Thursday, June 8, 2023

CIMdata Announces Collaborative Research on Current State and Future Trends of Digital Thread Implementation within Aerospace and Defense Industry

ANN ARBOR, MI, USA, Sep 26, 2022 — CIMdata, Inc., the leading global PLM strategic management consulting and research firm, announces the initiation of a multi-sponsor collaborative research program focused on the topic of Digital Thread.

The Digital Thread has been a core element of the PLM vision for decades. The concept of automated linkage of multiple representations of a product, each tuned to the needs of various creators and consumers along the lifecycle, is very powerful. Tracing these linkages has been primarily a manual process. With recent advances in commercial PLM solutions, the Digital Thread, with automated linkages and traceability, has become a practical possibility for industries with complex products, such as aerospace & defense (A&D).

Leaders in the A&D industry are starting to implement targeted digital thread solutions and envision expanding these solutions upstream and downstream throughout the product lifecycle. With the newness of this approach, there is not much available in the way of lessons learned or actual value achieved. This lack of real data is a barrier to broader investment. At the same time, solution providers lack insight into the current state and future investment drivers within industry that is crucial to their solution strategies and roadmaps. This research is intended to provide meaningful insight into both communities.

For this research program, CIMdata, acting on behalf of the Aerospace & Defense PLM Action Group (AD PAG) member companies, has enlisted several leading PLM solution providers as co-sponsoring collaborative research partners: Aras, Eurostep, Jama Software, PTC, and Siemens Digital Industries Software.

Since its founding by Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, and Gulfstream in 2014, the AD PAG has sponsored research and jointly staffed projects on topics such as Model-Based Definition, Multiple-View Bill of Materials, PLM Technology Obsolescence Management, Global Collaboration, Model-Based Systems Engineering, and Digital Twin/Digital Thread. The members regularly interact with the principal PLM solution providers in project collaborations and executive-level strategic discussions.

The Group’s leadership has recently determined to expand its reach into the PLM solution provider community and engage in collaborative research and dialogue on strategic topics. The intent of this initiative is to gain an in-depth understanding of the needs and opportunities within the A&D industry concerning a strategic topic that will influence solution strategy and the roadmap.

There are several elements to the research program, including an initial webinar to frame the key issues and share initial research findings, and interviews with thought leaders from the Sponsors and their lead customers to be published on the blog and actively promoted to encourage broader discussion on this topic. CIMdata will publish the survey results for use by members of the PLM Economy.

According to James Roche, CIMdata’s Director, Aerospace & Defense Practice, and the research lead for this study, “Industry leaders, particularly in A&D, are investing heavily, and expectations are high. But where in the product lifecycle are these investments being made, how successful are they, and what are the drivers and perceived opportunities that will determine where future investments are targeted? Researching these questions benefits planners in industrial companies and the solution provider community.”

Those interested in learning more can listen to the replay of the introductory webinar, “The Digital Thread in Aerospace & Defense, Current State, and Future Direction,” at

If you are an industrial end-user in A&D and would like to participate in the survey, visit End users from other industries are invited to participate as well.

Nitin Patil
Nitin Patil
Editor and Director of Content, Nitin completed his Master's in Mass Communication & Journalism and having 13 years of work experience as an editor, content writer with renowned international technical magazines and media companies. He is associated with CAD,CAM industry since 2008.
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