• On Tuesday November 21, 2017  please join Christopher Rösner, General Requirements Manager at e.GO mobile AG, Tech-Clarity's Michelle Boucher, and Che Curnew, Senior Technical Sales Specialist at PTC for a discussion on the benefits of a better approach to requirements management. This session will be an interactive interview to share different perspectives and experiences on requirements management. The discussion will include topics such as:How a Requirements Management solution can help your business How to identify specific requirements needs How to select the right solution for your … [ read more ]

    Selecting the Right Requirements Management Solution (webcast)
  • How do leading companies manage and operate their labs and what impact does that have on their business? Please share your thoughts in our short Chemical Lab Digitalization Survey.Tech-Clarity invites you to join a research study on best practices in lab management. If you've already completed the survey  –> please share with a colleague or you social media friends using the “Share/Save” buttons above. If you haven’t taken the survey  –> please: Take the survey nowComplete the survey and receive a free copy of the final report.In addition,  25 eligible* respondents will … [ read more ]

    Chemical Lab Digitalization (survey invitation)
  • Close the Engineering Skills Gap:Prepare New Graduates to Be Real-World Ready shares new research on the gap between the skills graduating engineers have and skills companies would like to see. The research examines the evolving needs of the engineering department. The results reveal that engineering departments expect to grow so we will need more engineers. On top of that, the required skills will also expand. Complicating the situation, as the most experienced engineers approach retirement age, companies must figure out how to replace that knowledge. This makes the skills of new engineers especially … [ read more ]

    Close the Engineering Skills Gap (survey findings)
  • This infographic shares our research on how Top Performing companies achieve better NPDI performance than their competitors, excelling at revenue growth, margin expansion, and delivering innovative products. The infographic starts by providing a graphical view of the unfortunate truth about new product development, companies miss their quality, cost, requirements, regulatory compliance, project budget, and time to market targets far too often. The graphic shares perspectives from our research.The piece is an Autodesk infographic leveraging data from our 7 Ways to Outperform Your Competitors in … [ read more ]

    How to Beat Your Competition in Product Development (infographic)
  • Tech-Clarity's Jim Brown hosted a panel discussion at the recent Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE Forum in Florida. The participants shared their perspectives on the cloud and their experience moving PLM to the cloud using the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform. Participants include:Kavi Parupally, Senior Director of Business Apps, Rockwell Collins Javier Glatt, CEO, CADMakers, Inc. Jeff Walters, VP Engineering, Globe Trailershttps://youtu.be/qqjE-ZtJOKc … [ read more ]

    Accelerating your Business & Reducing Complexity with the Cloud (panel discussion)

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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