaming with one or more of the comprehensive technology suppliers as well as expanding their own PLM knowledge staff,” stated Amann.
Application suppliers focused on specific technologies and functions that are part of an overall PLM environment continue to expand the PLM footprint. Suppliers such as Accept Software, Centric Software, RuleStream, and Eurostep are examples of companies that are adding extended capabilities and value to PLM implementations. Examples of these expansion and/or niche areas include service-after-sales, strategic sourcing, and materials compliance solutions.
Amann said the area of simulation and analysis continues to receive substantial emphasis, with expanded solutions to manage these environments and integrate them more fully into a full PLM program emerging and transitioning this sector of the market toward comprehensive enterprise simulation management (ESM) support. Suppliers such as MSC have been quite visible in driving this transition, as well as the integrated simulation and analysis initiatives at major broad-based PLM suppliers like Dassault Systemes and Siemens PLM Solutions Group.