PLM is a continuous process and the solution/framework built to support it needs to follow evolutions. This is a simple statement but it sounds already a bit contradictory with the basis of PLM which is developing a system with processes to enhance creativity and support development. Why is it contradictory? Because developing a system to enhance creativity let people think you would have a fixed system which allow creativity, so which would mean you wouldn’t change the system. Well I believe the first statement is the right one. Two factors are key to demonstrate that. First, the technology innovations for the tools supporting the PLM initiative. Then the innovation process can use tools that are evolving, new databases. Do you think the innovation process stay the same when a car manufacturer is including a lot more electronics in its car?
Allow to follow the technology
One interesting stat here would be to know out of 100 CIO, how many have already been involved in software development or infrastructure management? One thing that I find always complicated is to talk with a CIO about the technology I’m showing. I sometimes have to push to show the software, I guess a powerpoint presentation would be enough for some of them. So in this case how do you follow the evolving technology? You need to have in your companies, some people allowed to try new products or evolving products and get feedbacks from them to understand if some product are getting more interesting then others for your organisation.
Follow the changing processes
Evolving processes is not something you allow or not. It is something that you just need to acknowledge because the market, the product evolution requires it. Then you have two ways to deal with it. You either ignore them and your IT system supporting the innovation process will soon become used for far less then it should be or you follow these changes, you record them and you support them by either trying to know if your IT can take it into account or providing a roadmap with potentially other more flexible tools to support them.
How to capitalize these initiatives
The issue is always to get the information of a changing process, the information of a process that is not already taken care of in one of your IT systems, the information of a new technology that would fit more with your requirements. Toward your users, you need to get feedbacks. PLM is a continuous enhancement process, your input is your user feedback. I have been working in companies where I could never get someone proactively telling people “we need you to work efficiently, if you think that any of your work could benefit from automation, data-sharing,… tell us!”. Well maybe it happens for CAD designers. To give you an idea of how you can help your users, I created an example of a form that companies should provide to their users to capture these particular use-cases.
Let me know what you think about that form and more generally about capturing user request, what is your actual process to do so?