Bucking trends: PLM investments grew in 2008 despite economic conditions

While navigating a challenging economic environment, manufacturing companies increased their investments in software that supports product life-cycle management (PLM) processes in 2008, according to industry analyst firm CIMdata.


While navigating a challenging economic environment, manufacturing companies increased their investments in software that supports product life-cycle management (PLM) processes in 2008, according to the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based industry analyst firm CIMdata .

CIMdata’s estimates showed the overall PLM software market experiencing 6-percent growth from $15.040 billion in 2007 to reach $15.960 billion in 2008. These numbers cover the various sectors that make up the PLM software market, which according to CIMdata, include:

• Mechanical Computer-Aided Design (MCAD);

• Digital Manufacturing;

• Simulation and Analysis;

• Non-Bundled Numerical Control (NC);

• Comprehensive collaborative Product Definition management (cPDm); and

• Related Systems Integrators, VARs, and Resellers.

Dr. Ken Amann, director of research for CIMdata, says the market’s 2008 performance “reflects recognition of the importance of PLM as a competitive differentiator for industrial companies. In spite of the impact of the global economic downturn, companies are continuing to invest in PLM programs and technologies. But the current economic environment is causing companies to review—and in some cases refocus—their PLM investments to better meet immediate business goals.

“In the first half of 2008, almost all PLM suppliers had solid growth,” Amann continues. “During third-quarter 2008, sales and revenues began to flatten, and in the final quarter many companies had a decrease in quarter-over-quarter sales and revenues. While PLM continues to be an important investment, CIMdata expects sales and revenues in 2009 will be dampened from the growth rates experienced over recent years.”

Looking deeper into the various sectors comprising the Mainstream PLM market, CIMdata’s estimates show that investments in all but one of the sectors experienced growth in 2008 over 2007.

Comprehensive cPDm grew to $3.032 billion—a 10.9-percent increase. Investments with systems integrators/VARs/resellers increased 4.9 percent to $4.334 billion. Digital Manufacturing investments grew by 8.5 percent to $510 million. Multidiscipline MCAD grew 2.4 percent to $2.940 billion, while investments in design-focused MCAD grew 11.6 percent to $2.282 billion.

The simulation and analysis sector of the mainstream PLM market also experienced a modest growth of 4.9 percent to reach $2.275 billion in 2008. The only area that experienced a decrease in investments in 2008 was non-Bundled NC, which was estimated to drop 5.0 percent to $587 million. ( See graphic for the distribution of these investments as components of the full mainstream PLM market ).

Industry pulse : All sectors of the PLM software market experienced growth in 2008, but industry analyst firm CIMdata warns that trend may not continue through 2009.

“While there are many companies participating in the PLM market, a few have distinguished themselves as PLM Mindshare Leaders,” explains Amann, adding that these companies typically are considered to be at the forefront of the market in terms of thought leadership or revenue generation.

PLM Mindshare Leaders have broad-based capabilities that support a full product life-cycle-focused solution. CIMdata’s PLM Mindshare Leaders for 2008 include Dassault Systemes , Oracle , PTC , SAP , and Siemens PLM Software .

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