Everyone’s Talking About Digital Transformation: How’s it Going?

Marc Young, Founder and Owner, xLM Solutions

We’re hearing a lot about digital transformation and digitalization – we even discovered a new abbreviation: SMACI for social, mobile, big data, analytics, and the Internet of Things, all rolled into one trend!

digital transformation

xLM Solutions has focused on digital transformation and techniques to expedite technology solutions for manufacturers since its founding in 2006. It has developed PLM services, tools and processes for enhancing digital transformation and technology integration.

Manufacturers are well aware of the advances available from smart technology and the need to mine the vast amounts of data flowing from it. Smart, connected industrial equipment is promoting the digital transformation of industry.

We recently read about a research project conducted by CIMdata, sponsored by Dassault Systèmes, in its eBook Speeding Your Digital Transformation Journey. We’ll summarize some of the research here.

Among the early findings from this research:

  • 50% of respondents said big data/analytics are “very important” today, rising to 73% in three years
  • 41% view cloud as very important today, rising to 63% in three years
  • 29% of respondents see smart connected products as very important to their company today, rising to 72% in three years

Digital Transformation and PLM

For those of us who have worked in product lifecycle management for decades, digital transformation translates into all the processes, data and assets connected in digital form that relate to the product lifecycle, from design to delivery – often called a digital thread. PLM manages requirements, alternatives, decisions, and all supporting data in all stages of the product lifecycle. It delivers transparency into product usage and viability.

Digital twins or digital prototypes offer improved collaboration and decision-making before manufacturers make physical investments in the production process. The research study reviewed the adoption of digital twins – 11% of the survey respondents say they have digital twins in production today, and they expect this will rise to 34% in three years. The respondents identify improved collaboration across engineering functions and increasing “first-time right” production as the top benefits of digital twins.

To achieve true digital transformation, manufacturers need a robust PLM strategy and implementation to define and manage the digital thread. The survey found that 80% of our survey respondents have an on-going digital transformation initiative with only 13% running digital transformation initiatives separate from their PLM efforts.

PLM is a Platform Approach

The research study expands the common understanding of PLM.

PLM is about the collaborative creation, use, management, and dissemination of product-related intellectual assets and processes. It spans from idea through life. Which tools are used to generate this intellectual property depends on a company’s products.

We’ve seen the PLM market changing into a platform approach, similar to other enterprise technology. CIMdata sees it as:

A consolidated set of capabilities that span the lifecycle, help associatively manage all intellectual property, help define and manage product configurations, and support cross-functional lifecycle optimization in concert with other enterprise data and applications.

Such a platform aids in communication and collaboration throughout the product lifecycle while integrating cross-functional work. Enterprises are increasingly using PLM platforms to support model-based development processes which are useful to test products and processes before diving into product development.

Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE platform gives companies the means to work together on business possibilities, from ideation, design, engineering, manufacturing, marketing, sales and services to share a single source of truth and collaborate more effectively. In addition to being data-driven, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform adds model-based capabilities to define a 3DEXPERIENCE twin – which provides more than a virtual representation. It provides ways to create and test new possibilities, new innovations, and new enhancements. It comprises applications to model, simulate, and virtually perfect all aspects of the customer experience before launching a product in the market.

The research goes on to look at:

  • The value of simulation and virtual analysis to give designers tools in the conceptual design phase to test multitudes of alternatives.
  • Getting to markets of one with mass customization, via modularity, making a range of modules available to be integrated seamlessly within a product.
  • The need for advanced variant configuration management capabilities from a PLM platform.
  • How smart and connected are today’s enterprises? Many brownfield facilities operate with a mixture of old and new equipment and processes and with varying levels of digital manufacturing solutions implemented.
  • New technologies, IoT, Edge computing, 3D laser scanners, additive and subtractive manufacturing processes, digital twin applications, virtual reality, and more, are leading digital transformation.
  • How to thrive in a smart, connected world.
  • How to use the enormous flow of data coming from technological advances.

Read more in the eBook Speeding Your Digital Transformation Journey.

We Can Help

Looking for help to jumpstart your digital transformation? Contact the experts at xLM Solutions for guidance in PLM selection, implementation, integration with other technology, customization and data migration.