Based on the growing volume and importance of software, it is relatively easy to understand why tighter integration across the software development cycle is becoming much more important. It is, however, only part of the equation.
Over recent years - the lines between software, electrical, and mechanical engineering have been gradually blurring, with each discipline’s functionality becoming increasingly dependent on the others. And in the same way that the traditional serial and siloed development processes have difficulty supporting today’s rate of software change and content creation, the complexity of today’s projects necessitates a higher frequency of communication and coordination between all project/product team members, across and between the various engineering disciplines.
So given that there are often cultures of conservatism in place within many embedded verticals, are OEMs responding and actually looking to change?
Well, when we asked engineers about their organizations’ plans to evaluate higher levels of cross engineering-domain integration, over ½ said that they had already looked into it or have an investigation planned. This equates to an increase of about 10 percentage points over last year when we asked the same question – which is substantial considering how slowly the embedded industry has historically changed.
The next question that comes up is around tooling - What is available today and what vendors are making the needed adjustments to their portfolios?
In past blogs and reports, we have written about IBM's OSLC initiative and PTC's acquisition of MKS. This week, at their PLM Analyst event in Boston, Siemens made it clear that they are stepping up to the challenge via updates to their Teamcenter product. They even highlighted Ford's implementation that uses Teamcenter as their data integration hub for IBM ClearCase, Rhapsody, dSPACE, MathWorks Simulink, and Vector CANape, among others.
This lingering question, however, is what factor will prove more influencial on integration strategy over the long term - ALM vendors' advantage managing the exponential growth in SW content or PLM vendors' ability to tie these domains directly into manufacturing?
We will be exploring this topic in greater detail as part of our 2012 Software and System Lifecycle Management Tool research program in our volumen covering ALM/PLM Integration. In the mean time, please contact us, we would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.