PI PLMx Review: the Battle between Old and New

By Miguel Tam

Thanks Chicago for hosting Propel at the PI PLMx conference last week. It was a little cold and rainy (so a typical Chicago fall day), but the PLM discussions were hot! Ok "hot" may be a stretch when it comes to PLM, but it was still a great week.

  • It was fascinating to see how companies are now approaching PLM and the cloud. Just a year or two ago, large companies (Cummins, Northrop Grumman, Eli Lilly were just some of the companies who attend PI PLMx) would have shuddered about doing product development in the cloud. That view is definitely changing. 
  • Tim Brown of Cantel Medical took the stage with Propel's CEO and co-founder Ray Hein. Ray shared how PLM built on a modern cloud makes it so much easier to get everyone else engaged on product success. This includes partners, customers, salespeople - everyone needed to make sure products are developed, launched and rolled out to market. Tim then discussed how Cantel is scaling their business thanks to Propel putting all their product processes and data in one place for everyone to collaborate.
  • We had a great dinner with PI PLMx attendees from P&G, Trek Bicycle, CIMdata, Inteva, Virgin and more. The steak at Ditka's was yummy but not as interesting as the conversations we had at our table on things like hyperloop traveling, 3D printing and other nerdy topics.


  • One of the more interesting things from the conference was the PLM vendor panel that wrapped up the event. Ray Hein took the stage with Onshape, Aras, Oracle, Siemens and Dassault. Of course, I easily filled out my PLM Bingo Card since everyone was talking about IoT, Industry 4.0 and cloud.
    But I was surprised by the different approach some vendors took regarding data. Propel's view is that your data is your data. You always have access to it, you can export whatever you want, it's yours. Of course, it's all secure and available to just the right people in our robust modern cloud platform. Other vendors basically felt that customers aren't smart enough to get their data. "It's too complex to share" and "you can't trust any vendor who just gives you your data" were what the traditional PLM vendors said. Can you believe it? We see this approach in our sales cycles too. Some existing vendors force you to pay to get your own data out of their software. I think that's just wrong and outdated. 

What do you think? I'm looking forward to the next PI PLMx event. See you in San Diego!

Tags: Customer Experience, Chicago, cloud plm, collaboration, industry 4.0, product data