Nobody Gets Fired For Buying IBM. I’ve heard this phrase many years ago when I was learning nuts and bolts of the PLM sales process. PLM software was originally developed for large companies and the selection process in these companies is very complex. Back in days of CAD releases that happened once a year (in the best case), companies usually waited for 2-3 Service Packs to fix bugs. Back in the same days, PLM buyers were looking for software packages based on their maturity, time in the market and existing customers.
My attention was caught by Ganister blog – Why new PLM? Ganister is a fresh software outfit founded by Yoann Maingon. Ganister is very early with some fresh PLM ideas like graphs, user experience, performance. I’m sure will discuss these things late in my blog. My favorite passage from Ganister’s blog was about “PLM competition is getting old”.
Let’s be honest, the competition is getting old! For some managers or buyers it is a good thing. It is seen as a stability, and the demonstration that a product has been widely accepted by the market, it reduces the risk on their decision. But you might also ask the end-users, the ones who should make their work much more efficient once you have implemented a PLM solution. Most of the feedback coming from these users are bad. The user experience is declining (if it was ever good). Sometimes it is not because the software is getting worse. It is just that it is not following the market and the standard user experience users are expecting.
I can hear some “fathers and sons” problem. According to Ganister, existing PLM companies are slowing down and selling mature stuff to known PLM buyers looking for stability as criteria of PLM success. Things like end-user experience, efficiency, new development standards are not counted and you cannot find it in the market.
Ganister message made me think about PLM buyers. Who are those people and organizations? What are they looking for and where is the next opportunity?
Conservative PLM buyers
This group of customers is well known. An average IT of the enterprise manufacturing company is concerned about many factors that can ruin their life such as new technology, new products, new experience, and new business models. The outcome of these processes is usually very predictable these companies are bolting 20-25 years old software into their processes and spending a lot of time, efforts and resources to make it work. The things you can hear from these buyers — we always worked this way, these are best practices and we only use stuff that used by many other companies.
“We “don’t “buy IBM” around here”
I can see a growing group of PLM buyers that are looking for opportunities to buy and adopt new products. These are companies and buyers that looking into new technologies for data management, they are crazy about user experience, performance, and ideas. Some people will tell that this is a ‘generational thing’ – a new generation of buyers are thinking differently. I don’t think so, because I think it is not that new stuff is only purchased by young buyers. In my view, these are buyers that saw an opportunity to change things. I can see more and more people looking into how to buy new systems these days.
Where is the opportunity?
There is little to no opportunity to deliver a comprehensive PLM solution to compete with old and mature PLM vendors. To work on a specific niche and at the same time follow you vision and strategy is the way to find new PLM buyers. I’m curious who is this new buyer for Ganister and look forward to learning about it in the next blogs.
What is my conclusion?
PLM buying pattern is changing these days. I can see a clear division between “new” and “old”. Things won’t change overnight, but the shift in PLM buying behavior is moving towards changes, bringing new systems and technologies as well as focusing on fast ROI and agile implementation. Just my thoughts…
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups, and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.