• Five Ways Shape Search Drives Business Value shares the shortcomings of traditional search methodologies and how geometric search can complement them to drive new business value. The report includes some basics about shape search, five tangible ways it can improve business performance, and an example of how to calculate the ROI of a shape search investment.Please enjoy the summary below, or click the report or title to view the full PDF courtesy of our sponsor Siemens PLM (free of charge, no registration required).For more information, please visit the Siemens PLM Community blog to read the Shape … [ read more ]

    Five Ways Shape Search Drives Business Value (eBook)
  • Jim Brown contributed a guest post to the Siemens PLM Community blog discussing how R&D in the food and beverage industry can step up to the digital age to combat smaller, innovative companies that embrace the digital enterprise. This is the first of several posts that drill down on Surviving the New Competitive Landscape in Food and Beverage, a post that shares three ways that consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies can start their digitalization journey and discusses how that can help them avoid industry disruption.The first opportunity we're looking into is how the digital enterprise can improve … [ read more ]

    R&D Enters the Digital Age (guest post)
  • Please join Tech-Clarity's Michelle Boucher, Mark Turner from Alcon Labs, and Swapan Jha from PTC on Tuesday September 12, 2017 for a discussion on the right software solution for medical device engineering. The discussion will feature an interactive discussion between the panelists coving topics such as:Challenges facing medical device manufacturers. Why to consider the complete product lifecycle with respect to:Managing product and requirements. Transitioning from document to product centric approaches. Enabling smart and connected products.The best selection criteria for … [ read more ]

    Selecting the Right PLM Software for Medical Device Engineering (webcast)
  • Jim Brown contributed a guest post to the Siemens PLM Community blog discussing the opportunity for food and beverage companies to leverage digitalization and the digital enterprise to combat market disruption from new, innovate companies that are challenging current industry leaders. The post offers several ways that consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies can get started on their digital journey, achieve tangible business value, and combat challengers like Blue Apron and Amazon Fresh that are disrupting the status quo.The full post, Surviving the New Competitive Landscape in Food and Beverage, can be … [ read more ]

    Digitalization in Food and Beverage (guest post)
  • Dassault Systèmes continues to make significant progress on the 3DExperience vision they laid out 5 years ago. This strategy has seen them transform from a software vendor offering distinct solutions for a variety of functional areas to a company that leads with a strong business transformation message backed up by a platform of solutions. I dropped "PLM" from the title of last year's strategy review. I feel even better about that decision a year later. They now have a broad software suite brought to market as solutions tailored to support key initiatives in the vertical industries they serve. As times goes … [ read more ]

    Dassault Systèmes Strategy 2017+

PLM Hits the Road – and the Plant – and the Service Depot…


A quick peek into some research on … how mobile devices like the iPad can extend PLM value. Tech-Clarity recently published two papers, PLM Goes Mobile and Product and Program Management Goes Mobile. These papers explore the ways that using mobile PLM applications and devices can extend the opportunity for engineers and others in the product lifecycle to contribute, decide, act, and innovate with PLM.

UPDATE: For the IT perspective, please see this post about What the CIO Should Know about Mobile PLM

The Research Findings

Apple’s iPad and iPad 2 are revolutionizing the way people access media and information. About a year ago, I decided to buy one of the first iPads available as a birthday present (yes, for myself). I never regretted the decision until I saw how much more elegant and functional the iPad 2 is. Now I am envious. But as new as the iPad is, mobile devices and applications are not new. I researched business uses of mobile devices in papers such as SLM Goes Mobile which discusses taking field service applications into the field. But up to this point, the value of PLM hasn’t been widely available in a mobile setting. Things are changing. As these reports say, “Devices like the iPad are well suited for the intersection of business and mobility.”

The reports highlight the issues that traditional PLM-capable devices put on mobile workers. The report discusses two distinct sets of users, each with their own challenges:

  • Users that are extending the reach of their enterprise systems outside of the office, such as in a plane, doctor’s office, or meeting
  • Those that use mobile applications as their primary device, such as service technicians or manufacturing supervisors

The reports point out a wide variety of locations and scenarios where mobile applications can help with PLM (see Mobile PLM Framework diagram). They also point out the limitations of current devices in mobile scenarios. For example, one of the biggest differentiations (you know what I mean if you have an iPad) is that laptops are not mobile devices, they are portable devices. They are of very little use until you get from point A to point B and set them down on a flat surface. And for all of us that struggle with trying to type on a PC in coach airplane seats, you know that even that is a challenge. Compare that to the challenges faced by someone climbing up and down a piece of equipment or an aircraft in the hangar! The report also points out why smart phones fall short. Although the iPad will not be the only device that will be capable of running PLM applications, it will set the trend because it is the first one ready.

The reports also highlight mobile scenarios for different functions in the business. In fact, the papers were designed to address different perspectives:

  • For engineers and engineering managers, the issue is a lot of decision-making and innovation goes uncaptured or gets put on hold when an engineer is mobile.
  • For manufacturing personnel in the plant or service technicians at the service depot (or in the field), they simply don’t have convenient access to the product information they need to do their jobs.
  • For product and program managers, the issue is that mobile team members need to decide, approve, and contribute to their projects and programs in real-time regardless of whether they are sitting in front of a computer.

Please feel free to download the reports, there is far too much to go into in a blog post. But I hope this gives you some idea of what to expect in the reports.

Implications for Manufacturers

So what can manufacturers do to take advantage of the mobile PLM opportunity? The first thing they should do is recognize the limitations that they currently face from their devices. They should also recognize that the challenges for mobile PLM are not limited to devices, but also the applications. Simply running an existing PLM application in a web browser will fall short of expectations (and likely not get used). Mobile users need mobile apps, not PLM applications built for desktops or laptops (with a mouse, keyboard, and one or more large monitors). Mobile PLM applications should be built for mobile scenarios and use visual navigation. The iPad has great graphics and is very capable of showing high resolution product graphics, but work their best when they are running “apps” specifically designed for their form factor. The opportunity to extend PLM information and decision-making to mobile scenarios is in reach with the iPad (and other devices to come) and the availability of mobile PLM apps.

So that was a quick peek into some recent research on how mobile technology can have a positive impact on PLM, I hope you found it interesting. Does the research reflect your experiences? Do you see it differently? Let us know what it looks like from your perspective.

Please feel free to review more free research and white papers about PLM and other enterprise software for manufacturers from Tech-Clarity.


  1. Thanks for this, it is an interesting challenge to create PLM solutions that can be used by people on-the-go. I think it will be interesting to see what comes first – market demand, or technological availability.

  2. Thanks for this, it is an interesting challenge to create PLM solutions that can be used by people on-the-go. I think it will be interesting to see what comes first – market demand, or technological availability. n


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