High Performance PLM: Four Keys to Outstanding Business Results

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New research by Tech-Clarity and PTC highlights four key success factors that distinguish high performers in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) from the rest of the pack:

  • Strategic business alignment
  • Process-based solution design
  • Reduced customization of PLM software
  • Comprehensive, role-based learning and adoption

Sounds pretty obvious, right? Well, sort of. But, as usual, the devil is in the details. The practical reality is that the companies that actually follow these approaches in detail achieve business results far greater than those which take shortcuts in planning, implementation, and adoption.

On average, the 200 business and IT leaders from Europe and North America in the survey reported modest improvements in the three most important business objectives that drove their PLM investments: time to market, product development efficiency, and reduction in product cost. (Figure 1)

Figure 1: Average Improvement in Key PLM Business Metrics

Digging deeper into the data, however, we can see that a “high performance” group of companies are realizing business improvements five to ten times as great as the average and lower performing companies. (Figure 2)

Figure 2: PLM High Performers vs. Average or Below: Improvement in Key Business Metrics

What are these PLM leaders doing differently?

The most important differences lie in how companies plan and manage their PLM initiatives, regardless of experience level or scope.

In particular, high performing companies are much more likely than others to emphasize four things in planning and managing their programs:

  1. Strategic business alignment: Align PLM planning to key business objectives with detailed implementation roadmaps and scorecards to ensure program accountability for business value, not just technical improvements.
  2. Process-based solution design: Focus first on business process improvement and look to software capabilities that support process change, rather than taking a software-first approach.
  3. Reduced customization of PLM software: Hold the line on software customization to keep costs in check and preserve flexibility for future growth and change.
  4. Comprehensive, role-based learning and adoption: Take a more strategic and role-based approach to learning and adoption of the new processes and tools vs. relying mostly on basic training for software features and functions.

Most companies will naturally gain more value from their PLM programs as time goes by and the organization gains more experience with what can and cannot be accomplished across the organization. For those that want to accelerate time to value, however, these four key success factors truly separate the high performers from the rest.

What’s your experience planning and managing PLM? What has worked best in your organization?

The Tech-Clarity/PTC study will be available later this summer. Contact rleavitt@ptc.com for more information.

About Rob Leavitt

Rob Leavitt is Director of Thought Leadership at PTC Global Services, the consulting arm of PTC. A long-time advisor to top technology and IT services firms, Rob works with PTC consultants, partners, and customers to advance understanding of key issues and challenges in product development, manufacturing, and after-market service. Follow Rob on Twitter at @PTC_Consulting.
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