This is a line I just read again in one of the first books I’ve work with to learn about PLM. This book is the one about CMII called “CMII for Business Process Infrastructure” by Vincent C. Guess. First of all, what I like about the group managing CMII is their interest in process and their apparant independance from softwares. I’m not saying that to explain that they must be cool. I’m saying that because I think, and I wrote that in that blog many times, Process and Tools should be studied, acquired and managed separately. The process is the smart things you need to think about in order to make your business more efficient while someone else needs to make sure that he will provide you with the good tools in order to run the process you defined.
The business reality
Well, issue is, I’ve almost never seen this setup with independance and transparencies between roles in this three-roles’ group gathering: the customer, the process specialist and the technology editor. Why that? First thing is, there are very few independent consulting companies in PLM. And for those who will say that we’re no better, that’s true. But I consider myself more as a provider of a PLM-enabling technology with at the same time an industrial background as a former Process Engineer. So back to the “business reality” I was mentioning, yes it is difficult to find consultants without having them already selling you the tool. And we have seen PLM integrator trying to promote more than one system in order to expand their market and it usually had some impact on the lead distribution from the editor!
Different roles, different presentations, shared decisions
This is a key point in the buying process of a PLM strategy including process optimization and enabling-tools deployment. Roles have to be clearly defined on wether people can decide about process optimizer quality/performance or if they can decide on the technology side. And I’ve seen all the situation in meetings: Some people will want to see a big show about how easy it will be to create and produce a super system with CAD, CAM, … talking to each other like in a fantastic tower of babel. Some will focus on the technical benefit, they want to see the use of standards like XML, webservices, STEP,… So sometimes I was meeting one person of a kind or even both at the same time but the issue was, I was never able to have two speeches. And as I think that a PLM strategy should more drive to a buying process from the users than a selling process from the PLM solution provider, here’s what I think would be the best: Make sure to separate meetings and presentations between Process enhancers and technology suppliers. Ask Process people to make sure they only talk about process and ask technology providers to show their software. And do it for each provider. It’s a lot easier to show functional miracles on PowerPoint than it is to show a software that works well and live!