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Why your traditional PLM is failing you

And why you should not choose a traditional PLM in the first place

 

Traditional PLM systems lack flexibility and therefore often become large, difficult projects that are destined to disappoint and fail. However, a flexible PLM system offers a smoother implementation experience, an inexpensive standardized approach with out of the box functionality from day one

IT implementation projects can fail. PLM system implementation projects, both large and small, can fail as well. But experience shows that traditional PLM projects fail a lot more than most projects.

Big, traditional PLM systems are complex software products. They usually are compiled of several different pieces of software, all stitched together under one brand name. They also involve a lot of stakeholders and customization. Implementation requires much time, consultation fees are through the roof, and long project timelines are the norm.

In this article today, I will give you 3 reasons why you should abandon the old way of spending millions for a system that might eventually work (or not).

At the end, I will give you my take on, why a flexible PLM system with an inexpensive standardized approach, will support you from day one.

 

  • 1. Too much customization is needed

Traditional PLM systems require too much customization. It creates a world of problems.

First of all, it becomes very difficult and time-consuming to deploy. There are no economies of scale, so costs are high and project timelines are long. It simply takes longer than it should.

  • 2. Traditional systems are difficult to update and are not future proof

Because traditional PLM systems consist of hard-coded custom integrations and patchwork solutions that are basically hacked together, makes update difficult. And they will come with ongoing maintenance problems. Because when you fix one thing, another thing usually breaks.

Another disadvantage with hard-coded systems, they are not flexible to change, e.g., when technology is changing. As soon as interaction is hard coded inside an organization, that interaction is set in stone. So, to change it, you need to untangle the existing code and make a new one.

That simply becomes too expensive and time-consuming.

  • 3. Integration with existing systems is poor

The true business value of PLM is the ability to integrate with existing systems across the enterprise. A few examples are the existing ERP, CRM, CAD systems etc.

Organizations rely on various sorts of systems to support business processes. Some are built internally by the IT department. Some are bought from several vendors. And a lot of them are customized beyond belief.

Second, these systems emerged over time. Standards change and technology evolves. It means integration isn’t just linking together two systems, it’s often linking together two different generations of technology.

So, the task of integrating other business systems into a new PLM system is in itself not a walk in the park. It is possible to do, though. Just take a look at how we can integrate SolidWorks CAD or SAP into our PLM solution.

Traditional PLM software is uniquely unsuited to it because their business model relies on heavy customization and consultation, so they are not even incentivized to make integrations easy for organizations. The end result is a clunky PLM system.

 

In conclusion

Traditional PLM implementations go like this:

  • PLM consultants meet with users, executives, and technical staff to understand what they want out of a PLM product.
  • Learn existing business processes, systems, and the required integrations.
  • Take your ‘out of the box’ system and custom code all the different connections to systems and data structures.
  • Review existing workflows and build in optimized PLM answers to make those workflows easier.
  • Collect your cheque and leave.

But where are the 20-man sales consulting team when your organization need to change workflows because your business has evolved, and your needs have changed?

Suddenly, these workflows are effectively set in stone. They’re difficult to change and persist long after they’re neither relevant nor optimized. Inevitably, workflows end up being abandoned for shortcuts.

Suddenly, we’re back to where we started with time-consuming, manual, error-prone, and inefficient processes.

 

Why you need a flexible PLM system

  • Because the product must work right out of the box, integration with a range of business systems must work right away.
  • Legacy data integration must work right away
  • The product is easy to update (since it’s standardized) and easy to replace
  • Project scope is clearly defined from the start.
  • They can start with a basic PLM system, then add in additional plugins and integrations over time to better leverage their data.
  • Changes can be made without totally rebuilding the product.

 

Wrap up

Implementing a new PLM system is never an easy task. it’s complicated, it takes a clear understanding of objectives and requirements, and it needs to be an acquisition that can stand up over time.

But the problem is that traditional PLM implementations fail and fail often.

Over-customization, poor integration, migration, and usability all contribute to their failure.

So, why not make your implementation life easier? Why not invest in a sustainable solution that just works the first time?

A flexible PLM software lowers the bar of entry by reducing implementation costs, reducing customization requirements, and actively combatting problems like scope creep and integration challenges that plague traditional implementations.

 

Curious to know more? 
Reach out to me at lla@minerva-plm.com or visit our website.

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About the author

Leon Lauritsen

Leon has worked with multiple IT systems from ERP to BI and PLM. His experience ranges all the way from programming to business consulting, project management and business development. Leon started his career in IT development and has further earned a diploma in IT and Economics at Copenhagen Business School and an Executive MBA at Henley Management College.  

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