Saturday, August 14, 2010

Why the pigeon holes?

I was in a meeting with some IT folks the other day talking about some customizations I had done for a company and their reaction to what we had done struck me as a bit odd.  We had created a module to help gather design, support and business requirements from a potential customer along with the response from engineering, manufacturing, materials and finance for the purpose of generating better quotes easier. It was all inside the PLM tool and as we explained it the IT folks dismissed it with a "that'll go into a CRM". We proceeded to go over a few other modules we had put into the PLM and with every module their response was "that'll go into a xxx".  Now keep in mind that the company didn't own any of these stand alone tools so would need to purchase, deploy, possibly integrate and support them all before they would be able to use them in a similar fashion. 

My question is --
How is this pigeon holing of functionality a good thing for the company?


  1. Don - sounds like the "best of breed" concept. Instead of a single monolithic IT enterprise software application, let’s use 2 dozen best of breed stand-alone applications, and integrate the data and processes. Why does IT recommend this, in my opinion it’s because they recently failed at a large scale single platform rollout (SAP ERP anyone?) that was supposed to solve all the business problems. Having used the wrong platform to automate PLM data and processes once before, does not in-validate the idea and value of a single integrated platform. End-Users want a simple user interface with all their data and processes integrated. IT’s job is to find the right platform with the flexibility and scalability to meet end-user requirements. Are CRM, Quality, Manufacturing Shop Floor execution, … candidates for integration on a single PLM platform? Simple answer - depends on the end-user requirements for integrated data and processes. If the business is engineering-to-order or configure-to-order, then CRM is an integral part of the design process and should be in the PLM system. If you’re mass-selling goods out of inventory and end-user feedback to design is not important, then CRM data and processes are not relevant to the PLM end-users.

  2. Product Lifecycle Management ( PLM ) is an important commercial methodology that applies a frequent set of business techniques supporting the collaborative development, administration, dissemination, and the use of product or service definition facts across the expanded organization, and spanning from products approach to edge of life-integrating persons, process, business models, and information. PLM makes up the products information backbone for an organization and its actual expanded enterprise.