Large Monolithic PLM Implementations Are a Thing of the Past

Continue my last week post about how to make next PLM implementation simpler, I decided to put some ideas towards how the next PLM implementations will look like.

PLM vendors are making huge efforts to simplify PLM deployment and make implementation simpler. Despite that, in my view, typical PLM implementation is still combined from three typical steps: a significant planning effort, deployment of software and additional customization and adaptation services. These steps make implementation expensive. Talking with PLM specialists and consultants you will learn the most important PLM activities are related to good planning upfront, methodologies and clarification of what organization need and how to math organizational needs to capabilities of the system. Gaps are covered by services.  It looks like a deadly connected circle. How we can break it?

I think many of PLM vendors and implementers made a misinterpretation of out-of-the box terms. What is currently proposed in PLM “out-of-the-box” package is an effort to create “standard PLM”. What you can hear around is additional activities how possible to create typical industry implementations, OEM/supplier oriented typical implementation, etc.

In my view, this is a dead-end in PLM evolution. Such efforts will be endless similar to multiple standard activities in product development. The main reason for that is because manufacturing these days need to be more agile, lean and dynamic to sustain in their business and making profit. When such fundamental for their product development system like PLM becomes “typical”, you cannot expect them to be dynamic, lean and efficient at the same time.

What is a possible solution? I think software vendors need to learn again lessons from 15-20 years back. In beginning of 90th, few companies were doing PDM. Such projects were considered as luxury, needed by big organizations only. PDM budgets started at six digits numbers and requires major involvement of software vendor, custom software builds and long project implementation time line. However, in the middle and end of 90th we had chance to see a strong trend towards flexible data models, inexpensive Windows based systems and as a result lower entry barrier for PDM implementation.

My conclusion today. Vendors need to leave magic-out-of-the-box marketing efforts and depart to the new station where we’ll able to find new engineering solution for old problem. Future systems will be adaptive, will not require a significant effort to deploy and implement.

Just my thoughts. YMMV…
Best, Oleg


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