Can we scale PLM down?

Picture 1Originally, PLM was born to provide solution for big enterprise customers. Aerospace, Defense, Automotive… these are original roots of today PLM kings. But, since we are moving forward many companies started to investigate in possibility to take PLM ideas to different domains, industries as well as apply it to be used for smaller customers and not only to industrial behemoths like  aerospace and automotive OEMs. In your comments, I got few requests to raise this topic on blog and discuss, so here we go. I don’t expect to finish this topic in one post, so today I want to talk about fundamental grounds behind topic of PLM for different company sizes. I’d like to put few buckets to make our discussion more structured.

Marketing. Just to make things clear. We live in dynamic world that creates multiple opportunity for product marketing. I believe marketing around PLM is very strong and interesting. One day we discuss it too, but not today. I think customer’s demands are similar if we talk to them about their needs such as product cost, regulation needs and distributed development and manufacturing. PLM marketing is focusing on explaining how PLM can solve these problems, but won’t be the only solution for these problems and needs solving. I raised these issues multiple times before discussing how different product and technologies can be positioned to solve the same (or similar needs).  

Company IT. When I think about PLM of different scales and different organizations, the first thing come to my mind is what IT organization company have. Obviously IT of big enterprise won’t be equivalent of small business IT combined from very few people. So, ability of IT to handle operational and technological issues are crucial to understand what type of PLM technology we need to come with.

Technology. So, we agreed – we need different PLM technologies. In my view, these days we are facing a very significant wave or technology and business/technology combination. Microsoft is coming up to enterprise very actively. Traditional big-IT focused companies like IBM, Oracle and others are trying to establish their strategic position. On opposite side, SaaS and Cloud technologies becomes more mature and attractive for enterprises. I think, companies of different sizes will be deciding also based on technological choice. So, PLM companies need to be prepared to multiple offering or understand niches of technological marketplaces

Company Processes and Organization. When IT abilities and Technological preferences are fundamental things companies will analyze, issue such as company processes are definitely need to be taken into account when you come with PLM-bag to organization. What is good for big companies won’t fit way smaller customers are doing their business. Smaller organization are always will be more agile, connected and open compared to bigger enterprise and therefore, will be focusing on different priorities and needs.  So, don’t develop very complex ECO for the company of 100 people and 5 engineers.

So, what is my conclusion today? Different companies are doing business in different way. There is strong influence of IT, Technologies and Organization processes on the way product development and manufacturing systems need to be established, implemented in supported. I’d be thinking about next discussion with more specific themes and looking forward for your comments.

Best, Oleg.


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