Should PLM develop its own process tools?

There is no discussion – PLM is very oriented towards processes. In order to be able to coordinate multiple organizational activities around product lifecycles it seems like process tools is  a “must to have” component in PLM tool box. But is it really true?

In today’s world, process tools are becoming available as part of many non-PLM products. Starting as workflow automation, process tools were developed and/or acquired by platform vendors (IBM, Microsoft and others). Large ERP vendors also provided process tools as part of their packages. In addition to these big behemoths, many BPMS (Business Process Management Suites) are focusing on process definition, execution and improvement. In addition, some standards initiatives around BPMN and BPEL are also focusing on process management and tools.

So where does PLM play into this game? I see two possible options: (1) PLM providers will focus on the development of process management tools; (2) PLM providers will allow the integration of PLM information and IP  (Intellectual Property) into existing process tools provided by platforms. I believe that option #1 will be very helpful in integrating PLM systems into the enterprise software already available within the vast zoo of software within the organization, option#2 can simplify deployment and and keep the implementation of PLM simple.

From a customer’s standpoint,  I see great significance to maintaining single organizational process. Therefore, a promising alternative is to align the PLM process implementation with the growing adoption of standards like BPMN /BPEL. This allows customer to run multiple tools around the same process…



Share This Post

  • Brian K Seitz

    The problem with BPM as defined in trade press now, is that its no longer about process, its about technology. One of the hottest debates going on in the Enterprise Architecture forms is about Data vs Process –again!

    Given, I.T. has a long history of missed schedules, overpromising & under delivering, exceeding budgets I’m not sure I’d want I.T. providers to be defining by processes. Maybe providing tools to document and enable them but actually defining them I think not.

    I believe creating the model of how products are designed & produced should be left to teams concerned with actually doing the job, rather than those removed from the actual work. I think a modeling tool that enables marketing & engineering teams to visualize and monitor the process of product lifecycle is the next new wave of productivity for the product development field

  • olegshilovitsky

    Brian, thanks for your observations! I think BPM will continue their path to become mature and reliable technology for process modeling and execution. It will allow to people “actually doing the job” as you said and it includes also ISV providing process dependent tools and packages to use it. -Oleg

  • Pingback: PLM Process Management - How many Workflows do we Need? « Daily PLM Think Tank Blog()

  • Pingback: PLM vs. BPM or What do you think about IBM PDIF? « Daily PLM Think Tank Blog()

  • Pingback: PLM and Process Tools: Opportunity or Complication?()

  • Pingback: PLM and Process Tools: Opportunity or Complication? « Daily PLM Think Tank Blog()