The definition of what it means to manage the lifecycle of a product has evolved dramatically over the past 5-10 years to the point where Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is no longer confined only to a single enterprise application. There are multiple tools and new technologies that enable easier collaboration across a disparate global design and development team that consists not only of engineers and R&D, but also business line, marketing, sales, manufacturing, and supply chain. This is why PLM software companies have opened and broadened their offerings to a product innovation platform, where multiple enterprise applications are tied together, with product and customer data at the core.
That's just the first step for manufacturers. As innovation is a team sport that requires a cross discipline team (internal, and external) working together, enabled by 3rd platform (cloud, mobile, big data analytics, social business) as well as innovation accelerator (IoT, cognitive analytics, blockchain, advanced security, 3D printing) technology, manufacturers are moving to a Collaborative Innovation approach to how products and services are designed, developed, and improved. It's time to think more broadly: “Collaborative Innovation”, as IDC defines it, encompasses a wide range of technology and service providers, including product innovation platform providers, and is depicted below.
Innovation does not mean only ideation and design of new products and services; innovation takes place in design, R&D, and engineering certainly, but also in manufacturing, supply chain, marketing, and services. There are multiple tools and platforms that need to be in place to enable innovation to happen across an organization. With that as a backdrop, our definition of Collaborative Innovation consists of the following segments:
- Early Stage Development, including ideation, product planning, product portfolio management (PPM), and digital innovation communities – a new segment that will certainly evolve in the coming years.
- Design and Virtualization, including virtual design, simulation, and formulation, software development, as well as, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR). This is where digital twins of products and assets are created, and optimized over time.
- Product Innovation Platforms, including those from PLM and ERP providers.
- Service Providers, that provide design thinking and strategic consulting, as well as R&D and engineering services.
- Commercialization, including product information management (PIM) and team collaboration web platforms.
- Social Communities, including social media, crowdfunding, and crowdsourcing.
In our 2017 Product and Service Innovation survey, we asked what manufacturer’s business priorities would be in the next three to four years. The top three answers are, improve sales and revenue generation, expanding to new markets, and improving the speed and success rate of product innovation. This will be challenging, however possible to achieve when manufacturers broaden their approach to design, manufacturing, and commercialization of products as outlined in this Market Snapshot on Collaborative Innovation.
As always, I welcome your thoughts as this digital transformation of PLM and innovation continues across manufacturing industry, throughout this year and beyond.