Some people are equating the impact of today’s global economic problems to that of The Great Depression. Others, like Scott Anthony for example, are assuming a more positive tone. Scott has cleverly been using the terms “business condition” instead of “economic crisis” and “The Great Disruption” as a spun reference to “The Great Depression.”
However you chose to name it, this is incontestably an era of change, including for the PLM sector. Industries that are traditionally strong revenue sources for the PLM sector like Automotive are particularly hurting, with OEMs being buoyed by local governments and supply chain partners completely disappearing in some cases. Yet on the flip side, we’re seeing PLM being used more and more in growth industries like High Tech.
So this got me thinking: how bright is PLM’s future, and what does this mean for the job market?
With sustainable employment, jobs and the economy on the minds of most people these days, I thought you would also be interested in this question. So I put on my 3D Perspectives hat and went to interview our strategy lead, Omri Benayoun, about all this. Plus I asked a few related questions while chatting with him.
Here’s what I asked:
- What do you think is the future of PLM, and how do you think employment will slot into this?
- What can PLM do to help companies overcome today’s economic and environmental challenges?
- If you had an adolescent child interested to study CATIA , setting her up to work in the PLM industry in the next 5 years or so, would you encourage her, and what advice would you give?
- Bonus question (you gotta read the interview for this one)
Here’s the transcribed interview with Omri, enjoy:
1. What do you think is the future of PLM, and how do you think employment will slot into this?
A: I think it’s a very crucial question in different aspects. First, PLM is the fastest growing segment in the software industry compared to other segments like ERP, CRM, etc. So PLM is a place where we’re going to need more and more people, more and more talent. So I think the first remark is that employment is going to grow in the PLM sphere because whether we’re talking about the PLM editors such as ourselves, or more importantly, the PLM users such as our customers, those numbers are going to grow.
2. What can PLM do to help companies overcome today’s economic and environmental challenges?
A: As you know Kate, times of crisis are also times of opportunities. To me, PLM is a tool that can help companies out of this crisis. Companies are going to look for efficiencies, right? So look at manufacturers. They’re going to need to plan in advance to have better throughput to make sure their processes and their resources, whether we’re talking about people, tools , robots are optimized so they’re right the first time. This is the value proposition of our DELMIA brand.
Another aspect is innovation. Demand is decreasing in most of the developed world. Gaining new customers will more than ever require innovation. And what is PLM? It’s a tool to innovate through collaboration between the different communities: designers, engineers, together with the consumers. So by building a platform for innovation, PLM is going to allow these companies to bring to market new products that are going to suit the consumers’ needs.
So not only is PLM going to help on the bottom line, like trying to help cutting costs, PLM is going to help the top line by bringing to market in a faster time the products that consumers need.
3. If you had an adolescent child interested to study CATIA , setting her up to work in the PLM industry in the next 5 years or so, would you encourage her, and what advice would you give?
A: Well, definitely. And I think that working with a PLM system is going to be more and more fun. As you know today the youth is enjoying the virtual world and virtual universes, through their experiences with the Internet. This is what PLM 2.0 for Dassault Systèmes with its V6 platform is bringing to its customers. Virtual worlds that are going to be as fun and easy as what you and I and our kids are enjoying on the Internet every day. So first of all I think it’s going to be a fun experience to work as a PLM person.
Second, you were asking about advice. So I guess this is related to the skills that will be needed. More and more we will embed intelligence in the PLM system. All of the hard stuff will be hidden from the user so that the user will focus on his core competencies. If we’re talking about 3D CAD software CATIA it’s artistic or design competencies. Or if we’re talking about the more detailed design competencies, the engineering capacities. So people should really focus on one side their artistic thread to design new, exciting, ergonomic products, and on the other side, on their scientific, engineering thread for really complex products. Most products are going to embed more and more science, whether we’re talking about a cell phone or a shampoo bottle.
4. Is 3D a universal language?
A: Well of course. With 3D universes, you interact with people all over the world. People who are playing massively multi-player games such as World of Warcraft: from all over the world, they meet in a virtual universe to interact only through 3D. This is in the game space. But already today, in the professional world, our customers have teams all over the planet, collaborating, working together on the same 3D objects, the same 3D virtual factories, you name it. And they’re doing this thanks to 3D. They don’t need another language. So yes, 3D is what we call a media. Like music. Like a movie. Everyone understands it.
P.S. Related to this topic, Matthew published a great article this week you may like. It’s about a special SolidWorks initiative called the Engineering Stimulus Package. Also Oleg Shilovitsky shares his perspective on the future of PLM during a video interview found here.