Getting the Benefits That PLM Has Promised for Years

Unfortunately, product lifecycle management (PLM) implementations often fall short of users’ expectations. Now, though, leading companies are starting to see a way that PLM projects may deliver the kinds of benefits described in the brochures.

One hint: Treat PLM as a critical business system rather than as a productivity tool for engineers — and take the time to agree on a PLM strategy first.

In any event, effective PLM implementations require a fusion of classic change management disciplines as well as deep knowledge of business operations and a rock-solid grounding in engineering. For many organizations, an early challenge may be to convince senior management to release additional funds for the change management initiative needed to improve the likelihood of a flawless and successful implementation.

Such challenges should not dampen the resolve of business leaders to get their PLM deployments right, and to reap the rewards of doing so. The tools are highly capable—quite enough for PLM to deliver the benefits it has promised for years. Governed, managed and executed well, PLM has the potential to become a true strategic capability—helping to drive innovation across a product’s lifecycle. The way forward is clear. Now there must be the will to follow it.