PLM and MDM – How to start right?

Product Lifecycle Management and Master Data Management. I had chance to raise this issue few months ago in my post Will Master Data Management Work for PLM? Few days ago, interesting publication from Gartner about their research in area of MDM and, more specifically, about overlap between MDM and PLM. Andrew White together with Marc Halpern published paper called “Interfacing of PLM and MDM for cross enterprise needs”. The conclusion made by Andrew in his blog article is simple – use a right tool for the right job.
In more detailed way, they explained PLM itself as a not mature software category in comparison to ERP, SCM, CRM etc. With lack of maturity and unclear agreed position and usage of MDM, PDM, PLM prevented earlier exploration of intersection between these domains.


Now, I’d like to come back to my initial question – how to start right? What is my concern about approach “right tool for right job”? As soon as we speak about corporate and enterprise data and product IP/Knowledge, I think this approach may not work. Today’s enterprise is very siloed, information span across multiple systems – engineering, manufacturing, procurement, supply chain. As soon as a system identify in the particular functional domain, it will not create major conflicts. I see relatively simple approach to position PDM as a system to manage design and engineering data only together with Master Data Management. However, when we come to PLM approach, I see definitely conflict of interest. In my view PLM and MDM strategy has similarity in their approaches to create “single point of truth” in organization.

So, what I see as a possible PLM/MDM strategy? I think, MDM strategy and infrastructure, can provide possible foundation for managing of non-transactional data for product development. This data can be accumulated by MDM and saved for future usage. Today’s PLM implementations are mostly focused around product development, so such MDM infrastructure can be good asset PLM can use to achieve long term data retention and other data management needs. At the same time, such approach can bring significant investment into both PLM and MDM systems and probably can be acceptable only by large enterprises.

I’m interested in discussion, if you had any experience with MDM and PLM system co-existence.
Best regards,


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