Do we have reasonable alternatives for PLM?

Jos Voskuil is blogging about ERP alternative for PLM. This is quite interesting question that can be split into two directions: 1/can we replace PLM from methodological and product standpoint; 2/can we make “non-PLM or general purpose technologies” make PLM job.


On methodology and product side, I think adoption of PLM is very high these days. Many companies understood and agreed on values PLM can bring them

On technology side, I see situation is differently. These days people really care about cost of ownership and overall technological stacks in organization.


The last point is related to ERP adoption mentioned by Jos Voskuil. If ERP already in place – why we cannot get most of ERP to handle product lifecycle.

Other technologies that relevant to provide solution for PLM methodologies are:


1.     General collaboration technologies – Web 2.0, Wiki, Communication, Portals. This is emerging place, especially in the area of Web 2.0 and emerging Enterprise 2.0 (you can see more touching materials of latest Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston, MA


2.     Business Process Management (BPM) – roots of this technology are going to workflow but in today’s SOA world emerging to much broader topic focusing to resolve business-to-technology connection in organization. Connection between business and IT. There are dedicated pure BPM vendors (,, ). Also behemoths like Microsoft, Oracle and IBM are stepping into this place with their platforms. You can see more in Gartner BPM Magic Quadrant research.

Business Process Management in Wikipedia

Gartner Business Process Management Research

Business Process Management Institute


3.     Master Data Management (MDM) – roots to federation and database technologies. The underline objective is to keep single synchronized space of product information that organization can leverage. Most of big IT technological providers supports MDM today. In addition there several dedicated MDM providers.

Master Data Management in Wikipedia

Forrester Research about MDM Trends in 2008


4.     Portals, Office Tools, Mail,  – this is mostly “horizontal tools” are first coming instrument to implement PLM, often perceived as cheap and efficient option, but probably faced many challenges within time. Cheap becomes the most expensive option in the end.

Gartner Magic Quadrant about Horizontal Portals


5.     SOA platforms – probably less attractive, but still option that company can approach if their view on PLM implementation is focused on development their own tools and services.


I see PLM companies taking most of available technologies today in the way they deliver their products. But diversity of solution is high and very depends on industry, customer, geo and other factors. 


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