Minimizing Risk with PLM Transformation: The Role of Executive Sponsors

Large-scale business change initiatives are inherently risky. Business literature is littered with failure stories: Companies overreach, technology doesn’t work as advertised, workers resist the new approach to work.

To avoid such disasters, most business leaders today appreciate the importance of including strong executive sponsors for technology-based transformation programs like PLM.

In practice, however, companies often fail to establish the level and type of executive sponsorship required to actively guide such programs to a successful conclusion and reap the business benefits promised at the outset.

We watched one large customer of ours—with a program to harmonize product design and manufacturing across multiple business units—exhaust a full year with little progress due to a lack of effective executive sponsorship. The program goal was clear but execution faltered with the lack of executive engagement.

As shown in the video case study above, the company eventually managed to turn the program around with a new sponsor and create a top performing initiative. But the delay was costly indeed, and the lessons learned from the turnaround provide a useful example of the requirements for successful sponsorship.

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Photo: Megaphone, Tsutatsuta’s Photostream, Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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