Siemens PLM Software : The only thing constant is change

Tony Hemmelgarn (President and CEO of Siemens PLM Software) quoted “The most profound technologies are those that disappear” at this year’s Industry Analyst conference. A statement that predicts a next generation of Siemens software perhaps.  It’s refreshing that Siemens accepts that the complexities of older generations of (software) are less than ideal and change, (simplification, perhaps even appification) is on its way. Hurrah!

Steve Bashada (who leads Cloud, Data Services and MindSphere) also predicted a transforming (compute) landscape with “Edge is the new on premise”. I suspect this refers more to IIoT offerings. That being said, Siemens see Cloud demand (and take-up, where they have solutions) accelerating across the board.

This years’ (conference) emphasis was on customer initiatives. Solutions not tools. Reinforced by numerous Siemens internal and customer case stories, with benefits based on actual/measured (i.e. not just predicted) customer results. Refreshing. Presentations included those on autonomous, electrification (cars, planes and boats), generative technologies, additive and 3DPrint, electronics manufacturing, closed-loop digital twin, the IIoT and Edge.

Summarising my thoughts on the conference. I see increasing aggression in Siemens’s strategies and an intriguing acquisition and investment program. Both, hopefully, acting to accelerate what is already impressive growth and solution coverage. (Last years’ results were 10% organic growth and €3.2Bn revenues).

Talking acquisitions. Their (forthcoming) acquisition of Mendix is quite a coup. It’ll definitely cause a few restless nights for their (in particular IIoT) competitors. It also puts Siemens at the forefront of the rapidly growing low-code software development wave. Who can resist 10X software development productivity improvements?

On topics (very) new and intriguing. Shortly after the conference I was given a pre-brief on upcoming announcements due to be made by the Siemens software components business. For those not in the know, Siemens’ components business provides software components to the open (mainly engineering software) market. Numerous competitors use their products, including (some might find this surprising) arch-rivals Dassault Systemes and PTC*.

Anyway, the news is that Siemens is going to step up their game in delivering more, new (open) software components to market. Some may have heard last week that Siemens has added (acquired) Lightworks Design components (and libraries) to their portfolio. Lightworks Design is a leader in rendering, visualisation etc.

AND, as a major addition to their application strategies, Siemens will also add their desktop product Solid Edge to their ‘component’ portfolio.

Solid Edge is a well-respected, functional and rounded (mechanical) design solution. Delivering it as a white label component allows anyone to customize and deliver their own branded, sophisticated product with much reduced effort. This is the full product, mind you, not a striped down version; that’s parts, assembly modeling, drawings, and sheet metal.

The new white label product will be available on-premise or can be virtualised (as per ‘standard’ Solid Edge). Licensing (and billing) is intended to be flexible and negotiable. This will allow developers to charge their customers to suit their own business model; perhaps by user, by usage, per instance, perpetually or as a subscription.

I suspect this will be an interesting proposition for numerous third parties. Certainly those developing specialised mechanical products such as CAM and additive (3DPrint) solutions, but also perhaps those in adjacent (to mechanical) industries such as AEC, and other (f/e retail, consumer or garment) industries.