Happy New Year! This is my first post in 2015. Internet is overloaded with new things, trends and New Year resolutions. It made me think about new PLM. Should you plan a new PLM in a New Year? I think, this is a good theme for a New Year post.
To implement PLM is not a simple task. It takes time and resources from organization. After PLM is passing the initial adoption phase, it becomes a valuable organizational IT asset. Nevertheless, as everything else, it can get old, inefficient and expensive. So, what are those signs that can tell that your organization should start thinking about new PLM software? I wanted to come with 5 signs that can indicate you need to find a new PLM system.
1- It gets harder to make changes and support new processes
Nothing is static. New products, changes, new problems, business requirements – this is only a short list of things that can bring you to the point of PLM implementation enhancement and changes. A well designed and implemented PLM system should be flexible enough to adapt to new processes, integrate with new tools and solve business problems with a reasonable cost.Usually, it related to 3 major elements of PLM system – data model, integration with other tools and compliance to new versions of design tools, databases and operation requirements. If you feel that every new project is a big deal, changes are costly and new requirements are impossible to implement – it is a moment you should think about replacement.
2- Workarounds are proliferating
Another good sign that something goes wrong with the existing system is to watch how people are avoiding to use it. Watch internal IT projects that delivered functionality similar to what is demanded from PLM system. To monitor that, you can check main engineering tasks related to new product introduction, BOM management, ECO/ECO, data collaboration, supply chain and design sharing. You can see how often engineers are preferring to use PLM system alternative (Excel, SharePoint, Google Drive, Email, etc.) to get job done instead of PLM software. If it happens too often and you can see resistance to use existing PLM software, something is wrong and this is a moment to think about replacement.
3- The use of PLM in organization is not growing
The nature of PLM system is connect people in organization. PLM provides an information hub that can streamline processes and deliver information. A good indication that things are going well is a growing number of people using PLM system. It is easy to get this information from monitoring existing system. Watch how departments, teams and people are using PLM system. If the usage is growing, you are in a good shape. However, if you see a decline or stagnation, it is a sign of a problem. This is still not a reason for change, but it is a good indication something is going wrong.
4- Support & Maintenance cost is increasing
This is an indicator of how healthy is your PLM provider. It is not unusual for software companies to raise maintenance cost at the end of software lifecycle. Essentially, it means organization is looking for an additional compensation to cover cost of support and maintenance. There is nothing wrong to pay for support. However, in case of increased support cost, the recommendation should be to look for strategic alternative before vendor will shutdown a product and it will become non-compatible with new hardware and software.
5- Product or vendor have merged or went out of business
Mergers and acquisitions can happen. If PLM vendor and product got involved into M&A activity, you need to watch carefully the situation. The product you are using can be discontinued and merged with another product. Depends on vendor and situation it may take years until product will be discontinued. However, as a customer, you may see some strategic changes in a way new requirements will be satisfied or strategic effort will be applied.
What is my conclusion? Lifecycle is a natural thing. PLM software has its own lifecycle. It is important to watch carefully the way PLM vendor and product are performing and take decisions accordingly. Poor software performance and poor vendor performance can lead you to the right decision. To get there on time is your responsibility in today’s dynamic business environment. Just my thoughts…