In a recent presentation, CIMdata President Peter Bilello discussed the current perceptions of product lifecycle management (PLM) software. He discussed the results from a poll measuring the opinions of how senior management view PLM software. Although an overwhelming percent of business surveyed use PLM software, the reported outcomes vary: from the software providing competitive advantage to not delivering on its promises.
Having worked with OEMs around the world, I’ve learned that there are many reasons a PLM software implementation may succeed or fail. I would like to explore just one of these reasons in this blog.
I encourage my colleagues to think of PLM software as just one piece in a large puzzle. When the level of commitment to a single piece distracts from the focus on the desired outcomes, the organization becomes trapped.
Sometimes organizations lose sight of the benefits and value of product lifecycle management as a philosophy and think of it only as software solution. PLM software is vital to the success of product development. But, I encourage my colleagues to think of PLM software as just one piece in a large puzzle. When the level of commitment to a single piece distracts from the focus on the desired outcomes, the organization becomes trapped.
Monolithic PLM Suites Limit Enterprise Capabilities
Because a monolithic PLM software suite is an enormous time and resource investment, enterprises often create entire departments to manage the solution. Engineering teams are often required to change their product development processes to accommodate the PLM suite. PLM software providers attempt to meet customer expectations by purchasing and integrating more and more software modules into their monolithic software suite.
Now, a PLM tool may have dozens of modules that all share the same platform but have limited integrations with each other. What was meant to help the enterprise can actually create more work and fail to deliver the desired outcomes. A more results-driven approach is to start with the desired outcomes and consider nimble add-ons outside the PLM suite.
Focus on Business Outcomes, Not Technology Additions
PLM suite providers may be expanding capabilities, but they have lost focus on their customers’ workflows. Even with a steady introduction of modules that address a specific stage in the product lifecycle, users still work outside of the PLM tool to accomplish daily tasks. Time and time again, I hear from my colleagues that PLM software almost delivers, but there is still a painful misalignment across the extended enterprise.
The best outcomes aren’t achieved through a single source solution with forced adoption.
People want flexible processes and solutions that deliver the data they need in meaningful contexts. Trying to achieve this by using only one tool can actually create misalignment and a rigid structure. The best outcomes aren’t achieved through a single source solution with forced adoption. Instead, organizations get the most benefit by identifying and implementing optimal solutions based on the business needs throughout the extended enterprise.
Leverage New Technologies in Addition to PLM
Changing the way we think about technology and innovation creates limitless opportunities to improve product lifecycle management. Enterprise PLM software is coming up on its 20th birthday and is faced with increasing challenges to deliver the outcomes we need in today’s fast-paced, collaborative, extended enterprise environment. By looking beyond a single solution, manufacturers can leverage the latest innovations by simply layering new technologies on top of their core PLM software. The key is to ensure desired outcomes drive technology decisions.