What does it take to ensure successful adoption of PLM software within a global enterprise environment?
Research suggests that high performing companies are much more likely to invest in a comprehensive, role-based adoption program. But what does that actually look like in practice?
For one global automotive manufacturing company, three specific elements are essential to success:
- Staffing a global team for adoption leadership
- Developing a detailed plan for a global rollout
- Including a global mentor development program
Staffing a Global Team. The first step the automotive company took was to recruit representatives from all the major geographic locations involved in the PLM project. This team was headed by leaders in charge of three key areas for enterprise adoption: internal communications, change management, and training.
Once the team was in place, the leadership group analyzed needs around all three areas to develop workable strategies for all relevant locations, roles, and functions. The team then put together an adoption strategy document for review and approval by the key stakeholders across the organization.
Developing a Rollout Plan. The second step was to create a detailed rollout plan based on the needs and approaches documented in the adoption strategy. This plan outlined the logical sequence of activities and events needed to create awareness of the changes and to motivate employees to understand the PLM strategy, why it was so important to the company, and how it would affect their daily work.
The rollout plan addressed two key areas that are critical when dealing with a large, global program:
- Global solution, process, and integration requirements – This gave everyone a sense of program impact above and beyond their particular location or function
- Localized rollout requirements – This ensured the the plan included the most appropriate activities and events for each location
- Once they captured all the requirements, team leaders were able to create much more effective and detailed plans for each location with special attention to cultural differences across the organization.
Establish a Global Mentor Program. The third critical element was launching a global mentor program early in the project. This involved recruiting a special group of mentors from different business functions around the world.
Before the rollout, these mentors served as ambassadors for the PLM program, spreading the message to build awareness among employees and increase the likelihood of solution adoption. As go-live day approached, they moved into hands-on coaching and instruction.
Crucially, they continued with the mentor program after go-live and moved into an advocate role, championing the new procedures and processes that went hand in hand with the technology deployment.
By taking such a comprehensive approach to adoption, the company was able to create a sophisticated, integrated program to support a major PLM initiative that affected thousands of employees in diverse roles and teams globally.
With such a well-conceived program in place, the company was able to ensure a smooth and highly successful implementation of a significant new PLM program and system, and take a giant step toward achieving the business value of such an important investment.