Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Oracle buys Agile - Enterprise Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software
In May, Oracle announced the acquisition of Agile Software Corporation, a leading provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) software solutions for $495 million.
According to the press release:
Agile’s PLM solutions help engineers, manufacturing and supply chain professionals and business executives drive the product innovation and introduction process, share product specifications and configurations and collaborate effectively across the supply chain in a variety of industries, including high-tech, life sciences, industrial manufacturing and consumer packaged goods. Agile’s solutions help customers make better product portfolio decisions, accelerate new product introduction, improve manufacturing quality and manage regulatory compliance. Customers of Agile include Acer, Flextronics International, GE Medical Systems, Harris, Heinz, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, McDonald’s, Micron, QUALCOMM, Shell and ZF.
I’ve been working with integrating Oracle to PLM solutions lately so I’m quite interested in this acquisition. If you don’t know what PLM is or does, Wikipedia has this really good definition:
Product lifecycle management (PLM) is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from its conception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal. It is one of the four cornerstones of a corporation’s information technology structure. All companies need to manage communications and information with their customers (CRM-Customer Relationship Management) and their suppliers (SCM-Supply Chain Management) and the resources within the enterprise (ERP-Enterprise Resource Planning). In addition, manufacturing engineering companies must also develop, describe, manage and communicate information about their products (PLM).
Documented benefits include:
- Reduced time to market
- Improved product quality
- Reduced prototyping costs
- Savings through the re-use of original data
- A framework for product optimization
- Reduced waste
- Savings through the complete integration of engineering workflows
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is more to do with managing descriptions and properties of a product through its development and useful life, mainly from a business/engineering point of view; whereas Product life cycle management (PLM) is to do with the life of a product in the market with respect to business/commercial costs and sales measures.
I was pleased to see that Agile also has a blog. Recent entries from their blog:
- Agile’s Tom Loebach on the Google Search Appliance - Tom LoebachThe 360
- Ask the Expert: Ed Miller - Innovate Forum
- EU wants your input on possible revisions to RoHS and WEEE - Lead Free Zone
- GEIA plans lead-free solder testing guidelines - Lead Free Zone
- iNEMI to hold tin whiskers conference - Lead Free Zone
- Innovation Key Driver of PLM Adoption - Innovate Forum
- Korea RoHS Sets Jan. 1, 2008 Compliance Date - Design News
- Manufacturing execs and wiki workers will redefine PLM tools, says Manufacturing Insights - Tekrati
- Proper IT asset disposal protects the environment and your company - GreenSupplyLine
- RoHS and WEEE input needed - Green Supply Line
Another PLM blog can be found under the Product Lifecycle Management Track on the OracleContractors blog, authored by Bob Barnett. His first post on the blog entitled Getting Started with PLM provides some insight into the direction Oracle is taking with PLM.
In terms of positioning in the Market the Gartner Magic Quadrant below shows the players in the PLM market as of September 2006. At this point in time Agile and Oracle were both in the Visionaries segment and its clear that by the Agile acquisition Oracle is intending to move into the Leaders segment and outdo SAP.