Help Shape the Future of PLM

The PLM industry needs a coherent view of the future that everyone can work towards.  Without a clear sense of direction, PLM development is likely to fall far short of what it could be.

The Research SIG of the PLM Interest Group launched an initiative to ask the big question:-

What research does the world need...                               
 achieve the future PLM capabilities that the world wants?"

This question breaks down into many lines of advanced thinking that are equally valuable for academics and industrialists.  It has also provided some very interesting answers.


Breaking the Mould

If you want to know where PLM can go, you have to stop concentrating on where it is now.  In the world of PLM, the current relationship between academia and industry is static and obsolete.

It is based around a fragmented and more-or-less random array of university courses with no coherent orientation to what industry actually needs; backed up by research that is driven by non-PLM funding calls that do not support PLM-related results.

This is not the fault of academia or industry - it is the fault of inertia.  It is time that something positive was done.


Evolving the PLM-IRF

It must be admitted that the PLMIG Research SIG did start from the "here and now", as it was in 2004.  It seemed like a natural thing to do at the time.

Meetings in Brussels, Gothenburg and Lausanne in 2004-07 produced many good ideas, but all with the assumption that existing Calls would need to be found to fund them.  They also produced a couple of useful White Papers, which led to the concept of an Academic-Industry Research Partnership to align the goals with the needs of industrial companies.

Then an inspired leap of blue-sky thinking in 2015 evolved the initial Partnership concept into the much more proactive PLM International Research Foundation, which is where the best opportunities for the future of advanced PLM lie now.


Opportunities for Academia

As part of its launch phase the PLM-IRF carried out a Global Survey into the Needs and Opportunities for Advanced PLM Research.  With 44 responses from 28 countries, the Survey Results revealed more than 20 different areas in which the Future of PLM could be more advanced than it is today.

All of these areas are at the forefront of where PLM should be - and none of them will happen unless we move on from the current model. Pages 437-443 [PLM-IRF3]


Opportunities for Industry

This was followed up with the Global Survey into Industrial Expectations for the Future of PLM.  With 62 responses from 15 countries the Survey provides extensive insights into the ways that industrialists would like to see PLM develop in the long-term future.


Welcome to the PLM-IRF

The PLM International Research Foundation (PLM-IRF) initiative aims to establish a central mechanism to support global research into the most advanced future capabilities of PLM.

PLM practitioners and researchers from every country and every type of organisation are therefore invited to participate and help shape the future of PLM.  This is an unprecedented opportunity for the PLM industry, and it needs widespread support and guidance to help take it forward.

The world of PLM has a simple choice - to trundle passively onwards and accept more and more of what we have now: or to work proactively to reach much higher goals.


Learn More

Whether or not you are actively interested in research, the Initiative has produced a lot of material that could enhance your view of PLM.

The PLM-IRF has established the clearest ever picture of the possibilities for PLM development with its worldwide surveys of PLM researchers and practitioners.

To follow the story you can:-


You can also find out more more about the Initiative and its Steering Group via

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