Collaboration and Process Management is obviously a very important part of Product Lifecycle Management. But does it really target successful Product Lifecycle Management implementation? Yes, I think that allowing people to collaborate and have this process organized and synchronized with all other processes in your organization is the ultimate goal of any PLM implementation. Assuming you have already done this… does it make you feel good about your implementation? More importantly, does it make you feel good about your company? If you answered NO, (as I suspect), I’d like to discuss and raise questions to discover what is beyond Collaboration and Process Management.
I think that decision making needs to be taken care of by Product Lifecycle Management very urgently. I’m not talking about the ability of the system to make decisions, rather the ability of the PLM system to take control over product data that will help people in decision making. In order to make this happen, PLM tools need to provide a decision-oriented environment, that will allow the user (engineer, analyst, manager) to make the appropriate decision about change, design, priority etc.
In order to make this happen, PLM needs to step up from a process-oriented environment to a multi-domain, content oriented environment. PLM needs to manage multiple domains of data, allowing the users of (PLM) systems to access Requirements, Engineering, Parts, Customers, Manufacturing, etc. By allowing this, PLM will give users the chance to control the most important decisions in the organization. I see this as the ultimate value of PLM, beyond collaboration between people and the management of processes.
If you are planning on implementing PLM today, what should you put on your short list to achieve these goals? In my view, you need to invest in two areas – operational business intelligence and the integration of your PLM system with other enterprise systems. The first area will give you tools to present information to make the right decision. The second will integrate product data into connected multi-domain data sets (such as multiple Bill of Materials etc.). Achievements of these two goals will allow PLM systems to move beyond day-to-day collaboration and process activities.