PDM is Dead, Long Live Cloud-Native CAD and PLM

May 2, 2022


Watch the joint Duro + Onshape webinar titled “PDM is Dead, Long Live Cloud-Native CAD and PLM”!

Why does Product Data Management (PDM) exist? It’s been around for more than 40 years yet companies ask me all the time “what goes in PDM and what goes in PLM, do I need both, what’s the difference?” The fact that people need to ask means it’s not obvious. PDM is sandwiched between CAD and PLM, not due to any visionary logic, but simply because of the historical interests of CAD companies needing to help their CAD users and teams manage CAD files.

Product data management software emerged to manage proprietary CAD files but never had a viable vision for today’s approach to product development. Product data management software systems managed files, not information. The problem with managing files is that much of the rich design/manufacturing intent remained locked in the proprietary CAD-PDM black boxes so it couldn’t be leveraged downstream easily by the many stakeholders who needed it.

Important PDM tasks are now natively available from cloud CAD and PLM systems. More important is that these new systems aren’t standalone black boxes, they are digital platforms capable of creating and sharing all digital product information. Just as a smartphone’s Operating System (OS) manages things behind the scenes, Cloud-Native CAD/PLM systems use public cloud vendors behind the scenes to provide all that PDM provided plus security, storage, scalability, global availability, high performance and end-to-end lifecycle management.

Cloud CAD and PLM systems such as Onshape and Duro PLM make rich product design/manufacturing information easily available since each is a data management platform. Our smartphones run best-in-class apps that are not developed by the phone manufacturer but by an ecosystem of unique developers, often small businesses. Cloud CAD and PDM systems hosted by large public cloud vendors like Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) represent a similar paradigm.

PDM software has run its course. As with buttons on a smartphone, proprietary CAD/PDM black boxes are part of history. Cloud CAD and PLM systems have replaced them.

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