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How Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Tops the Agenda

In this special guest feature from Scientific Computing World, Robert Roe writes that Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software is coming of age, highlighted by a report from market researchers Frost and Sullivan and a conference on the topic to be held in February. 

Robert Roe

Robert Roe

Revenues from sale of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software and services of $20.45 billion in 2013 are set to grow to $27.78 billion in 2017, according to the report from market researchers Frost and Sullivan. The topic will be highlighted at a conference in Dusseldorf in February, the Product Innovation Congress.

The increased attention to PLM also follows Dassault Systèmes‘ acquisition of Accelrys, earlier this year, and its relaunch as Biovia, indicating a push by PLM into new markets such a biosciences.

Karthik Sundaram, who is Industrial Automation and Process Control Analyst at Frost and Sullivan, said: “The emergence of new end-user industries such as the biomedicine and pharmaceutics will make product portfolio expansion all the more crucial. Extending capabilities to include virtualization and 3-D immersive reality will also become a necessity to keep pace with demand in the global market.”

Dassault Systèmes Jean Colombel, Vice President of the Life Sciences Industry at Dassault Systèmes shared this view, he said: ‘I agree with this — the industries that have not been typically covered by the PLM vendor are certainly an important area of expansion for Dassault.’

Sundaram continued: ‘The increasing focus on collaborative operations will play a key role in influencing PLM functionality in discrete industries. Hence, capabilities such as product data management, portfolio management, collaboration solutions, content management, and enterprise integration will help expand the global market.’

Colombel said: ‘You have the PLM, the historical heritage of the PLM, and we will continue to do this, but we have expanded it to the notion of experience to what we would call the Dassault Systeme 3d experience platform. This means that we want to be able to bring the end user, consumer, or the patient in the life sciences industry, into the loop so that they can directly participate with the innovation lifecycle.’

Colombel said that meaningful insights can be derived by interacting with users or patients, depending on the use case. These insights can then be used to drive the product forward and help to develop new features or to streamline the workflows. However, for this to be accomplished there is a need to engage with very specific populations.

Colombel continued: “First of all you need to be very strong on horizontal common platforms for collaboration and innovation — this is what we call the 3d Experience platform — but it is really the combination of this common innovation platform and understanding the specific language of the population which really can make this a reality.”

While the Frost and Sullivan report highlighted the importance of new end-user industries such as the biomedicine and pharmaceuticals, Colombel pointed out that Dassault have been engaging with some of these markets for up to ten years: “We started ten years ago, today we have invested more than $1.5 billion into this area.'” Some of the visible aspects are the acquisition of the Accelrys, earlier this year and also the bio-intelligence consortium, a project that was started 5 years ago.

The acquisition of Accelrys by Dassault puzzled some industry veterans who questioned whether the Accelrys platform would be utilised effectively but, in Colombel’s view, it fits neatly with the new markets for PLM software that Dassault has been developing over the years.

The Biovia platform that was launched earlier this year is the evolution of Accelrys software, but more than that it represents a commitment to the life sciences industry from Dassault, a sign that the company views these emerging markets as a key aspect of its staregy moving forward.

The other big project that Dassault has been working on that addresses these new markets specifically is the Biointelligence initiative. This aims to develop a series of software applications to enable the adoption of PLM software and methods and its application to the life sciences.

Started as a Private-Public Consortium, operationally driven by Dassault, it comprises industrial partners (Bayer CropScience, Ipsen, Pierre Fabre, Sanofi and Servier), bio-IT specialists (Sobios and Aureus Pharma), and public research institutes (Génopole, INRIA, INSERM).

Colombel said: “You need to be able to speak the specific language of this industry: pharmaceutical language is different: you need to be able to speak the language of the biologist, and the chemist, and so on. We are in [emerging markets]; we will continue to accelerate in this area, and today we already have tangible results for our users.”

This story appears here as part of a cross-publishing agreement with Scientific Computing World.

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