The PLM State: Safe Harbor – The Future Direction of Agile PLM

September 25, 2013 By:


Continuing my nautical theme I wanted to share some of the information disseminated by the Oracle team here at Open World. Of course any information they present is always predicated by the “Safe Harbor” statement which I find particularly appropriate here in San Francisco. There were three Oracle presentations that were PLM oriented at Open World and they emphasized future releases of software and new modules hence the Safe Harbor statement. This article will cover the information covered in these meetings but first,

 “The following is intended to outline our general product direction. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract. It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle.”

John Kelly, Vice President of Product Strategy opened things up with some interesting slides on New Product Introduction. He started out with several statistics; the first being that 50% of companies surveyed by Oracle feel like there is room for improvement in their spending for innovation. He also discussed how approximately 70% of the companies surveyed use spreadsheets to identify new product development spending activities and have no systematic way to determine how to allocate resources for new product introduction. He cited the lack of requirements management being one of the key issues that companies struggle with. Companies that can master new product introduction and innovation typically see a 10 % growth rate over their competitors. He also identified some best practice processes for new product introduction that were captured in Geoffrey Moore’s book Escape Velocity and indicated that there were elements of this type of approach that could be captured in PLM and used to help improve the innovation process. Finally, he introduced a new breakdown for Oracle Agile PLM, Innovate, Develop, and Commercialize. Develop is what we typically associate as core PLM and Commercialize revolves around supply chain optimization, catalogs, pricing sales configuration which extends beyond Agile PLM into the Product Data hub. He then gave a very high level overview of 9.3.3 and highlighted some its key features which I will cover in more detail in my discussion around Shane Goodwin’s PLM Road Map presentation.

The second presentation of the day was given by Shane Goodwin, Senior Manager, Agile PLM Product Management at Oracle. The title of his presentation was the “Agile PLM Roadmap”. He started by touting the new mobile client and showed a short video on the application. The idea behind this application is to allow clients to approve changes and other basic functions while away from their primary computer. He predicted that the next version of Agile PLM will be available within the next 12 months and will feature some significant enhancements to the core Product Collaboration most notably enhanced file loading capability. Currently, Agile PLM is experiencing some issues around the Java functionality for uploading data. 9.3.3 will be switching over to Html 5 which based on early testing appears to accelerate file loading substantially. Multiple file loads via drag and drop will work much more seamlessly and file size limits will be extended to 16 gigabytes. Also the new version will enable restarts for large uploads and downloads. He spoke at length about IP protection with more robust reporting of searches and the ability to leverage common attributes for attachments to provide more granularity in restricting access to files. They are also offering revision specific relationships but Goodwin cautioned against overusing this feature due to overhead in keeping them up. They are also doubling the number of Page 2 attributes and multi list fields on the bills of material. Product Portfolio Management will see some major changes especially around Microsoft Project coexistence functionality. Imports and exports will be handled via XML. Project constraints will be supported and SDK will be enhanced for time sheet export. They are also adding the ability to export PPM settings from one version of Agile to another to support the ability to utilize test environments and to allow for easier transfer into production. Web services are being exposed to allow for easier sharing of project information with other programs. Finally, he spoke about performance enhancements to Engineering Collaboration which could possibly come out sooner since EC is on a separate release cycle. There was a lot of material in this presentation so I will follow up with a dedicated article just on these features and the impact they should have on the product.
The final presentation of the day was given by Gayle Hayes, Senior Director, Product Strategy and it centered around the new Innovation module. The presentation was titled “Accelerate Ideation-to-Innovation: Oracle Fusion Innovation Management”. Again I will provide a more detailed article in the future but here are some of the high points. The new functionality will provide a closed loop between strategy and product development allowing for the creation of product proposals and justifications for why products should exist. The module will make use of the Product Portfolio Management Module and will link the product record to requirements management. It will allow companies to manage concepts thru development and allow for reuse of data from project to project. The module will also have its own analytics capabilities which will allow companies to compare projects to determine which ones are of higher priority based on requirements. This module is leveraging some of the newer Fusion based architecture and is probably a preview of what future versions of AgilePLM will look like once the move to Fusion is completed. The embedded analytics component looks fairly powerful and doesn’t require the overhead that full blown OPLA requires. Oracle is trying to keep a fairly tight rein on the information disseminated about this module. They feel the functionality this module delivers is unique and addresses a market space that is currently underserved.

Agile PLM’s presence at Open World was pretty low key. In my conversations with John Kelly he had indicated that they will be putting far more content into the Value Chain Summit in February. It will be held in San Jose which is a little more accessible the San Francisco and will be much larger than last year. I expect the number of presentation will increase and the information should be very helpful for companies running AgilePLM. The information presented a Open World was limited but informative. Apparently the “Safe Harbor” worked for Oracle since they were able to overcome the Kiwis yesterday. I am sure there will be a festive spirit at the customer appreciation event tonight.

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