Why PLM should not think about ownership?

Why PLM should not think about ownership?


Enterprise software business is complicated. It often comes with questions of system responsibilities and ownerships. IT usually holds primarily responsibility for cross company software stack. At the same time, divisions and departments often try to influence IT and make their own decision related to what software to use independently. One of the terms came out of this political and technological confrontation is shadow IT.

Ownership is a sensitive question. In enterprise organization (manufacturing companies are included) it often involved with many politics, hidden agendas and power influence. This is a reality of many enterprise organizations. By the nature, PLM is getting deeply involved in this politics. If you think about PLM as a business strategy focused on organizational processes, it becomes clear why it is hard to avoid cross departments conflicts. Then, if you think about PLM as a technology, you might appreciate why ownership of a particular set of technology and/or data can be involved in the same cross department operation politics.

Earlier this week, I’ve been reading Aras blog – Who should take ownership of PLM? Navigate to the following link to have a read (). Draw your own opinion. I think it provide some interesting perspective on PLM ownership. This is how Aras blog explained that:

With this business dynamic in mind, have you reexamined who should take ownership of PLM in your organization? Something to consider, there will be different driving forces behind PLM depending upon who has ownership. Here are some to keep in mind: Should Design select and own the PLM system? As you’ve likely seen, the main focus of PLM is in CAD file management, change management and BOM management when design is at the wheel. What about Operations? With cost reduction, inventory management and purchasing at the top of their priorities you can bet these will be the focus for Operations driven PLM as well. What about Quality? With the Quality organization leading, the driving forces for PLM are likely to be compliance, regulations and overall quality of products.

I agree, the story is really not black and white. However, good organization will break this story down to the pieces of business processes and technologies. There are clear benefits for division and departments to be responsible for their processes. This is should be an ultimate goal. Nevertheless, I still can see some overall responsibility on product development processes (especially when it comes to cross functional teams). So, to have somebody responsible for product can provide a lot of value. At the same time, it doesn’t mean technology needs to be driven by the same department people. I see technological and software stack responsibility separately. Sometimes, it can come as multiple pieces of product and technologies.

What is my conclusion? In my view, the question of “PLM ownership” is a wrong one. It must be split into business, process, communication and technologies. It is obvious Quality (or any other) department should be responsible for how processes are organized. However, it doesn’t imply ownership of technologies and software pieces. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image is courtesy of Aras blog. 


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