One of the most popular discussions in the PLM domain is about what is PLM. The debates are going on and these discussions never disappoint. PLM keeps driving controversy because of the high diversity of applications, people and companies involved. And when you have many players, you always find a conflict of interests.
Helmut Rohmer’s article on LinkedIn called – Is PLM a matter of IT? is one of these great articles that demonstrates the clash of interests between different players in PLM business – IT and Business. Read the article and draw your opinion. My favorite passage is about product information:
Each company providing any product does product definition information management – and has always done. The question is whether the current methods are appropriate to meet todays requirements, whether you can comply to all your stakeholders needs and create business value over the entire lifecycle. An enterprise failing in this point will perish over time.
Product information is one of the most important assets in every manufacturing company. However, the thing I found often despite everyone in a company can get a value from this information, usually, nobody wants to be responsible for the management of such information. In other words – everyone needs data, but nobody wants to do data management.
Data management applications managing product information are diverse and some of them were development a long time ago. Enterprise IT is such a big conglomerate of technologies, systems, people and related processes. This is how IT is coming to the picture. Somebody needs to manage all servers, data, integrations and other services.
So, you would say it is IT job to make it work. Yes, but… IT can only be responsible for computing aspects of the service. The “data” aspect is a mix of business, engineering, production, manufacturing data and it always challenging to bring it all in sync. A typical IT is looking on how systems behaves, the sustainability of the data and availability of resources. What IT is rarely responsible is for product information data model (). But this is actually what takes product information responsibility towards business people.
The business organization understands the importance of data and information semantics. This is a place where PLM thrives- the data needs, processes, integrations, and many other aspects that doing PLM such an important function in a company. But it also brings two important aspects – the data management landscape of product information is very complex and usually spans across multiple systems. Also, some of the elements of product information must be aggregated and connected together to provide data continuity.
What is my conclusion? There is a need to separate data management, technology, and business aspects of PLM systems. While system architecture defined by tools and validated by IT, the complexity of enterprise PLM products and technologies makes IT run away from PLM system responsibilities. But on the other side, the business function is too busy with business to focus on technical aspects of PLM implementations (until they stuck completely). The alignment between these two is one of the most important aspects of PLM implementations is one of the ways to prevent a conflict between PLM and IT. It is just very hard to do. Just my thoughts…
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud-based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups, and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.