PLM vs. ERP: Demand for Business Process

Picture 1I want to start today with twitter quote “PLM vs ERP – ERP a transactional system, not suited to manage development of product, integration of all info such as ingredients”. Well, PLM/PDM vs. ERP discussion is old, and I remember it for the last 10-15 years or even more… However, I’d expect some changes in this non-stop confrontation.

The original capabilities of PLM and ERP came respectfully out of their business roots – CAD Design/Data Management for PLM and manufacturing transaction from MRP/MRPII/ERP. However, both domains had demands to grow and make an expansion in organizations. PLM is looking for attractive domains such as requirements, manufacturing, supply chain. ERP is interested to expand toward product development. Both system domains (PLM and ERP) are looking how to establish connected space for enterprise organization business. So, how to achieve it?

I think, very interesting is that both classes of systems are very in favor of business processes. Even if PLM and ERP have a different notion of business processes, I’d say Business Processes can provide good synergy between both systems. PLM traditionally focused on very high level of people involvement in processes. Human based and hybrid processes is something that PLM requires. On the opposite side, ERP is focusing on automation and streamline of processes in organizations.

I think vendors on both (PLM and ERP) sides need to look very pro-actively how adopt Business Process Management technologies. This will be the key to success in organizations. From a technological standpoint, maturity of standards like BPMN and BPEL can provide a solid technological foundation for this work. But, at the same time, both PLM and ERP need to worry about growing capabilities of dedicated BPM vendors. They can take an attractive $$$ from aged PLM and ERP providers and establish strong BPM leadership in organization. I wrote about this in my previous PLM prompt.

So, what is my conclusion today? Business process have strong demand from both sides- PLM and ERP. The road toward successful BPM implementation can be very bumpy for PLM and ERP. Need to watch it out. Multiple vendors can still business and establish success business in front of enterprise behemoths.

What do you think about it? What are your practices with regards to process management in organization?

Best, Oleg


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