How a Strategic, Big-Picture Approach to PLM Pays Off


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Even with the best of intentions, it’s easy for
organizations to lose sight of the big picture when
embarking on a PLM program. Program and IT
managers get bogged down in the weeds of tactical
project management; business sponsors move on
to other priorities once the basic direction is set.
But it is the companies that sustain a strategic
approach to managing long-term transformation
with PLM that reap the real rewards.

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How a Strategic, Big-Picture Approach to PLM Pays Off

  1. 1. Global Services InsightPTC.comPage 1 of 3 | Strategic Approach to PLMHow a Strategic, Big-PictureApproach to PLM Pays OffBy Rob LeavittEven with the best of intentions, it’s easy fororganizations to lose sight of the big picture whenembarking on a PLM program. Program and ITmanagers get bogged down in the weeds of tacticalproject management; business sponsors move onto other priorities once the basic direction is set.But it is the companies that sustain a strategicapproach to managing long-term transformationwith PLM that reap the real rewards.
  2. 2. Global Services InsightPTC.comPage 2 of 3 | Strategic Approach to PLMA global manufacturer of parts for automotive, industrial, and aerospace industriesprovides a great example of the benefits of shifting from tactical to strategic.Bogged down in phase one. The company began its current PLM journey back in2008 with the general idea of improving efficiency in product development andproduction as it expanded in key markets around the world.In practical terms, however, the actual program focused on replacing an old productdata management application with a new one. In other words, program leadershipzeroed in on a narrow IT project with little attention to the potentially more valu-able issues of improving business processes and fleshing out a longer term plan toachieve strategic advantage with a new approach to product development.Refocusing on the strategic. In what turned out to be a blessing in disguise, the com-pany put its software migration project on hold when the economic crisis hit in 2009.During that time, the company was able to step back and reassess its approach toand goals for the program. Working closely with PTC Global Services, business lead-ers realized that they needed to shift focus from an IT replacement project to onefocused on transforming the business with PLM.The new, more strategic focus empowered engineering and IT leadership to be moreambitious in planning to achieve the company’s ultimate business goals of realiz-ing improvements in product development efficiency. Rather than focusing mainlyon near-term software migration at company headquarters, the program agendabroadened. This expanded scope included the longer term development of a commonPLM platform and harmonized processes to decentralize and accelerate productdevelopment across all of the company’s business units worldwide.Over the next several years, the company invested in strategic planning andalignment to enable this vision, including:• Developing a detailed, multi-year, multi-phase roadmap• Recruiting the necessary resources – including the CTO and VP ofCorporate Engineering – to ensure executive-level governance• Defining a value scorecard to measure business impact and successManaging strategic transformation. By 2012, the program was in solid shape, withgovernance working well and process transformation moving forward. The early-phase migration was complete with strong adoption across the organization andfollow-on capabilities being implemented. An updated roadmap outlined the nextmajor steps through 2014. A new focus on systems engineering was integrated intothe overall plan, with initial steps underway.Overall, the company is on track and confident of achieving significant gains in prod-uct development efficiency, as desired in its initial vision. Looking back, it seemsclear that the shift in mind-set and focus from near-term migration to long-termtransformation has made all the difference.
  3. 3. Global Services InsightPTC.comPage 3 of 3 | Strategic Approach to PLMAbout PTC Global ServicesThe 1400 professionals at PTC Global Services help the world’sleading manufacturing companies gain product and service advan-tage through solution strategy and design, process transformation,technology configuration, and organizational training and adoption.Our in-house experts and premium services partners work over-time to ensure the best possible results and maximum return oninvestment. Learn more at more Insights from the Global Services team, please visit: Or scan this code withyour mobile device:© 2013, PTC Inc. (PTC). All rights reserved. Information describedherein is furnished for informational use only, is subject to changewithout notice, and should not be taken as a guarantee, commit-ment, condition or offer by PTC. PTC, the PTC logo, Windchill,and all other PTC product names and logos are trademarks orregistered trademarks of PTC and/or its subsidiaries in the UnitedStates and other countries. All other product or company namesare property of their respective owners. The timing of any prod-uct release, including any features or functionality, is subject tochange at PTC’s discretion.J1808–GS_Insight_StratApproPLM–EN–0313About the AuthorRob Leavitt is Director of Thought Leadershipat PTC Global Services, the consulting armof PTC. A long-time advisor to top technologyand IT services firms, Rob works with PTCconsultants, partners, and customersto advance understanding of key issuesand challenges in product development,manufacturing, and after-market service.Contact Rob at Follow Robon Twitter at @PTC_Consulting.