PLM_BigData - Luc Boucher - PLM Expert


BigData, BigData, BigData… everybody today is speaking about BigData… after the cloud we are today in the BigData world 🙂

What does it means and it is really interesting regarding PLM goals?



BigData on products

BigData is the ability to capture, aggregate and analyse a large, very large amount of data in order to do something with it.

These data is coming from various systems for instance in a product oriented view :

  • structured and not structured data mostly managed by internal systems (PLM, MES, machine tool,ERP, CAD files, simulation files,MRO …)
  • product on-boarded system (mainly sensors metrics, self analysis,…)
  • human exchange on a specific product (forum messages, design live meeting, workflow comments, issues,…)

The idea is to aggregate most possible data on the product in order to better understand it and related business needs.

This is the challenge of Big data today and it is a great challenge!

PLM in a BigData world

Regarding this definition of BigData, I would say… some of those goals are also PLM goals…

What is the difference between PLM and BigData, and how they could deliver a better service to products?

At the beginning, PLM or more precisely PDM, is coming from the idea to structure data mainly coming from CAD tools, in order to manage, control and share them with the other solutions more focused on processes (ERP, MRO etc…). PLM with an extended scope was becoming the preferred backbone solution for structured data. All information in the PLM are filled by qualified engineers and follow some strong workflows in order to be validated through business processes. But we are seeing a lot of  initiatives in order to aggregate extracted views or baselines coming from PLM with data coming from ERP or other systems in a user friendly sharing solution most of the time a custo one. This means that there is a lack of  solutions regarding aggregation and consultation and Big data could be a part of it.

The big difference with big data, it aggregates a lot of information coming from « everywhere »… My first reaction was to say : how engineers will validate this amount of data? they will never do that! And I’m sure they won’t 🙂

Ok! So…

After a while, I’ve just thinking about how today I’m searching a realistic view of something? I don’t buy a well known book signed by eminent expert, but I’m searching the answer on the Internet even if my grand father said to me : on the Internet you can find a lot of wrong things, nothing is controlled. That’s true! but also in books 😉 So, the process for everybody today is to confront a lot of points of view on the internet and build it’s own!


Today, PLM is not yet the backbone of the entire product lifecycle. How many companies are sending data from ERP, MES, MRO to PLM in a single source of truth of structured data, in order to have a global view of the product?

PLM is mandatory in order to accelerate product development and has demonstrated his efficiency for manufacturing industries and must be extended through the entire product lifecycle. But could we deliver a better product service even if it needs some analysis, I’m quite sure about that.

Big data will certainly give to PLM the opportunity to increase his knowledge of the product mainly regarding unstructured data, operational use and feedbacks. But changing mindset and accepting aggregates data in an engineering world will take some times.

I’m just sharing my PLM point of view… what is yours?

Eve - Luc Boucher - PLM Expert