Is PLM software OOTB Functionality a Red Herring?
PLM Blog - Aras Corporate Blog


Saw a Discussion on LinkedIn "PLM" group titled "Disconnect between OOTB PLM Functionalities and Customer requirements". The post said:

Many of the PLM solutions have came up from big customers who had developed the sysytem for their own usage - These systems were no doubts serve very well at that point of time and had huge set of functionalities

As time passed many of the PLM vendors brought the same solutions to market by packaging the same in different way -

Result of which is we find today PLM Vendors selling huge set of unwanted functinalities to customer.
E.g : Suppliers to major OEM's many times are not able to really utilise current PLM solutions to fullest extent - but they end up paying for the same

We need to have a fresh look to cater to such segments instead of forcing them with available solutions

I agree with the observations. Prepackaged functionality of Teamcenter, Windchill, Enovia really has several major issues from my perspective:

  • Functionality is legacy from major customers (a lot of times they ask for things that are overkill for anyone else)
  • All these additions are done over years and years on top of everything previous, whether makes sense or not - it's impractical and cost too much to rewrite to optimize
  • Over time, this makes the OOTB system very difficult to use; too many screens, too many clicks - sometimes whole separate systems are stitched together (think Teamcenter)
  • Functionality is hard coded -- takes re-programming the system to change, months and sometime years to make it work the way you need... dozens of consultants and millions of dollars to customize

The key question then becomes "How fast can I modify the system?" not just change field labels, but re-define data model, change workflow processes, implement new business rules, etc.

Those were our conclusions (at Aras) - we believe that Ford and Toyota have fundamentally different business requirements, and the same is true for G&M Tooling vs. Fairday Machining, Inc. - whether large Global 50 or smaller SME - your company's processes are unique... and are often the basis for how you compete.

So, a PLM solution must have comprehensive OOTB functionality AND ability to quickly modify every aspect from fields and forms to data schema and biz rules in a matter of minutes or hours (not months or years) and must be able to scale up to hundreds of thousands of users, as well as, scale down for simple use by small groups.

Also agree with one of the comments on the post that company's need to test for themselves to validate / verify for specific req's.

Once you realize that rapid flexibility is the "real" requirement, then your PLM decision becomes a lot easier. You know exactly what questions to ask and how to benchmark / verify for yourself.

What's your take? Is endless OOTB functionality that no one can use really the answer? Or should we be demanding full featured PLM systems that are easy to use and change?

modified image from The Bilerico Project blog post by Nancy Polikoff

Posted Thu, May 20 2010 1:51 PM by MarcL
Filed under: ,