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Every company, whether manufacturing a product, designing a building or providing a service (IT, consulting, etc.) has a concept, a plan, process or design reviews, and procedures related to the startup, production, management and pass-off or completion of their product, building or service. And all aspects of that lifecycle ideally should be documented and accessible (at various permission levels) throughout the entire organization.Some of the traditional objections to implementing PLM have been the massive infrastructure and investment in costly programming needed to link disparate and non-communicative technologies. Try connecting Vaulted Inventor assembly data to an ERP system based on a "home grown" AS400 platform for example...it works about as well as Monty Python's Hungarian at the Tobacconist using an English phrase book. And if you don't know how that sketch ended, look it up on YouTube - not pretty!This is where Autodesk 360 Nexus appears to have an ingenious way of clearing the hurdle mentioned above - by keeping the data inside the firewall and providing a Cloud based, zero infrastructure investment model whereby anyone collaborating or doing business ...

While en route to the first of 4 Innovation Forums at Autodesk University this year, there were 2 buzzwords that I knew I'd hear many times during the conference: "Cloud", and "PLM". And while the former certainly has multiple definitions, the latter has traditionally been defined as Product Lifecycle Management. However, with the launch of Autodesk 360 Nexus, PLM may soon be democratized and more accessible to SMB (small to medium sized businesses) than ever.First, let's distinguish the differences between PDM and PLM. At it's core, PDM focuses on the data involved in the design and manufacture of a product, and therefore, is most important to those divisions of an organization. In more progressive firms, the data is shared with sales, marketing and ERP, though frequently as a non-collaborative, one way push. Many clients of ours have a PDM system courtesy of the Autodesk Vault, which is an engineering centric tool for data management. But PDM, through Vault, DBWorks or even Windows Explorer (yikes) is merely one component of PLM, which focuses on the lifecycle of a product, from ...

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