5 Considerations When Evaluating PDM Solutions

Written By: Katie Scherbel
  • 4/17/2018

As we discussed in our last post, a modern product data management (PDM) system enables organizations to recoup engineering productivity and release designs at higher rates, boost innovation, and avoid prototype failures and change orders. Simply put, the right PDM system can have a significant impact on your productivity, product success, and profitability. With that in mind, here’s what to look for when evaluating PDM solutions.

1. Data Management Capabilities

To minimize the amount of work your engineers and designers must do to extend product data beyond their own function, look for a PDM system that handles much of this work. You want a single integrated view of product information and data, which requires tight integration between the PDM system and your other key systems, such as CAD and Microsoft Office. At the same time, the system should make it possible for those outside engineering to easily find the information they’re looking for. That said, you want to keep control over the data, so make sure there are ways to handle version control and release. 

2. Data Sharing Capabilities

Easily sharing consumable data with all stakeholders across the product development ecosystem is essential. But you want to do this in a controlled environment. To that end, look for self-service, role or task-based ways that make it possible for non-engineers to grab data directly from the PDM system whether they are on a desktop or mobile device. It’s also helpful when the system provides a secure collaborative space and supports concurrent design. 

3. Data Reviewing Capabilities

Advanced PDM systems make it possible for engineers to review CAD data and documents, and compare and release data, and for non-CAD users to get automatic access to 3D/2D product data. Some systems even support traceability/history of online markups, redlining, validation, and enable life-sized review of 3-D designs through augmented reality. Look for a PDM system that provides all this without interruption.

4. Cloud Deployment

Manufacturers can use on-premise PDM systems. However, many are interested in cloud-based solutions that enable fast time to value, reduce IT burden, offer a predictable operating expense with a lower total cost of ownership, and ensure greater agility and scalability. When considering a cloud-based option, make sure it satisfies the following criteria:

  • Built on a dedicated SaaS instance
  • Vendor owns upgrades and updates
  • Platform is covered by guaranteed uptime and performance
  • Solution is designed around industry-standard security and risk reduction measures

5. Support for the Future

While it’s important to choose a PDM solution that meets your company’s current needs, it’s just as critical to consider the future. Look for a solution that enables a seamless transition to a more complete Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) environment. Also, learn about the vendor’s plans to support emerging technologies and approaches, such as Internet of Things (IoT), model-based systems engineering (MBSE), and augmented and virtual reality.

With so much riding on your choice of PDM system, it’s wise to do your research and come to the right decision. To understand more about what manufacturers should look for in a PDM system, download the Tech-Clarity PDM Buyer’s Guide.



  • Windchill
  • Digital Transformation
  • Electronics and High-Tech
  • PLM

About the Author

Katie Scherbel

Katie Scherbel is the Director of Product Marketing for PTC’s PLM division. She is a content crafter by trade with over 10 years of experience in the tech industry, specializing in PLM, digital transformation, big data, cloud, storage and converged architectures. Before joining PTC, Katie was the Alliances Marketing Manager at SimpliVity Corporation and worked in partner and solutions marketing at EMC.