Today’s announcement “ABB and Dassault Systèmes enter global software partnership for digital industries” is the latest domino to fall in the enterprise digital manufacturing world, roughly 9 months after Rockwell Automation’s investment in PTC. There is a lot to unpack here, but on the surface we are now looking at three enterprise level vendor solutions encompassing the digital thread from ideation through production (and possibly lifecycle support), with Dassault Systèmes/ABB, Rockwell Automation/PTC and Siemens Industrial Automation/PLM. Assuming these mega-partnerships actually work out, this represents an interesting new set of choices, especially for continuous process manufacturing industries, which represent the majority of manufacturing operations (as measured by MES/MOM software and services revenue).
This news also raises a number of questions for process manufacturing digital manufacturing offerings, as well as specific questions for Dassault Systèmes and ABB.
- All three vendors must admit that their offerings in process PLM pale in comparison the their decades of offerings and expertise in discrete manufacturing PLM. What is the plan for new, robust offerings in process PLM,
- Where will the subject matter expertise come from for new offerings in new markets? Success in discrete manufacturing does not automatically translate into success in process manufacturing, and there’s plenty of evidence to that effect.
- Specifically with Dassault/ABB, does this mean the end of Dassault DELMIA Apriso MES in continuous process manufacturing, as ABB has been there and done that for a very long time?
- Does the Dassault/ABB team have there sights set on process manufacturing in general or is this strictly for mining applications as stated in the release?
- Does this represent a new dawn in the end-to-end PLM/manufacturing space, or the next to last gasp of monolithic enterprise systems in the face of the coming disruption from open-source alternatives built on IIoT platforms?
Here is my take on the winners and losers:
- Enterprise manufacturers in the process manufacturing space, who now have multiple alternatives for end-to-end engineering and manufacturing solutions for digital manufacturing
- The vendors mentioned above, who get both larger and more diverse.
- The implementation provider/systems integrator ecosystem tasked with delivery of these solutions.
- Enterprise ERP vendors that will see their role diminished as the three above continue to add both industrial domains and additional technologies to their portfolios
- Industry specific niche vendors in MES, APM, engineering & construction, who will struggle to compete.
- The wallets of enterprise manufacturers. If history is any indicator, these end-to-end solutions will be priced at the Lamborghini level.
Bottom line, this is very interesting and exciting news. Partnerships and consolidations in this space are a recognition that enterprise vendors recognize the need for and the value of digital manufacturing.
So, who/what is the next domino?