The Competitive Landscape of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) According to Gartner Group, Others by Ira Breskin

Editor's Note: Last week, several CAD/CAM, CAE PLM vendors reported that they had been included in Gartner Group's new PLM " Magic Quadrant," as detailed in a recent report issued by the market research firm. Gartner's Magic Quadrants are designed to provide a snapshot of how vendors perform in a particular market segment, and to help clients identify which vendors might best be classified as leaders, visionaries, challengers, or niche players. In an effort to offer readers some additional insight regarding this assessment of the PLM marketplace, we have included a guest commentary below, and have also provided links to relevant articles in our 'Top Stories' section this week.

Gartner analysts Marc Halpern and Kenneth Brant co-authored the report on the PLM Magic Quadrant. To learn more, see " PLM Market Requires Best-of-Breed and ERP Capabilities."

guest commentary:

The Competitive Landscape of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) According to Gartner Group, Others

by Ira Breskin

Product Lifecycle Management software recently achieved a significant, but easily ignored milestone in its quest to win top-flight corporate legitimacy

This enterprise-wide, design-based software's profile got a big lift last week after the Gartner Group, the Stamford, Conn.-based consultant and market research company, created a PLM "Magic Quadrant," essentially a detailed competitive landscape.

By listing and competitively positioning major PLM players, Gartner recognizes the increased importance of what has been a niche, $7 billion or so, engineering/product design-centric software category.

Adding related fast-growth middleware and integration services increases the size of the PLM potential market several times.

"It is the connections that count," said Charles Foundyller, president of Daratech Inc., a leading PLM market research firm, at a recent industry conference.

PLM forms the digital product and intellectual asset information backbone of a company and its extended enterprise, consultant CIMdata said in a newly release report entitled "PDM to PLM: Growth of an Industry."

Gartner's endorsement means that PLM should get serious consideration from senior corporate executives who rely on that company's advice when evaluating major hardware and software purchases.

In fact, Gartner originally built its reputation issuing evaluations of IBM Corp. hardware and software based on surveys of Fortune 500 users, still its primary clients.

Now Gartner has intelligently aligned the major PLM players within in its four traditional quadrants. They are: leaders, challengers, niche players and visionaries.

Gartner's winners are the big dogs or PLM's Big Three: IBM/Dassault Systemes, Electronic Data Systems (EDS-PLM Solutions), and PTC. Also included in this quadrant is Matrix One, which is primarily a supplier of on-line collaboration software.

Challengers include Autodesk, the leading provider of mature 2D design software and MSC Software. MSC's core expertise is writing engineering-intensive finite element analysis software.

Prime niche players are Tecnomatix, best known for its digital manufacturing/simulation software, and Co-Create. This Hewlett-Packard spin-off originally provided Product Data Management software that's used to organize engineering data.

Finally, major makers of enterprise resource planning software, such as SAP and Oracle, dominate the visionary quadrant.

ERP vendors traditionally have offered modest-capability PDM modules, part of their one-stop shopping, soup-to-nuts marketing strategy. The conventional wisdom is that ERP suppliers could provide formidable PLM competition should they make a major commitment to embrace and incorporate the underlying engineering technology.

However, many believe that the enterprise-wide PLM systems that generate and manage design data eventually will work in tandem with monolithic ERP systems that help automate inventory management and production planning.

Ira Breskin, a freelance editor/writer specializing in business and technology issues, is a frequent contributor to Business Week, Newsday, and the New York Times. He holds a B.A. from Columbia University and a Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism, Columbia University Business School. He may be reached at Email Contact.

Comments? Feedback? Tell us what you think about this topic or if you have additional information you'd like to share on this subject! Submit your comments to: Email Contact.

See also:

" PLM Market Requires Best-of-Breed and ERP Capabilities by M. Halpern, K. Brant. Best-of-breed and enterprise resource planning vendors share space on the Product Life Cycle Management Magic Quadrant for 1Q03. PLM overlap is increasing, but neither vendor type is capable of fulfilling all users' PLM needs. (source: Gartner Group, March 2003)

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