I recently visited a company after I received an email from their director with the title “PLM project or not?”. This was an interesting email because this person told me that he had read my blog articles for more than two years and at one point he was wondering how he could make his company become more efficient in managing the product lifecycle information. The context was interesting because they are a company who was distributing their mother company’s product until they became capable of developing niche products which is now a large part of their activity and becomes even more important. So in my long answer (it was almost like a blog article) I explained the actual ways of solving PLM problems and how a solution like Aras could either fit or not with their case. But I didn’t have enough data so I came on site to have a better understanding of their processes.
“We already have all the interfaces we need”
Quickly after we had discussed our activities and after visiting the whole enterprise we’ve tried to understand the actual processes and the actual pain or lack of efficiency they could think about. And quickly we realized that the users had some great interfaces already, the correct software for each person. They were not making a too important use of Excel. Most of the information is managed in the ERP or in Lotus databases, Project management software and they were having files managed directly in folders but their organisation could still make it working without too much risk so far. The main pains they could talk about were the many times they had to rewrite data because one software couldn’t transfer it to another. So I did not open my computer to show Aras Innovator. They already downloaded it and installed it a while ago. And here it was clear that I couldn’t tell them to replace all these interfaces that are working so well. So what’s next? What is the role of a PLM-technology consultant in such conditions?
“data integration, data management, enterprise application integration“
This is the business description in wikipedia for the company Talend. And this is exactly what we needed in this situation. I needed a solution to make their software talk to each other. So I think the first activity or the first type of software they could go to would be ETL. And then in a larger centralized view they could extend with other solutions like MDM, and EBS with some data-quality in it. But what is interesting and relating it to my previous article about different marketing strategies and namming in plm is the fact that we don’t see these terms too much in PLM marketing. But when you talk with people criticizing other solutions it usually comes down to these topics. Migration, Integration, sharing standards, etc. These are common terms that should be more frequently addressed when talking about PLM. I think (and this will be written in a coming blog article) PLM consulting will be split in more roles and the ones who want to have the wider impact/view on enterprise PLM should make sure to follow whats going on in the pure data management business. And I’m not talking “Big Data” I ‘m talking about data systems, data quality, data integration for any-size business. I’m already on it !