Ones to Watch: Top Trends for PLM in 2019

If you’re yet to embark on your digital transformation, now is the time to make this your priority.

If you’re yet to embark on your digital transformation, now is the time to make this your priority.

From Christmas dinner to Santa’s Grottos to singing Auld Lang Syne on New Year’s Eve, December is a time of traditions. It’s also a time when we all start thinking about how to do things better next year – whether that’s by making grand New Year resolutions, starting our present-buying a bit earlier, or being that little bit more patient with our mother-in-law on Christmas Day. In the spirit of the season, we’ve also been thinking about tradition and change. In particular, how companies can build on their long histories of creativity and innovation, while using technology to improve analysis, streamline processes and sharpen their competitive edge.

So, as we venture into 2019, here’s our rundown of the top 5 PLM trends that are still going strong right now – and the big ideas that will drive PLM technology in 2019.

  1.    Smarter Use of Product Data Analytics, All Through the Chain

At every point in a product’s lifecycle, it’s capable of generating useful data. Many products amass hundreds of attributes in their PLM system, all of which can be carefully recorded, analysed, and applied to new designs. Companies are increasingly aware of the potential of product analytics to make them more efficient, innovative and responsive to the market, they’re looking for more and more ways to collect and apply this data as they go – and they’re exploring systems that reduce the burden on IT, allowing business users to tap into these insights on their own.

  1.    Augmented Reality Everywhere

Another fascinating way that PLM technology is helping to make sense of complex manufacturing data is through Augmented Reality (AR) applications. In the coming years, this will give rise to all kinds of user experience tools for data and design presentation, as well as “Digital Factory Assistants” that use CAD and PLM data to integrate workflows all the way to the production line.

  1.    Digital Twinning Shows No Sign of Stopping

One of the most exciting buzzwords of 2018, digital twinning will only increase in popularity in 2019. No wonder: it gives design and engineering teams an amazing, cost-effective, low-risk way to test a perfectly replicated “digital twin” of a product in a virtual environment, figuring out how to fix problems and apply enhancements without multiple rounds of physical prototypes or product recalls.

  1.    Using the Blockchain for Single Version of Truth

This one is a bit more left-field, but an interesting idea. One of the biggest draws of PLM technology is the way it helps you to create a “single version of truth”, but if you don’t implement it right, different business departments will still end up creating their own, siloed versions of truth – not ideal. To tackle this, some organizations will start experimenting with blockchain as a means of creating a central, un-corruptible record of actions, changes and data that no one in the company can interfere with.

  1.    Intelligent Architecture Upgrades

Many PLM platforms run on ancient, monolithic architecture that’s sorely in need of a total overhaul. Upgrades can be very expensive and time-consuming, though. To get around this, budget-constrained companies will look for smart, manageable improvements and upgrades that target just one (micro)service, as well as technologies that allow them to integrate piece by piece with their existing software.  

Final Thoughts

Whatever your plans for product lifecycle management in 2019, one thing is clear: you can’t stave off digital transformation any longer. From virtual prototyping to data analytics to company-wide collaboration tools, the most successful companies today are the ones that take advantage of the latest developments in PLM software to innovate, streamline and get their products to market first. If you’re lagging behind, make sure this is top of your list of New Year’s resolutions this year!

Learn more about our top-of-the-range PLM technology