Business Vision vs. IT Reality: A Balanced Approach to PLM Process Transformation

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The process design phase of a large-scale PLM program is one of the most difficult to manage. Business leaders focused on enterprise transformation often begin by thinking big. They want to toss out old, manual, inconsistent processes and design the perfect new approach. We often hear customers say, “as long as we’re investing in a major change program, let’s start with a white board and design new processes from scratch the way we really want to work.”

IT leaders who focus on implementing new technology to support process improvement, understandably worry about cost, deployment schedules, and systems reliability. They often prefer to use off-the-shelf software applications that can be configured quickly and at relatively low cost. Minimizing customization also provides easier paths to future upgrades and expansion as the company grows and changes.

The different perspectives and priorities between IT and business leaders can lead to internal conflict, delays, and problematic, lowest-common-denominator solutions.
Alternatively, creative collaboration across the business-IT divide can pay tremendous dividends by taking advantage of new technology for process improvement. This also avoids expensive, time-consuming software customization.

A large PTC customer provides a good example of the costs and risks of leaning too heavily on either the business or IT sides alone. The story also shows the benefits of getting both sides in balance with an integrated approach.

The company began an enterprise PLM program to retire an old mainframe solution, to rationalize other PLM applications, and to harmonize product development and manufacturing processes across the organization.

The program was initially led and funded by the IT organization. Minimizing customization of a new PLM software platform was a primary goal of the program. This would limit short- and longer term costs for implementation, maintenance, and upgrades.

After a year, however, the design team focus on replacing the old technology resulted in little progress in developing new, harmonized business processes. Key stakeholders worried that the IT-led approach was too limiting and would undermine expected business value.

A new executive sponsor, who focused on realizing business process transformation, took over the project. Program control shifted to the business side with a new goal to emphasize process improvement, with less concern about technology or software customization.

Watch the video to see the complete story and to learn more about the key success factors for PLM and other enterprise solutions, visit the Insights section of our website: http://www.ptc.com/consulting/insights?utm_source=SlideShare%2B&utm_medium=PLMVignettes&utm_campaign=Social

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