Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Is the Cloud a Panacea for PLM Deployment?
This all sounds great but one thing worries me: companies might get the mistaken notion that in order to start using PLM, all you need is new cloud technology: the cloud is mysterious, the cloud is awesome and powerful, it must have the answer!
We already have PLM technology literally coming out of our ears, yet most companies still struggle to deploy PLM. Why is that? We surely need PLM solutions that are easier to use, maintain, and deploy. Having a PLM solution based on the cloud can theoretically remove many of the challenges that face the average PLM customer: hardware upgrades, user support, software installation, maintenance, and a host of other potential challenges.
However, I hope Autodesk customers don't get the mistaken idea that all you need to do to implement PLM is sign up for Autodesk PLM 360, and Whalla! you have PLM. Implementing PLM properly at any company is a process that must be planned and approached properly to gain good results. I am always afraid someone might get the idea that PLM has just been made simple. All PLM vendors like to sell their technology as so simple even a caveman can do it (I think that's the wrong vendor). PLM is not simple! Implementing PLM properly is not simple! You can do small, simple parts of PLM, like data vaulting or visualization, and work on it step by step, but implementing PLM requires a good plan and a determination to follow that plan through to the end.
One of the challenges for Autodesk is that many of their users are familiar with 2D/3D CAD and basic CAD Vault data management, but they are less familiar with other important concepts of PLM, such as configuration mangement, structure management, classification mangement, DMU, and other PLM concepts that span the enterprise, like digital manufacturing. They will also need to raise the level of PLM understanding that currently exists within their partners who will ultimately sell this solution. So, what is to be done?
I believe the key to any PLM deployment is training. Before launching off into the PLM space, you and your team need to be trained about PLM. Training allows you to understand the importance and power of PLM to support innovation: not just product innovation, but process innovation as well. A company should always consider their business processes, industry, competitors, users, and company goals before choosing technology for PLM. If you choose technology first, automate out-dated, inefficient processes, and push information up to the cloud, that will not support innovation. Making process innovation changes that support the work you want your people to do first will allow the new technology included in the AutodekPLM360 solution to make a real difference in any business.
I know where to get PLM training, do you?