The big news in the world of interoperability is the Codex of PLM Openness (CPO). From AutomotiveIT:
ProSTEP started the initiative for a CPO in 2011 and developed version 1.0 together with BMW, Daimler, Dassault Systèmes, IBM, Oracle, PTC, SAP, Siemens PLM, T-Systems and Volkswagen.
The aim was to develop a common basic understanding on the subject of openness of IT-systems in the context of PLM. The partners definied measurable criteria in the process.
The CPO is a voluntary self-commitment for companies that is intended to generate seamless PLM data processes.
You can download a copy of the CPO from the prostep.org website.
The first question that might be reasonable to ask is why is the CPO even needed? The answer to that should be self evident: The big PLM vendors have not been open, and have been obstructing competition in the PLM market for years.
Yet, what do the big PLM vendors have to say?
Quite a lot, actually. Let me start with Dasault Systemes, which issued a press release on the CPO this week. (I’ll talk about some of the other vendors in follow-up posts.) Here’s a quote from that release:
“For 30 years Dassault Systèmes’ executive team has driven PLM relentlessly towards an open, unified collaborative experience for our customers,” said Dominique Florack, Senior Executive Vice President, Products, Research and Development, Dassault Systèmes. “Openness is critical to collaboration and, thus, innovation. Dassault Systèmes is very much in favor of the CPO and actively supports this effort.”
I was drinking a Coke when I read that, and almost spit it out all over my keyboard.
Let’s see if I have this right: BMW and Volkswagen, two of Dassault Systemes biggest customers, go to a lot of trouble to initiate the Codex of PLM Openness, and DS says “we’ve been open all along”?
Here’s what they’re not saying: These customers made it clear that they weren’t going to do any new business with any PLM company that wouldn’t agree to the CPO. DS had no real choice but to sign.
If you read the CPO with a jaundiced eye, you can see how the weasel word “should” is sprinkled throughout it. It’s written in a way that anyone, even the world’s biggest software monopolists, could sign it. (And, indeed, a couple of the world’s biggest software monopolists have signed it!)
I do want to give DS, and all the other big vendor signatories, the benefit of the doubt, that they’ll somehow change their ways, and become less obstructionist to competition. Yet it’s hard for me to do, and keep a straight face at the same time. (OK: I have asked DS for some information to back up their position on openness. If they come through with it, I’ll be completely thrilled to post about it here.)
While I keep open the possibility that the CPO will somehow change things, I can’t see it happening. If openness isn’t in a company’s DNA, it doesn’t matter what kind of voluntary agreement they sign. They’re not going to change.