Two weeks ago, LNS Research attended the 2012 Siemens PLM Software Analyst and Media Conference in Boston, MA. Alongside the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) industry’s leading analysts, we received briefings and updates from numerous Siemens executives. We also viewed a list of intriguing customer testimonials from companies such as NASA, Ford, Mahindra, Sandvik, and Electric Boat.
Regarding its Digital Enterprise Platform, Siemens PLM announced advancements and integrations between PLM, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), Plant Engineering, and Automation Engineering. As we’ve been closely following Siemens PLM since the acquisition of UGS, it’s been interesting to see the vendor progress toward its vision of a merged virtual and physical world. From the conference, it seems the company continues to follow its previously stated direction and is moving forward progress.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the key takeaways from the conference as well as our own perspective on the vendor’s trajectory and positioning.
A main and welcomed theme of the event, which was initiated by Siemens VP of Marketing, Dave Taylor, was around “Smarter Decisions, Better Products.” Siemens, as it should, believes in the power and capabilities of its platform and products. However, the breadth of the product set and shear range of functionality brings its own set of challenges.
This theme of simplification went beyond just the new market position, also spilling over into new product enhancements. Over the past few years, Siemens has felt that a core challenge of Teamcenter was that it exposed too much complexity to the user through the GUI, making it sometimes difficult to leverage the application’s full potential. With its simplified HD user experience, the vendor has improved its navigability, in addition to making it available on any interface (browser, tablet, smart phone, etc.). LNS Research expects that both the simplified market position and GUI will resonate with clients over time.
Integrating PLM and MES
In the eyes of LNS Research, another focal point of the event was on the integration of Teamcenter and SIMATIC IT and the progress being made in closed loop quality management. By facilitating communication and collaboration between PLM and MES, Siemens essentially standardizes and centralizes data from engineering to production and the larger supply chain.
At this event, Siemens claimed victory for the first time in what had always been a journey towards PLM-MES integration for the company. Much of this success is driven from the work major first-mover clients like Rolls Royce have achieved. Although, from listening to other clients present at this conference, such as Mahindra, PLM-MES integration will no longer only be for a few companies, it's going to be the standard for many Siemens clients in the future.
Although Siemens now has confidence in its ability to deliver PLM-MES integration, over time LNS Research expects to see further developments in this area. Siemens has recently reorganized its software operations, creating an MES center of excellence in Genoa, Italy, where 600 developers will be working on the solution at the same site. Additionally, with many of the recent Siemens acquisitions, especially IBS AG, a German-based company delivering MES and Enterprise Quality Management Software (EQMS) solutions, there is a lot of potential in the newly organized group. There are, of course, risks as well. Siemens has to be vigilant in maintaining a software culture in MES even though it is now more directly connected to the hardware automation group.
LNS Research’s Take on the Event
This event, more than many others, highlighted Siemens' long-term vision for the digital enterprise and the measured incremental approach being taken to make this vision a reality. The steps already made to simplify the marketing message as well as the user experience should pay dividends over time. It was also exciting to see both long-time clients (Rolls Royce) and relatively newer clients (Mahindra) making so much progress around the PLM-MES integration. There is, of course, risk in the future. With the new software group structure and many acquisitions over the past year, it's important that Siemens keeps focus on its vision for areas like closed loop quality management and PLM-MES integration, or else many of the recent gains could be lost.
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