Organisational readiness to elevate the role of PLM to realise its value potential

The original article was published here

PLM Pulse is the first industry-led survey hoping to shed some light into where we are in our PLM journeys and where the real value lays. It is not meant to be an academic or consulting research paper, but rather a temperature check of how industry sees PLM today – the pulse.

In this next short article we will explore the first question why “What is the organisational readiness to elevate the role of PLM to realise its value potential”. This article is not intended to be conclusions to the question or a detailed research findings, but more observations from industry professionals in the PLM space – our food for thought.

Have your say now… Go straight to the survey by clicking here

It has been said many times, transformation projects challenges do not lay with the technologies deployed, but rather with the people and hence the organisation as a whole. I myself use the formula NT+OO=EOO(*) in many presentations when I discuss the transformations needed to support the 4th industrial revolution. New Technology + Old Organisation = Expensive Old Organisation has never been truer today.

Nick Leeder, PTC European Forum, November 2016

Are PLM implementation still seen as an IT centric project implementation? Are organisations ready to change local processes with a PLM implementation for the wider benefit of the organisation? And is the ownership clear to drive the necessary changes to support businesses remaining competitive?

We are in a period of significant change in our industries, with industrie 4.0 changing the competitive landscape. This month the BBC published an article entitled “Why didn’t electricity immediately change manufacturing?”, which has many parallels to the journey of PLM in many businesses.

They reference Erik Brynjolfsson and his research about whether companies are ready to reorganise to take full advantage of computing. In his excellent TED lecture “The key to growth? Race with the machines”, he argues with the second industrial revolution “that productivity did not increase in those factories for 30 years… That’s long enough for a generation of managers to retire. The first wave of managers simply replaced their steam engines with electric motors, but they didn’t redesign the factories to take advantage of electricity’s flexibility. It fell to the next generation to invent new work processes, and then productivity soared, often doubling or even tripling in those factories”. I feel we are at the same cross-road with PLM today.

Still many PLM implementations are approached as an IT tool implementation, replacing the steam engine with the electric motor if you want to draw parallels. Changing or redesigning the processes is highly resisted.

One reason for the resistance is that many processes are highly optimised within departments. They have taken many years to establish and refine to their upmost efficiency. To many departments changing something that works very well has little value and the need for change in not accepted or necessarily seen locally. Secondly, if the benefits are not needed within the local departments or are not immediate, the drive for the need of change is low. If something is not broken (today), why would you want to fix it?

But redesigning the processes is just one dimension to the resistance we see in organisations. Another reason is that the ownership of PLM and its associated processes is also unclear. Often PLM is owned within the IT organisation as it is still viewed as a tool. But the business ownership is often vague at best, rarely with any executive ownership and accountability to help drive the necessary changes through across the organisation.

We are approaching 30 years of PLM and the market dynamics are starting to make companies think differently about the current ways of working and the readiness to adopt new processes. Could this be PLM’s time to increase industries productivity, just like the electric motor before it?

This is our food for thought, now it is time for you to have your say. We have posted the anonymous PLMPulse survey on to get your feedback on the topic. 

Click on this link or copy or paste link into your browser to access the survey. 

Each question will take no longer that 1 minute to complete. It should be that quick.

Read more about the PLMPulse conversation on LinkedIn and Twitter using the hashtag #PLMPulse.

At PLMx Texas in October, we will present the result of the surveys along with a live poll in the audience. We will then collate the results in a short report which can then be accessed.

To make this work, we will need your support and honest feedback via the surveys. So have your say on where industry is in its PLM journey and have your finger on the #PLMPulse.

We look forward to hearing what you have to say.

(*) I think the credit to the NT+OO=EOO formula goes to Dr. Philip Kotler (, but I am not entirely sure. My personal credit goes to Trevor Davis of IBM who introduced me to it.

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