Vertical PLM Medley

My new website and blog is BeyondPLM. The original post is here.

I read an article “PLM’s Vertical Challenge” in High Tech Views. The High Tech article is presenting advantages of industry-oriented PLM implementations. Read it and make your impression. I specially liked the following part:

“We needed something that had an apparel maker’s focus in mind. Otherwise we’d be spending too much time trying to tailor something else,” says Rich Zielinski, Under Armour’s vice president of technical services. “The more tailoring you do, the more a system doesn’t work.”  Companies in many industries are learning that lesson. Having lived through lengthy, expensive, and often fruitless enterprise software rollouts, especially in the areas of ERP and CRM, manufacturers are now reluctant to bankroll the deployment of generic PLM systems in need of major modifications for handling industry-specific requirements and company-specific business processes. They understand that, as the PLM market matures, much of the heavy lifting associated with mapping out critical business processes and industry requirements — for example, in the areas of regulatory compliance or quality management — has already been done by the vendors and early adopters in sectors such as automotive and aerospace and defense.

The problem is very interesting, in my view. Companies are suffering from long time implementation cycles. The alternatives need to found. In the early beginning of PLM-era, CAD/PLM companies were selling toolboxes with a significant portion of services and implementation consultancy. However, 1-2 years implementation cycles, significant budgets and unsatisfied customers made vendors to think about possible alternatives.

PLM Industry Solutions
The idea of industry solutions (or how companies are calling it – industry verticals) isn’t new. If you will take a look on the PLM portfolios all major PLM (and not only) vendors, you can see a standard portion of industry doggy food. The industry solutions reminded me storytelling. In the beginning, industry sales or industry professionals are proving that they can speak to a customer in the “industry language”. Then it turns to the software? The very typical option is to have a pre-configured software package including full pack of documents and presentation explaining how to use it inside of the company. You can see below a top-view on such industry-oriented packages.

Vertical Solution Problems

What is the biggest advantage of Industry Solutions? In my view, pre-packaged functionality. What is the biggest disadvantage? In my view, the same. Engineers have a tendency to work slightly different. Organizations may have their own way to run a development that doesn’t fit 100% to pre-packaged functionality provided by vendors. So, the biggest danger is that customer will need to customize the industry solution to fit organizational needs.

Granularity and Risk Management

How to manage risks in implementing vertical PLM solutions? One of the possible ways is to increase the granularity of the solution you are going to buy and implement. To have small pieces that can stitch together can prevent you from grandiose plans to implement all in a single shot.

What is my conclusion? The best association that comes to my mind when I think about vertical PLM solutions is CD-medley. Do you remember that? You can buy Bach-medley, Mozart-medley, Rock-n-Roll-medley… You can buy a double-CD-medley for a bargain price. It was 15-20 years ago… What can be better? Now we know – iTunes. More granular approach can win over the time. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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