Whilst software vendors are promising more cost effective PLM solutions, it is through the wider adoption and information scope across the enterprise which will fundamentally increase the business benefit from PLM

Business use of PLM

Is PLM predominantly used by Engineering functions or is there a wider adoption in organisations?

  • The legacy use of PLM is having a detrimental effect of the value potential of PLM investments in an organisation
  • Usage of PLM must break out of Engineering functions. This will allow businesses to gain greater value using product information and their historical investments.
  • The more information a PLM system contains across the lifecycle of a product, the more value an organisation can gain from PLM and will drive the broader use in a business.
  • The usability of PLM is often seen as the main barrier for wider adoption in an organisation, especially if significant investment in training is needed to enable its productive usage.
  • PLM can store and process large quantities of information, but that information is meaningless if it can not be accessed by users and applications.

PLM Value Case

Is the value case behind PLM clear and tangible for many organisations?

  • As PLM is a significant investment in most organisations, it is important to have a clearly defined Return on Investment (ROI) which is tangible and measurable.
  • For PLM to be seen as a valuable business solution, it must be perceived to add value in an organisation, not just take costs out, especially in IT.
  • PLM licensing is usually complex and can sometimes restrict an organization’s ability to fully use its PLM system in a cost-effective manner impacting the overall realised ROI of projects
  • The promise of secure, reliable and resilient cloud solutions should allow business to minimise the significant initial investment in infrastructure needed to support on premise PLM solutions.

The lack of executive ownership of PLM and the duplicity of a departments acceptance of PLM verses the transformational scope of projects mean many organisations struggle to realise the potential benefits

Organisational Readiness

What is the readiness of organisations to elevate and refine the role of PLM?

  • Business acceptance on the need for change is critical for the project’s success. This is true for any change within an organisation.
  • The ownership of PLM has traditionally been held in engineering or IT departments of an organisation; however, to drive wider change, executive ownership is needed.
  • The historical focus of PLM projects has been around the reduction of cost, either IT or the business;  but for PLM to maximise its potential it needs to be creating value inside of an organisation
  • Organisational complexities and legacy ways of working could be seen as the greatest barrier to change, which may in turn limit PLM’s value to business.

Value of Information

Are organisations able to extract value from PLM information through insight and analytics?

  • Being able to access the information in PLM through trusted and reliable mechanisms will help organisations realise its value.
  • To get to the valuable information inside of PLM, the vendors need to supply simple and intuitive ways both to access and visualise this data in a trusted and secure way.
  • The maturity in the way businesses use information from PLM is directly related to the value that they can return from the system
  • PLM should be the source of a companies product information and knowledge, it is logical that PLM should be connected to a companies ”Big Data” strategy.

The gap between current PLM initiatives, legacy implementations and the need to ready them for digital capabilities is significant and few companies have managed to effectively integrate their information or applications.

Future of PLM

Will PLM and Internet of Things unleash new value potential for organisations?

  • Product and product information is normally core to a company’s digital strategy and the need to have PLM connected to the strategy should be key for its realisation.
  • If the “T” in Internet of Things is the ”P” in PLM, then businesses use of PLM in the execution of their IoT strategy should be a priority – yet few implementations are ready to support
  • The “engineering” legacy of PLM and its complexities is seen as a barrier to enabling IoT initiatives with critical product information.
  • The combination of the hype around PLM and IoT and a new vocabulary to describe concepts may be causing further confusion in the role of PLM for organisations.

Scope of next surveys

Where could we take the focus of the PLMPulse Surveys in the future?

  • How PLM information is used by non-Engineering departments and how they access product information.
  • What are the main usability issues seen with PLM applications and what changes would make the biggest difference.
  • If security is the biggest concern with cloud, it could be explored why companies believe PLM should be managed in-house.
  • Further analysis of business resistance to process changes enabled by PLM should be investigated to better understand the barriers.
  • The utilisation of product information in PLM applications and their role in Big Data and Digital Initiatives – Where PLM is part of the strategies, what is its role.
  • What changes are needed to legacy PLM implementations to ready them for IoT initiatives. What is the scope of these initiatives.
  • What changes to PLM nomenclature and concepts would increase Executive awareness and buy-in.