The latest development in Product Lifecycle Management has raised the level of PLM systems with their ability to support wider areas of product development, manufacturing and maintenance. I think that over the past few years we have seen many new capabilities, systems and technologies developed by leading PLM companies. So, where is my concern?. Massive development of PLM technologies creates a new domain of enterprise software which then creates a new island of data. With new and modern technologies, you can see very reliable and centralized storage of product information that allows you to track every record of product data and related information. However, this development has led to another problem – product information has become siloed inside of the enterprise.
So, how can you develop Product Lifecycle Management strategies that can prevent you from creating additional PLM silos?
1. Develop integration strategies for PLM including the connection of various existing software (design, planning, manufacturing) to PLM. Without these integration strategies, you will find yourself quickly landing on an island that contains a huge amount of information that you need to exchange with external bodies.
2. Plan Business Process Management initiatives that prevent disintegration of information and processes. These BPM initiatives can be processes connected on the organizational level. As part of this connection, these establish (physical and logical) links between PLM and other enterprise systems.
3. Invest into Business Intelligence and establish a way of accessing product information in PLM systems from outside systems. This business intelligence software will create a business background for improving the PLM information available and the general ‘de-siloing’ of data inside the organization.
So, what are my practical recommendations? Start from investing in overall IT infrastructure integration with PLM. You need to figure out where all the pieces of product data are related and what processes they touch. Afterwards, you will need to see how to optimize processes and align them with available platforms and tools for business process management.