Strategies of the Major PLM Vendors 2016+


As part of our ongoing coverage of the PLM and engineering software markets, we stay in touch with as many vendors as we can to understand their strategic direction and how it impacts their customers. This post shares our latest published coverage of the vendors, and provides a bit of insight into where we see the market transitioning this year. We hope that these posts are helpful, but please feel free to contact us (or comment) if you’re interested in our thoughts on other vendors.

The Source of our Perspective

We don’t like to pretend we’re smarter than anyone else in our market. The engineering software community including customers, consultants, and other analyst firms are chock full of smart people! We are fortunate, however, to have a unique perspective on the enterprise and engineering software industries.

  • We have backgrounds in engineering, management consulting, implementation, product management/marketing, and even software development.
  • We get to speak with vendor executives, product managers, developers, and others that make the decisions on the future of their products and product lines.
  • We get invited to open meetings that include the press and customers, but we’re also frequently briefed in confidence. Of course we can’t share any confidential information or we would never be invited back, but it does help us gain a broader perspective.
  • Beyond what the vendors are saying, we get to speak with their users. These are the R&D, Engineering, Program Management, Product Development, IT leaders, and executive teams that use the software. This grounds the demos and presentations with a view into real world implementations. We also have strong relationships with consulting firms that are intimately involved in implementations.

Our view, however, is just one of many. The previous series generated some great discussions both on our site and in the “blogosphere.” Please share your views!

The PLM Market in 2016+

So what’s happening at the highest level? PLM is going through a more significant transformation this year than I predicted:

  • We are witnessing a transition from standalone PLM, CAD, CAM, and CAE tools to Integrated Innovation Platforms that provide a holistic, integrated approach spanning from conceptual design through service and support. This isn’t a new thing, but it is accelerating faster than I expected
  • More manufacturers and vendors are beginning the transition to the Cloud (although it’s still early days for many)
  • IoT and the Industrial Internet opportunities, along with Industry 4.0, are dramatically reshaping our industry
  • We continue to see alternate approaches to managing product development processes and product data
  • The shift to smarter, systems-oriented products is driving the need for tighter integration between traditional application areas like Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and PLM
  • Vendors are continuing to bridge the gap between design and manufacturing
  • Vendors are continuing their industry specialization

Current and Planned Coverage

Companies I would ideally like to cover in this series include the following, but are limited based on their willingness to share (in a couple of cases) and my ability to find time to publish what I learn:

  • Others – this is a vibrant market with lots of solutions, including some interesting new players. Here is a thumbnail of a few. Some you might argue are not really “PLM” vendors. I am sure I will miss some and won’t provide enough detail on any here, but here is a quick recap. Some of the names might surprise you. Stay tuned.
  • Categories not Planned in This Series – (sorry!)
    • Process-specific PLM players
    • Product Portfolio Management (PPM) specialists
    • Design tool (CAD, CAM, etc.) specialists without PLM offerings – but see The Strategic Visions of CAD/CAE Vendors for some of Michelle Boucher’s perspectives.
    • Simulation (CAE) specialists without PLM offerings
    • Requirements Management (RM) specialists
    • Configuration Management (CM) specialists
    • MRO / SLM specialists
    • ALM specialists
    • Business that focus primarily on AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) versus product engineering and manufacturing


OK, who did I miss? Who should I prioritize? What do I need to know?