It takes XX months to implement PLM. Can we fix it?

It takes XX months to implement PLM. Can we fix it?


I was attending Aras Innovator Software-as-a-Service – a new PLM cloud offering of T-Systems webinar yesterday. If you are in Europe, Aras / T-Systems can be an alternative to installing PLM servers in your organization. I captured the following data point – it takes ~1 day to get Aras cloud instance up and running when you’re implementing PLM.  I believed the number is a bit on a high side (compared to many other SaaS services in our consumer and business life). However, I’ve got the following comment from my long time blogging buddy – Jos Voskui  @josvoskuil: and it takes xx months to adapt the business processes and motivate the people ?


That comment reminded me the article I posted one year ago – What cloud PLM cannot do for you?. Actually, Jos is spot on – implementation is the hardest part of the overall process to introduce PLM to the any organization. It made me think again about PLM implementation and organizational challenges.

PLM today is strongly associated with change. The value proposition of PLM was built on company transformation and improvement. Change is really hard for companies and it is not always possible. Company legacy data, established processes, existing technologies, politics – this is a reality of every PLM implementation.

Is there a better way to implement PLM? Very often, it comes to the point of discussion about company business processes as a competitive advantages to win a market.

One of the reasons companies stay in business in the competitive environment is because  they built processes, that provide them with competitive advantage or differentiation. Usually companies  have business processes that can be optimized or made more efficient by available technologies, but that is different from complete process re-engineering. At the same time, technologies can offer some approaches that would change company business processes business processes in a fundamental way.

Is it possible to capture business processes used by organization instead of introducing an organization change? For a long period of time, it was considered by many companies as the most complicated task. Usually it wasn’t about technology and products, but was mostly about sales strategy and technological partnership between industrial companies and PLM vendors. But such approach cannot scale – hence we are here with a complexity of PLM adoption  by many organization.

Flexibility is one of the most demanded technological advantages that can help to adapt PLM products during to implementation and capture existing business processes. Usually, it is presented by PLM vendors as a differentiation. In the example below you can see how Aras does it – Aras adapts to your business, not other way around.


While I agree completely with Aras’ message, I’d love to see more examples how Aras Innovator can be adapted to existing business processes.

What is my conclusion? The change is hard for every organization. Current PLM implementation approach makes implementation as hard as every change. That’s why implementation can take XX months and fail. Is there a better way? For the last few months I’ve heard about several approaches to make implementation easier. The traditional approach is to provide PLM system with predefined characteristics tailored for specific industry and segment – so called OOTB (out of the box). Cloud PLM / SaaS approach is a combination of cloud advantages with better administration and configuration user experience (I’ve heard about it from Autodesk PLM360 team). Super flexible PLM platforms adapting to company business processes can be another way (Aras message above). Is there another way? Who knows… What is clear to me is that PLM implementation is one of the major inhibitors for a broader PLM adoption. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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