Sunday, November 20, 2011

Approach for Successfull PLM Implementation in a Enterprise

PLM implementation is a complex system integration which not only involved technology implementation but also process streamlining and organization change. More often than not the PLM system fails to fulfill its promise not due to technology limitation but failure by organization on process and change management. In this blog I will try to explore various reason of failure due to inability of Enterprise to do good Change Management and approach to overcome this limitation for successfull PLM implementation.

Organization Change Management
Adaptation of PLM in any enterprise usually starts with big fun fare and expectation. But down the lane people realize that technology implementation is only one aspect of it. The other aspect is related to process and Change Management within the organization. For example there is a big giant company which has spent hundreds of millions of dollar on PLM system, but still struggle to stream line the part management and retire there old legacy system. The part of problem lies on the approach the company usually takes for PLM and part lies on the Vendor whose product they implement. The company usually starts approaching PLM purely from IT perspective rather than core business process management. Hence it results in PLM system selection purely on technology and functional richness, rather than its adaptation and suitability to the company. Since PLM looks from IT perspective, it also lead to internal team selection from IT department only. Where as it should be mix of business and IT people.

PLM Vendor Selection
PLM vendor ]are more interested in selling their product rather than providing business solution to the client. This makes them to blend the actual business process issue of the client to suit their product offering. This always led to less user level adaptability once the PLM is implemented and extra millions dollar by enterprise to make in adaptable by heavily customization which earlier avoided due to vendor promise of configuration rich product. Also PLM vendor are usually not good in Organization Change Management which usually a key attribute for PLM successful adaptation in any Enterprise.

Enterprise PLM Vision
The other aspect which usually define failure or sucess of PLM is managing future implementation and changes . Usually PLM started in any Organization with good long term vision. But as time goes, the vision goes on back seat and focus shift from strategy to providing immediate solution to user problem and requirement. This usually makes PLM system more complicate and less agile in long run. This change of track can be seen most of time in big organization and the reason can be many. One of the reasons is lack of any PLM strategy management team which basically should define and track long term goal of company. Second mainly in big enterprise is that in many cases there are independent powerful businesses vertical which want drive the change in PLM system based on their narrow vision and requirement rather than looking at broader vision and strategy on enterprise. This lead to deviation from vision defined in early stage of PLM implementation. Hence the best approach is to have PLM strategic team having from Top Management of different business unit which monitor the progress in a specific time interval. Any deviation from vision should be approved by this strategic team.

Below finer points summarize the above discussion.
1) Looking PLM purely from IT perspective is a mistake. Always look PLM from Buisness process perpective rather than information management tool.
2) Internal PLM implementation of a company should have both from IT and business user.
3) PLM system evaluation should be purely done from organization requirement and long term vision rather than feature offering of PLM Vendors.
4) Strict validation of Vendor product offering should be done against business requirement.
5) Organization Change Management is most important but often ignored aspect in PLM. It is recommended to have strong change management team. Prefer to engage external professional with dominant experience organization change management.
This is my view on it. Please open to provide your view and comments.


  1. Manoj,
    I completely agree with you. In fact the process of PLM implementation should start only introspection study of the company. They should find optimized processes first and then select right tool. But unfortunately its vendor driven market as of now.
    I liked this post. Keep on sharing your views.

  2. If Heavy engineering and Large Enterprise companies understand this core aspects of PLM Implementation they can adopt and emerge very well in a long run.