Four P’s of future Product Lifecycle Management

Four P’s of future Product Lifecycle Management


Since I shifted my focus on PLM consulting, I had a chance to meet and talk to many people about PLM. Some of them are using PLM system and like it, some of them are hating PLM systems. And guess what, many of them have no idea how PLM can improve their work if at all. My personal statistic is not scientific to use it even in the blog post. However, I found that Jim Brown of TechClarify made a research – What do users really think about their PLM system?  The data below is fascinating – more than 50% of people are either in love or like PLM very much.


Amazing, isn’t it? But, not so fast…. The second part of the same research says – please change everything! The following passage was my favorite.

People asked to change ease of use, configurability, search, performance, stability, and integration with other systems (including design tools and enterprise systems like ERP). Pretty much everything. The feedback was clear, I would summarize it as “there’s a lot we aren’t happy with and we want it to change.”

I agree with Jim’s assessment – this is pretty much a wake-up call for PLM vendors. At least, it was a blog trigger for me to think about how to change PLM, so customers will love it in the future.

Over the weekend, I was looking for inspiration to find a new formula for PLM. I think, over the past few years, PLM vendors tried everything – social, cloud, open source… (maybe I forgot something, so please remind me in comments).

The inspiration came in a form of book – Hardware Startups by Rene DiResta, Brady Forrest and Ryan Vinyard. In one part it speaks about reasons why people are participating in crowdfunding projects and how to make them successful – it called 4 Ps of crowdfunding – People, Project, Participation, Perks. You can read 4 Ps of crowdfunding part by navigating to the following link. You can read more about it on Indiegogo blog – How to get your crowdfunded indiegogo campaign to the top.

If you’ve been in PLM industry for some time, you probably had a chance to hear many jokes about what is the meaning of “PLM” and, especially, what “P” means. The best joke was that PLM stands for “Politic Lifecycle Management”, which in many cases very true when it comes to explain a decision process in large organization and PLM vendor selection. So, I wanted to rethink PLM “P”s… With “four Ps” in mind I came to think about how to change everything in PLM. Here are my attempt to bring four P’s of future PLM:

1- People. This is a key thing, in my view. Probably to emphasize all previous attempts of creating “social system”, future PLM should be about people at first. Manufacturing world is global and distributed. People like to work from many locations – sometimes because they need to and sometimes just because they like to travel and be digital nomads.

2- Product. The main focus of product lifecycle management system is to delivery product. Without product it doesn’t make sense. People love products they do and to help people to develop successful products will make system successful too.

3- Project. To bring product in life takes time and effort. And schedule. And coordination. What makes people to deliver on time? Project focus. So, the ability to work on projects is critical.

4- Profit. Last, but very important. Companies are businesses and want to make profit out of their products. So, to help keep focus on profit is important. How to make profit in manufacturing company is a tricky thing. To focus on right information is absolutely important to make it happen.

What is my conclusion? I’m not pretending to solve a problem of PLM in a single blog post. There is no silver bullet. PLM is a complex industry domain with many Ps. However, to focus on right things is important. People, product, project and profit are top 4 things PLM should be focusing to be successful. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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