As a non-engineer working in the engineering world, it is refreshing to read more and more articles that I can somewhat relate to. it's a nice change for companies, like Kenesto, to aim their products at the masses, rather than just the highly technical engineer.
I agree with you Jenn, and making PLM easier to digest and utilize is a trend that's been happening (with varying degrees of success) for years. I'm not sure I'd say Kenesto is aimed at the masses, per say, but it does make critical product-related information available to other critical functions involved in the development process that are outside of engineering. Instead of making them use an engineering/CAD-centric system to get needed items, this workflow approach gives them a very familiar paradigm to route stuff and manage stuff--email. As a non-techie myself, it was refreshing to actually be able to follow the demo, which in many cases with these highly complex, engineering-oriented workflow systems, is hard to do.
Nice article, Beth. The more I see your articles about PLM, the more I see that it facilitates collaboration. Has PLM software taken on more of this responsibility? If you're running a PLM program, do you even need SharePoint? Or, has the PLM tool taken over the responsibility?
PLM is ALL about collaboration, Rob. It's not a design tool, but rather a platform and set of processes for managing, sharing, and collaborating on all product-related data throughout each stage of a product's lifecycle. Funny you should ask about SharePoint. PLM systems are not a replacement for SharePoint. Actually many are building their collaboration capabilities around SharePoint (Siemens PLM Software does this with TeamCenter) to take advantage of what has become a ubiquitous enterprise platform within many organizations.
That makes a lot of sense, Beth. No reason to reinvent the wheel when SharePoint is effective, well serviced, and so many people are familiar with it. I guess part of the PLM development is a matter of creating collaboration specifically in the context of managing products, from raw materials to delivery.
Beth, I've been following your PLM articles with great interest, since some time ago I wrote about some of the separate efforts that eventually merged and became PLM. Anyway, another possibly related set of databases and software systems might be business process management (BPM), and what was called the agile enterprise awhile ago. Vendors here were (perhaps still are) Sun and HP. Any idea how BPM or whatever it's become relates to and intersects with PLM?
Keen observation, Ann. A lot of what PLM is all about is orchestrating and automating workflow--something that has traditionally been the domain of BPM. BPM (and PLM) for that matter, have traditionally pretty hard to deploy systems, although they've made some huge strides over the last years. Via integrations with SharePoint and other technologies, PLM is evolving to address some of BPM's functionality. There are also new approaches to PLM that lean on BPM concepts just in a way that's more widely accessible. For example, I just wrote about this new Kenesto platform this week.
Once again the wonderfulness attributed to PLM reminds meof the old saying "When all you sell is hammers, everybody's problems start to look like nails".
While I realize that it can be a handy way of keeping track of information, the folks helped the most will be those who had their processes in the worst shape. Those companies that have things organized for maximum efficiency would probably not benefit much from a new PLM program.
It is a bit like asserting that some brand of gas is best, for the reason that when you put a gallon of it in the tank of your car when you ran out od gas, the car started. Not everybody will understand this analogy, I suspect.
Thanks, Beth, for the update. I wonder how market forces will affect the battle among vendors for PLM vs BPM dollars, or if the BPM crowd will start also integrating PLM.
And I understand what you said, William, about hammers and nails. However, when I was writing about BPM, it looked like processes in the best shape were the easiest to port over. So why do it? Because of automation and speed of response. The subject is quite complex and not easily discussed in a few sentences, but it looked pretty convincing to me.
Not sure BPM and PLM is an apples to apples comparison. In what I can surmise, I think there is an element of BPM as part of PLM, given that PLM is really a discipline around streamlining workflow around product development. I would likely see PLM vendors incorporating BPM functionality and integrating with BPM platforms more so than BPM vendors integrating PLM functionality.
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