Thought Leadership

Ask the expert about continuous integration enabling an integrate-then-build approach

By Mark Sampson

Siemens and IBM may already have an existing partnership for product development and lifecycle management, but it is getting stronger starting today. For a high-level introduction of what is to come from these two providers you’ll want to check out the press release.

What does this partnership deliver? Accelerated systems and software engineering is the only complete and integrated multi-solution, multi-domain, and standards-based approach. It enables you to connect from concept through operations to design-in sustainability, continuously integrate, and optimize faster.

This is a game-changer because it helps businesses leap left with a holistic approach enabling continuous integration of software, systems, and service engineering allowing customers to “Integrate-THEN-Build.” It enables full end-to-end traceability across all domains and disciplines to drive continuous understanding and manage the impact of change. And it enables the critical connectivity to achieve visibility and improve asset management and collaboration with the supply chain and the extended enterprise.

The bottom line is that continuous integration will eliminate the time, resources, and money drained by custom integrations. No more time will be wasted copy/pasting or duplicating work to reconcile variations across multiple models. And it will provide faster response, innovation, optimization, and time to market metrics to deliver more sustainable products while improving quality and lowering costs.

One way we are enabling the leap left approach to Xcelerated Systems and Software Engineering is by integrating architecture with our Siemens Xcelerator portfolio. At the earliest stage of the process this requires a new way to manage and deliver product definition across the lifecycle, what we are calling Systems Lifecycle Management.

Here you will find answers to what we think are the top five questions surrounding our newest solution:

What is Systems Lifecycle Management? How is it different than PLM?

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is about managing the product development process and System Lifecycle Management (SysLM) is about managing and delivering the product definition (what & how for the product) throughout the product lifecycle.

Much like building architects, systems engineers deliver what and how through a product architecture that considers many different perspectives including features, cost, reliability, and more. Just as you would never start a building project without a set of blueprints, products must start with a systems engineered set of product definitions and specifications to be successful.

Siemens is integrating architecture with PLM and creating an enterprise SysLM solution that delivers product definition direction via digital threads spanning the entire lifecycle.

Why is continuous Systems Lifecycle Management (SysLM) important to complex product development?

Today, organizations follow a “Spec-DesignIntegrate” process that attempts to bring software, electronics, and mechanics components together late in development. It’s here they discover integration problems and start the cycle over (and over).  They plan half their program resources to work these integration problems. 

To eliminate this unaffordable integration problem, they need to go to a “Integrate-THEN-build” process, or continuous integration. Integrated SysLM with system modeling blueprints and requirements enables continuous communication across domains and suppliers, a continuous systems integration, and early problem discovery to start integrated and stay integrated.

How does Rhapsody contribute to Systems Lifecycle Management?  What is the benefit of integrating Rhapsody with Siemens Xcelerator?

Software content in all products is increasing dramatically, creating “software defined products,” thus creating the need to integrate software engineering with the system and product lifecycle.

The IBM Rhapsody software modelling environment provides UML/SysML v1 standards compliance. This solution also leverages the solid IBM reputation behind UML/SysML v1 modelling to integrate software with our SysLM/PLM multi-domain product development portfolio.

Rhapsody delivers on SysML v1 support that is demanded by aerospace and defense customers while also integrating UML models with Siemens Xcelerator (Teamcenter) to support feature-driven software products into downstream software product development. Rhapsody can even utilize Polarion agile software development processes.

Fine-grained linking between Rhapsody and Siemens Xcelerator portfolio (Teamcenter, Capital, Polarion) enables continuous integration across mechanical, electrical, electronics, and software domains.

How does this compare against other system design and PLM solutions?

Other competing development environments can only support PLM. This new solution, Systems Lifecycle Management manages the combination of software, electrical, electronics, and mechanical engineering domains required to catch complex product integration problems early rather than spending half the program schedule fixing integration problems. Disconnected models outside of SysLM can’t support continuous integration.

A continuous System Lifecycle Management solution requires an integrated product architecture with requirements, parameters, and functions:

  • To support a cross-domain enterprise backbone
  • To understand the cross-product interactions
  • And to drive whole-system development via continuous integration 

The uniquely open platform of Siemens Xcelerator creates optimal flexibility. Whether it is Rhapsody, Cameo, or System Modeling Workbench, we can tie external system modeling tools into the digital thread backbone to deliver integrated architecture. To minimize downstream changes, Siemens SysLM coupled with an enterprise-scalable digital thread backbone, applies PLM standard services (configuration, change, variation, etc.) across the end-to-end digital thread.

This saves time and costs by enabling the delivery of correct, version-controlled, change managed, continuously integrated solutions. 

Does this make standalone SysML v1 tools obsolete?

Standalone system development environments can only support product lifecycle management outside of SysLM. This is a set of blueprints that no one reads and cannot support continuous integration. This new SysLM solution integrates architecture with the combination of software, electrical, electronics, and mechanical engineering for the continuous integration needed for today’s complex products.

By tying standalone system modeling tools into Siemens Xcelerator SysLM we can unleash the value of models into the digital thread backbone to deliver an integrated architecture. Once inside the Siemens Xcelerator SysLM environment, models still have access to standard PLM services ensuring everyone is working from a single source of truth.

This saves time and money ensuring everyone is always on the same page by enabling the delivery of correct, version-controlled, change managed, continuously integrated solutions.

To learn more about Siemens System Lifecycle Management (SysLM) check out the press release on the extended partnership with IBM. You may also want to see answers to common questions on the latter half of development and the integration with IBM’s Maximo application suite.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at