What is Teamcenter? (or, Teamcenter explained)

You have probably heard about Teamcenter. You know it is used extensively at the major OEMs. But what does it actually do? How is it made? This article will explain, from the very beginning, what Teamcenter is and how it is put together.

Teamcenter is a modern Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system that connects people and processes, across functional silos, with a digital thread for innovation.  The Teamcenter platform  is primarily designed to support the design and development of products that subsequently get manufactured. Siemens Digital Industries Software gives a single-picture representation of Teamcenter as follows:

Firstly, Teamcenter is a platform, meaning that it houses multiple capabilities (apps) in a single seamless piece of software. A user logs into one interface and is able to access all the installed and licensed capabilities of their Teamcenter from there. The platform is based on a database, allowing for storage and indexing of data.

Secondly, the platform is scalable to suit the requirements of each organization using the technology. In fact, Siemens PLM Software have categorized the apps into three groups: Start, initial deployment; Extend, increase functionality; and Transform, move to advanced capabilities.

Thirdly, Teamcenter grew out of the necessity to store and maintain all the digital data generated during product development after widespread adoption of CAD applications. It now has extensive capabilities beyond that.

Let us look at the three groups and define at a high level each one of the apps:


Design Management – Ability via application integrations to store and manage all sorts of digital product and engineering data. Examples are 3D CAD, 2D drawings, etc. This is usually the starting point for all Teamcenter implementations.

Document Management – Storage and control of all documents required to support engineering data. Examples could include material specifications, images, etc.

Bill of Material Management – Fundamental to making any product is an accurate BOM. Teamcenter stores and manages this information.

Process Execution – Workflows and processes are handled by this functionality. Examples could include approval workflows, where an originator sends a design on to approvers before releasing the data.


Requirements Management – Before any product is designed, requirements are defined that determine the performance of the final design. Teamcenter can manage these requirements to ensure that all are met once development is complete.

Service Lifecycle Management – Capturing the final as-built configuration of a product so that it can be maintained once it is in service.

Manufacturing – The process of defining the manufacturing process and ensuring that correct information is passed to ERP systems that run these operations.

Supplier Integration – The methods by which key design data is shared and received from suppliers and partners. Before a supplier can deliver a correct component, he has to have the right data. Teamcenter facilitates that exchange.


Quality – Allows the sharing, analysis, and consumption of quality data. The app includes the capability of raising and tracking CAPA.

Product Cost Management – The ability to cost out and analyze a Bill of Material to get initial product costing during the design phase. This is an important consideration during product development.

Environmental Compliance and Sustainability – Allows for the control and traceability of the material makeup of products down to the substance level.

Systems – With this capability, one can design from a system level down to the specific realization. Systems can be modeled and analyzed, checked for compatibility.

Each of the capabilities above can even be presented to different sets of users with an interface that makes the most sense for them.  For power users, such as engineers and designers who need access to advanced PLM capabilities, Teamcenter provides a high-performance client that makes it easy to complete complex and demanding tasks. For extended enterprise users, such as your executives or sales and marketing team members who need easy access to Teamcenter anytime, anywhere, Active Workspace provides browser-based access to Teamcenter on any modern computing device without the need to install any clients or plugins.

Obviously, each application is comprehensive enough to warrant a complete subject in and of itself, but I hope this breakdown has given you a useful high-level overview of what Teamcenter can do for an organization, not just at initial implementation but in terms of adapting to its changing needs over time.

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