The Hubris of an out of the box (OOTB) Solution

The Hubris of an out of the box (OOTB) Solution

Question: What do the following companies have in common?

  • A leading automobile manufacturer in the United States
  • A top shipbuilding company in the United States
  • A top shipbuilding company in Canada
  • The leading bank in France
  • A medical device manufacturer
  • A leading manufacturer of wheels for passenger, commercial, and recreational vehicles
  • A multi-national industrial manufacturing company in Japan
  • A leading automobile manufacturer in Japan
  • A top aircraft manufacturer in Europe
  • A major university
  • A leading window manufacturer
  • A Department of Defense weapons developer
  • A top worldwide high-tech company
  • An innovative nuclear power company

Answer: They all design, develop, and market products.

Question: How are they different?

  • They design, manufacture, and market different products
  • They operate in different geographies
  • They operate under different governance with differing compliances
  • Some are large multi-nationals
  • Some are small startups
  • Some are innovating to gain market share
  • Some are protecting market share
  • Some are old established concerns with deeply ingrained processes
  • Some are new with rapidly evolving processes
  • Some are public, some are private entities

Given that the differences far outweigh their commonalities, it takes the utmost arrogance for a PLM provider to declare that an out of the box (OOTB) solution will fit all of the above—that they have taken all the differences above into account and can fit them into a one-size fits all package. And that they understand your processes, compliance responsibilities, budgets, and company culture. That you can just “trust us.”

They will tell you that you can manage your current processes and data while waiting on their timetable to provide more, achieving productivity increases within their pre-defined structures. They will assume the responsibility to keep up with broad trends and will again develop solutions for a general base.

However, a lot happens in 8-10 years. For example, the iPhone, which created a whole new market space, is less than 15 years old. You are trying to innovate today, not in ten years. So, an option is to pick OOTB, then not touch it, miss critical functionality you need, and hope the vendor adds it in the future. But, waiting in line can be risky since you do not know who will cut in front of you, or why the software vendor shifts their priorities away from what’s important to you.

But the dirty little secret is that the OOTB solution only gets you so far and the only path to your specific industry, culture, and evolving business is through customization of an OOTB solution. The vendor, while not promoting this, looks forward to additional revenues with consulting and locking you into their solution. So, you customize the solution, with the limited tools they offer, or with a full-blown programming exercise. And then you are stuck. Maintaining your custom system is expensive and difficult, and when new desired functionality is made available, your customizations are not easily upgradable¬—leaving you with technical debt; burdensome, expensive to maintain and difficult to upgrade.

You should partner with a solution that is agile and resilient, one that keeps up with your changing requirements and situation. A PLM solution built on a low-code platform capable of building industrial grade applications, built from inception for change; both anticipated and unexpected. One able to change with the shifting technologies, regulations, and market pressures. With a vendor like Aras—that provides free upgrades, including all your customizations—the deployment, the upgrade process, and the overall operational efficiency of an enterprise is significantly improved along with a total cost of ownership that should be approximately 30% less.

The gains from implementing your specific processes are worth the productivity gains achieved; productivity gains such as increased profitability, improved customer service, reduced employee burnout, innovation realizations, as well as reducing environmental impact. In today’s competitive world, getting and staying ahead requires productivity gains through innovation.

An OOTB solution is obsolete the minute you drive it out of the showroom, or more precisely, as soon as it is implemented, things have changed. Nothing stood still and waited. In order to accommodate today’s growing complexity of product and the volume of data available from the field, resiliency to adapt to change is essential. This requires a PLM platform architected and developed from its inception to be sustainable, ready to evolve as you and your business and products evolve. This requires a platform that allows and encourages customization as well as welcomes your own applications built on a low-code platform for industrial grade applications. A platform that is upgradeable and offered by a provider that correctly and efficiently upgrades your customizations and home-grown applications, assuring technology ecosystem sustainability. A platform that is upgraded on your schedule.

Aras Innovator is that platform and an answer to your more resilient future.