SAN FRANCISCO — Aras, a provider of open and upgradable product lifecycle management (PLM) software for the enterprise, announced the results of a PLM Benchmark Survey for Enterprise Organizations.

The findings reveal a significant gap in manufacturers’ readiness for digital transformation as a result of disconnected product processes and poor enterprise-wide adoption of product lifecycle management systems. Many manufacturers either don’t use the software to its full potential or are hindered by legacy architectures that are not easily upgradable to support their current product processes.

Disconnected Product Processes Hinder Innovation

Driven by increasingly complex and connected products—from smart industrial equipment to autonomous cars—global manufacturers rely on PLM systems to manage product lifecycle. However, the survey revealed that only 37 percent of respondents were satisfied with their PLM deployments, and only 54 percent believe PLM helps them achieve their goals—largely because they are underutilizing the software:

Systems engineering should be a core use case for PLM – but only 19 percent use PLM for systems engineering

Configuration management and change management are central tenets of PLM functionality – but only 42 percent of organizations are using PLM in this manner

PLM must encompass multiple design disciplines and domains – but only 51 percent of respondents are able to use PLM to collaborate across functions, suggesting that product data is siloed or housed in non-product development systems

Most PLM system vendors are primarily providers of CAD tools – but only 31 percent of respondents use PLM for MCAD/ECAD data

“An effective PLM system is not only essential for any company manufacturing smart, connected products, it is a critical foundation for their future innovation,” said Peter Schroer, CEO of Aras. “Manufacturers need to transform their product processes to unlock opportunities with Digital Thread and Digital Twin. They can’t get there with disconnected processes, silos of data, and overuse of Excel. They require a digital transformation platform approach to PLM that enables flexibility, includes users across the extended enterprise, and is easily upgradable as processes and functionality evolve.”

Connecting the Enterprise with a Product Innovation Platform

As global competition continues to increase, manufacturers recognize the need to transform their product processes to manage product complexity and unlock new opportunities with Digital Thread, Digital Twin, and IoT. However, many large organizations find themselves paralyzed by old IT architectures or use of legacy PLM systems that have largely not changed in the past 30 years. The result is siloed processes and inability to effectively manage cross-discipline design. These manufacturers risk being outperformed and must build a new technology foundation for innovation.

Towards this end, leading industry analyst firm CIMdata released its position paper, “Product Innovation Platforms: Definition, Their Role in the Enterprise, and Their Long-Term Viability” to help industrial companies plan for a new generation of technology to enable today’s complex, connected products. CIMdata’s notion of a product innovation platform – an innovation-enabling business platform that would support all product-related disciplines and users through the entire product lifecycle – provides a starting point for organizations discussing digital transformation. Aras recently received top scores in CIMdata’s assessment against the Product Innovation Platform criteria. The full CIMdata position paper is available here.

For more information, visit