Should PLM Disconnect Data from Process?

Should PLM Disconnect Data from Process?

I had a chance to read an article by ebizQ related to Cordys BPM. For those who is not aware – Cordys is a relatively new outfit in the enterprise software market. The wizard name behind this company is Jan Baan. If you are a long-time citizen in the enterprise software domain, you need his first ERP company – BAAN. These days Jan Baan is very active and Cordys is one of his new babies. In his interview, Jan is discussing his long project related to decoupling of processes. The following quote seems to me interesting:

… ending the data-process dependency is easier said than done. Suppliers attempted it using extremely fat clients at one extreme and sophisticated distributed data with replication at the other.

Process Decoupling

For a very long period of time the concept of “a process needs data” were dominant. Multiple BPM vendors claimed that the only way to make BPM successful is to bring meta-data (and other data) into BPM product suites. I can agree, this strategy seems to be successful if you plan is to create integrated enterprise software suites. However, thinking more about Internet technologies and lean architectures it makes much more sense to make a disconnection of data and process.

PLM: Process vs. Data

In my view, PLM Software vendors are definitely moving towards better vertical integration. Users are asking PLM companies for a better integration between products, and PLM (and not only PLM) companies are starting to couple products and solutions together to ensure customers will spend fewer resources tailoring these solutions.

What is my conclusion? I think, enterprise software vendors can miss the dangerous point of data and process connection and interplay. When most of the enterprise companies use data to lock-in customers in their product suites, the addition of processes seems to them as a natural continuation of this strategy. The real danger of these strategies is a large complicated software products and extremely high cost of changes. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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  • Mike Gavlak

    As a PLM software consultant, I often go into a client who tells me they need to set up a workflow to manage some business process. Often, all they need is to manage the lifecycle on an item or items, controlling their use, rights for users to view and change them, and so on. Workflow is sometimes needed, but only for very specific purposes. It is helpful to have a PLM tool with a rich set of capabilities and flexibility, so you can pick and choose them for various business processes, giving the most value, with the least amount of custom programming. That is why I chose Aras Innovator as a customer, and now as a company to represent as a consultant.

  • beyondplm

    Mike, thanks for your comment! I agree with you, people are often creating more complicated definitions (i.e. Business process). However, in fact, things can be much simpler. PLM tools came as a rich set of tools (toolkit). Within a time, vendors started to create packaged functions. The balance is important, in my view. Best, Oleg