Siemens and Polarion kicked off a partnership in November 2014, which followed an investment in the company by Siemens Venture Capital of $10M earlier in the year. After successful joint customer wins, and the realization that their products and business focus meshed nicely, the companies agreed to the acquisition, with an expected deal close date of first quarter CY2016. Terms of the deal were not revealed. Upon close, Polarion is expected to become part of the Teamcenter product line, Siemens Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) offering.
This announcement is one of many related (or should I say "connected") acquisitions and developments in the PLM market over the past five years.
- Siemens acquired MES company Camstar one year ago, which included Omneo analytics, and Siemens AG recently announced the creation of the Siemens Digital Services group, which will leverage their newly formed Sinalytics offering for predictive maintenance and machine analytics.
- Dassault Systèmes has the ability to manage embedded software development in part through its acquisition of Geensoft in 2010 and its ENOVIA PLM system, and has been focused on growing the EXALEAD analytics product line.
- PTC bought MKS for ALM in 2011 which is now part of their Integrity product offering; in 2015 it acquired ColdLight for predictive analytics.
- PTC recently announced Windchill 11, the "connected PLM" version of this product according to the company. The goal of the release is to make PLM the hub for connected product design, development, manufacturing, and improvement – essentially complementing PTC's ALM, SLM, and IoT acquisitions. Interesting developments within Windchill 11 include embedded quality management, integration with the Thingworx IoT development platform, and system performance tracking capabilities.
- IBM provides Rational Engineering Lifecycle Manager for ALM, Bluemix Cloud Application Development platform, and a services group that supports PLM consulting and integration.
- Autodesk, not to miss the IoT party, acquired SeeControl in October 2015 for real time and predictive connected product monitoring and analytics, and provide the Jitterbit platform as part of their PLM360 offering for integration to enterprise (could be ALM) and cloud applications. Additionally, they have plans to deliver "Evented Web capabilities" (via Jitterbit) within PLM360, which will further enable them to integrate PLM with applications such as ALM.
Product are increasingly complex, containing a lot of software within them in order to enable the Internet of Things (IoT). The beauty of connected products is that they can communicate with OEMs about quality issues, failure modes, and necessary service, leading to faster reactive service; these same products also can communicate usage and performance information over time, which can then (theoretically at least) be used to improve existing products and spark innovation. More closely integrating PLM and ALM is critical to achieve collaborative, and iterative software development that is the lifeblood of connected products; analytics serves as the decision support mechanism, or virtual bridge between manufacturer, customer, and product. Connected PLM is actually a good term for what we are talking about here.
The other piece to the puzzle, or perhaps the overall driver of these ALM and analytics developments, is quality. Good analytics (real time, cognitive, and predictive) simply enables better process, software, and overall product quality: manufacturers can be more responsive to failure modes or customer complaints, as well as predictive and prescriptive based on product performance over time. The goal is, as Dell recently said at the Siemens analyst conference, to anticipate product problems before a customer even knows they have one.
I look forward to the integration of Siemens and Polarion, and the continued growth of the PLM, ALM and analytics markets. Connected products and the IoT are propelling product design, development and lifecycle management to a new, exciting phase – one that requires the vendors and service providers in the space to evolve and expand their offerings, and expertise.
As always, I welcome your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until then, Happy Holidays to all!