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Future of CAD and PLM: Part 1

Posted on Wednesday, Feb 28th 2007

I wrote a number of articles about the CAD / PLM industry over the last few weeks, especially bringing them in the context of the Extended Enterprise trend.

In CAD PLM Shuffles and SaaS: PLM and The Extended Enterprise, I discussed some of the recent changes in the PLM landscape (UGS’ acquisition by Siemens, IBM’s divorce with Dassault, PTC’s sudden surge in stock price).

In Design Collaboration in the Extended Enterprise? I questioned Autodesk’s PDM strategy.

In this piece, let me outline what I would like to see going forward:

1. I would like to see Autodesk stay focused on picking up the maximum benefits of the 2D to 3D transition proceeds. They’re doing this well, and only Solidworks is a real competitor here.

2. In addition, I would also like to see Autodesk make inroads into the high-end CAD market, previously dominated by PTC, CATIA, UGS. The mid-market products have caught up, and at this point, Autodesk should be able to expand its footprint in the Boeings and Fords. The especially vulnerable target is UGS, and Autodesk should run a serious UGS replacement program.

3. In terms of Design Collaboration, I would like to see Autodesk partner with a strong web-based collaboration player, and package a “collaborative design” workflow. The options are: Webex, Adobe, Microsoft, and Citrix. Given the fact that the Extended Enterprise trend is super-critical, my vote here is for a Webex+Autodesk partnership.

4. Autodesk should, actually, stick to its PDM strategy, and leave PLM to others. However, they obviously need to partner to be able to bridge the PLM workflow. And here, no, I don’t suggest the usual suspects – Dassault or PTC, but a relatively newer entrant into the PLM scene: SAP. Why? Because, SAP is very strong in the manufacturing industry already, and is a natural player to provide this functionality, especially integrated into the Supply Chain, ERP, MRP, Procurement, and other enterprise applications.

There is a bit of a complication here too, though, as SAP’s web collaboration partner is Adobe. Given that Autodesk and Adobe consider each other competitors, I suspect, to achieve the integrated Design Collaboration and PLM workflow, either SAP will need to broaden, and invite Webex into the fold, while working with Autodesk on the CAD-PDM side. Or, Autodesk will need to agree to work with Adobe, as SAP-Adobe-Autodesk together provide the full functionality.

Either way, the determining factor ought to be, who has the technology to fill the Extended Enterprise gap?

This segment is a part in the series : Future of CAD and PLM

. Part 1
. Part 2

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