Historically, evaluating and purchasing Computer Aided Design (CAD) software has been about as simple as getting your own Death Star operational. Such an ordeal often required navigation of obscure sales channels, VARs, vendor magic shows demonstrations, golf outings with salesmen of ill repute, complex licensing stipulations and annoyances like the rather dated concept of software maintenance. The so-called mid market was a bit simpler thanks to economies of scale, but generally the entire process seemed to have more in common with real estate and used car sales than engineering technology. CAD software has always been a rather complex affair, and companies were often selecting products resembling Team Fortress 2’s Heavy Weapons Guy and his chain gun – very effective in the field but costing four hundred thousand dollars to fire for twelve seconds. But soon, perhaps, buying CAD may be as simple as buying the latest PC game. я в осадке.
It’s just three weeks into 2014, and we have yet another sobering reminder of the sad state of password security. Ars Technica was quick on the draw with the perfect response to a newly revised list of common passwords posted by SplashData, a popular password manager provider. Seems the ultimate stupidity of using the word password as a password, has been quite literally replaced with what more or less an idiot would use on their luggage. Except with a whole extra digit thrown in for good measure. Of course, this isn’t a revelation of any sort – prior security breaches such as RockYou way back in 2010 revealed similar conclusions. So there’s a healthy population of idiots with plenty of luggage out there, along with quite a few devout fans of monkeys and princesses, or perhaps monkey princesses. With the explosion of cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) and the geometric growth of credentials across personal and work for any given individual, the problem no doubt will get worse before it gets better. It’s the challenge of Enterprise Single Sign On (SSO) all over again. Or is it?
There’s one fundamental source of unending consternation about Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and it starts at the very beginning: the very definition of PLM. Any healthy knife fight debate on this topic will yield enough probable definitions to construct a workable bridge from here to Cybertron. As I have explored in the past, the vast majority of those definitions are likely unwieldy abominations of the English language, heavily burdened with industry jargon, marketing, and/or perplexing amounts of nebulosity. We can talk about it, and we joke about it, but it’s in fact an obstacle to real progress in the space, especially in the introduction of new ideas. There is an endless chain of examples where people don’t understand PLM, have trouble with planning and implementation, start with all the wrong assumptions, treat is as software and not a philosophy, etc. With all that variability, it’s not surprising that PLM is relegated to a niche understanding when it should in fact be much more universal. Imagine trying to describe PLM to a venture capitalist investor. You see, PLM is about a strategy across an extended enterprise to… Ten seconds later, a struggling Mark Cuban is rather resolute and concise in his response: I’m out.
There’s a growing divide lurking in the heart of today’s system of systems product development, as system complexity continues to steadily increase. Left uncorrected, the dysfunction stands to topple some of the most elaborate (and colossally expensive) enterprise software solutions to date by rendering their perceived benefits moot. All those nice, warm promises of accelerated time to market and improved execution might get tossed right out the nearest window. What could possibly do such a thing? Some kind of inter-dimensional space-potato-monster thing? Ben Affleck Batman? No, the truth is less horrifying but equally devastating: it’s the growing digital divide between hardware and software development, between Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Software source control.
One of the oldest Computer Aided Design (CAD) conundrums dating back to the invention of components (or was it electricity?) is our close and dear friend, the so-called standard part. Oh MS21075 nut plate, where art thou? The days of a single designer rummaging around a dumpster (i.e. the mysterious misc directory) are arguably long gone, replaced with the relative opulence of curated standard part libraries. But is the standard part library the final word on use and availability of commoditized part models? It’s interesting that standard library concepts have remained largely unchanged in recent years, despite a completely new universe of developments including cloud and Big Data, technologies which already stand to revolutionize CAD data sharing entirely. While fervent discussion about cloud virtualization or authoring in the cloud continue, very few want to talk about poor old MS21075. No one loves him anymore.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… 2013 was like that for the cloud. As the increasingly intimidating list of United States domestic spying allegations continues to mount, cases of second thoughts in Cloud City are rising. The seemingly unstoppable revolution toward global data accessibility is now facing the same obstacle that has hampered ownership and non-digital interchange since forever: national borders. With the Sarlacc’s share of cloud providers in the very same country plagued with the most disturbing revelations about the illusion of data security, there’s a bit of a problem. Not surprisingly, the Lando’s of information enterprises are decrying that was never a condition of our agreement. So far, the response has been more or less expected. Perhaps you think you’re being treated unfairly?