I had the chance to talk with … Siemens (the manufacturer) and Siemens PLM (their PLM software group) last week as a participant in an PLM industry analysts meeting. The meeting was full of interesting updates on their PLM products, but one thing that really struck me was Siemens talking about Siemens. As many people know, Siemens was a big user of Siemens PLM solutions prior to acquiring them (back when they were known as UGS). When Siemens acquired UGS I saw some real promise and some real potential problems, it was interesting to get an update and a new perspective.
Recapping my Earlier Thoughts on the Acquisition
I shared my public thoughts on the Siemens-UGS acquisition in my blog, and shared some more thoughts directly with the UGS and Siemens teams. In short, I believed:
- It was a positive move to have a more stable “home” for UGS, although they were doing well on their own
- There was a tremendous opportunity for the newly joined company to integrate engineering and manufacturing execution
- There was a real risk (in my mind at least) that Siemens would start touting a fully integrated PLM-MES-Plant Equipment model before many of their customers were ready to think about it, let alone have the maturity to take advantage of it
Looking back at my blog from May, 2008 I see comments like “too much vision?” and “too big to fit in people’s heads.” It looks like I didn’t pull many punches in my public blog, I guess I should be thankful I am still asked to the meetings…
Siemens (the PLM Vendor) on Siemens (the Manufacturer)
Fast forward to the present time, and I am pleased to say that Siemens PLM is selling … drum roll please … PLM. The Siemens leadership has taken a very pragmatic approach to integrating the companies, and (from what I can see from the outside at least) let Siemens lead the way. Most of the UGS leadership is still in place, and Siemens seems to respect the former UGS organization’s knowledge of the software industry. From the product updates it is clear that they have not taken their eye off of other PLM opportunities or overemphasized the integration initiative, as the PLM solution is being enhanced in ways that the PLM market demands, not the parent company. Of course, that is what is in the best interest of Siemens as a whole, but sometimes acquiring companies lose perspective on things like that.
Having said that, the larger opportunity has not been lost. It just hasn’t been pushed into places where it is too much to handle. The teams talked about some real examples of joint opportunities where they have worked together, and are moving in a practical way towards integrated offerings. What was even more interesting to me as to listen to Helmuth Ludwig talk about Siemens as a corporation. He talks about the ability to team with his manufacturing counterparts to help move towards greater integration of innovation and manufacturing. He used the term “laboratory” to explain how they can learn internally from their more advanced manufacturing businesses. Siemens (and other PLM vendors) often team with their more advanced customers to experiment and co-develop solutions, but few have the advantage of having the PLM vendor, the manufacturer, the MES vendor, and the plant equipment/controls vendor all within the same company.
Siemens (the Manufacturer) on Siemens (the PLM Vendor)
The other perspective that was shared at the meeting was from a Siemens manufacturing plant. This was not one of the “laboratory” opportunities, but one that was still maturing in their use of PLM. My key takeaways from that presentation are:
- They were using Siemens PLM solutions before the acquisition
- They are continuing to use Siemens PLM solutions now
- They are running at their own PLM maturity level, and not overwhelmed with having to adopt the fully integrated model (which they aren’t organizationally ready for)
In short, they are free to move up the PLM maturity curve at their own pace, and Siemens PLM is there to support them. The goods news is that Siemens seems to be able to support the majority of the market that is early in PLM maturity, at the same time they are pushing the limits on the more advanced end of a fully integrated innovation-production model.
So that’s what I hear from Siemens (and Siemens), I hope you found it useful. What do you think? What else should I have asked them?