If you have been following me for a while you should know that I’m a big supporter of having the IT people involved in the plm solution selection process. This is not always the case and 99% of the times they are not in this process, it is for bad reasons. If I compare it to buying a car. When I’m buying a car there are two major things I want to know. The first one is about how I will like this car in terms of features, look, speed,… The second one is about what this car will cost me. And today this takes a very big importance in my selection criteria. In need to know how expensives are replacement parts, how much gas it consumes, how much maintenance it needs… How do I know that? I have magazines which are independant (more or less) from car manufacturers, I’ve got reviews on the web and maybe other sources like a mechanic or a garage manager. What is the equivalent for PLM for these tech long term cost? Magasines? I don’t know any independant magasine doing nice test drive article instead of just publishing editor’s Press release. Reviews? are companies allowed to tell publically how they are pissed about a solution? Sometimes yes, but not easy to find. Then I need a specialist ! But strangely, sometimes, they are not the best help. let’s see the pros and cons.
Get them to ask the right questions
Many questions are potentially out of your scope like : “what database system does it use?”, “how much bandwith it requires”, “how much server ressources you need?”, “how much effort it takes to customize?”… Answers to these questions will have big impact on the cost and flexibility of your PLM Solution.
Ask them to have a test-drive of the software
Mainly about customisation, flexibility and ease of upgrades, you should have them testing the software, feeling the technology and letting you know if this last version of the solution is a real new technology or is it just a new stylesheet that makes it look better.
Benefit from their network to get more information on the solutions
IT people know what’s working and what’s not working in other companies, they can get information about cost of implementation. Ask them to get this data from other companies.
Involve them in the selection process
In all the criteria you will have to select a solution, you need to have some for IT related items and they should be filling these informations.
Most of the times you won’t have cons. The main issue I’ve faced is IT poeple who want to do all by themselves. Ask companies, they all went through this, when the software offer seems to expensive, you develop in-house and a few years later, cost increase to maintain and upgrade your solutions. So I would say 99% of the time. Have IT people to give you technological advices.