Digital is a chance for IT projects, not for PLM. But it is not a enemy either.

I look at the post from John Stark, as an answer to Roger Tempest, about digital transformation compared to PLM. I agree that basically a digital thread is not something more ore less than PLM. PLM is a digital thread for many years, as other management domains by the way (ERP, CRM, PPM, etc).
In my view Digital transformation can be seen in 2 different ways:

  • A transformation of the way a company behaves, replacing existing non digital process by a digital one. That’s where PLM is one of these processes.
  • A transformation of the company, creating new digital products where physical products only where existing. That’s typically what happened in the press or music domains, several years ago already.

As usual, different meaning for the same wording. But both should not be mixed.
If I focus on the first meaning, then there is no added value of digital over PLM, in fact it is the same thing.
So is a digital thread something new? Probably not. Is it something trendy and hype? Certainly yes.
The point is that a digital thread bring often the usage of new IT tools appeared recently like enterprise social networks, or in the manufacturing domain, google glass promising a lot in the domain of augmented reality to be used in the plants.
And that’s where Digital has a value, providing an opportunity for IT investments where it might have been difficult to sell internally a new IT project without a Digital initiative.

So PLMers, do not bash Digital transformation, simply use it.
At the end of the road, only the result counts.