The New Era of Digital Transformation Through PLM
August 24, 2021
The pandemic has dramatically altered the way we work. Perhaps forever. This is no different for the manufacturing domain as well. Organizations are trying to focus towards digital transformation. While it is not true that the pandemic was the sole reason behind this change, it did reveal a lot of issues and problems that were the driving force into rethinking the ways we design, make and sell our products. Ushering in a new era of digital transformation though PLM
The journey towards digital transformation though, has not been as easy as it would seem. In a recent survey, it was discovered that more than 95% of businesses encountered various disruptions to their digital transformation projects. Many industry leaders believe that these disruptions will likely continue, even after the pandemic dies down. The vast amount of data, the rapid pace of change, and the emergence of new technologies are in fact speeding up the disruptions. Furthermore, many organizations had been saddled with legacy technologies and previously dated infrastructure, which has contributed to their digital transformation failures.
Organizations can no longer depend on traditional PLM software that have been leading towards obsolescence. These PLM software have in fact, been the very cause for many digital transformation failures. Organizations now need a digital transformation platform that enhances and improves their business processes. Such a platform would subsequently also improve upon the experiences of their partners, employees and customers.
In a disruptive world with an ever increasing complexity of business models, products and services, many organizations still hold the belief that digital transformation is vital for the future sustainability and success. Comprehensive have been changing their priorities to accommodate a constant transformation of their product development environment. This has helped them to achieve better efficiency, reduced duplicative work, increased deployment speeds and allowed for more innovation. Accomplishing the same on the wrong platform has been a major cause for digital transformation failures.
Traditional PLM Software
Before the pandemic many considered PLM as just an engineering tool. A tool that helped to manage their parts, assist in change management and in BOM. But all that has changed. Companies now want PLM software that can integrate the whole product development ecosystem. Including the digital thread, a design intent capacity & the potential to work across the value chain. In summary, it needs to help companies to be able to achieve digital transformation.
The major issue that most PLM software vendors face is the fact they are not flexible and resilient. Additionally, many companies , through the process of reorganization, mergers and acquisitions, have had many PLM software integrated with different ERP systems, having different numbering systems and formats. This further increases the complexity of achieving digital transformation.
Employees are oftentimes unaware how dependent they are on the digital transformation required in PLM systems. A common misunderstanding of company leaders is thinking that digital transformation is just an additional external tool. In the past, most company leaders and executives would just apply digital strategy by introducing an array of latest technologies. Which were in essence, just shiny objects which were unable to achieve the desired results. Mainly because it lacked comprehension of the rate of change of data and that the PLM software themselves were rigid.
In recent years, most companies dealt with the changes in product design and technologies by stacking different PLM software above each other. This led to companies being crushed under their technological debt, and further amplifying the complexities in terms of product design and processing. It is now clear that there is no longer a need for PLM software, but a PLM platform. A platform that aids to expand your technological horizons, allows for innovation and provides value chain across all sections of the product development.
Checklist for a Great PLM Platform
Before selecting a PLM platform, there are a few questions that need to be asked in order to determine which PLM platform is the best for your company:
- Is it an actual platform or just a portfolio of software offering?
- Will these reduce the current dependency on legacy tools?
- Will this allow for continuous transformation?
- Will the platform make us more agile, updated, and resilient?
- Will the platform make the system more robust?
- Will it be easy to implement, learn and adapt to?
- Will it facilitate better collaboration across various domains?
- Is it a cloud based platform or a SaaS based solution?
Modern PLM Platform
In recent times, PLM platforms have taken on a completely different avatar. They have been transformed into low coded platforms, where PLM systems and applications can be developed using the same platform services. These applications can be developed by anyone, be it third parties, PLM vendors or even the customers. This helps the product development systems update and in pace with the latest changes.
There are a few parameters that any PLM platform needs to achieve before they can be truly determined to be the most apt system for digital transformation.
Reduction in Technical Costs
One of the biggest obstacles in digital transformation is the pre existing legacy infrastructure. These infrastructure were customized and workarounds were done to adapt to new changes but they still managed to fall short. They allowed employees to work in silos, but failed miserably to achieve proper collaboration across departments. Creating a bottleneck in transforming digitally. A PLM platform with low code features can be used to design applications that can replace your existing infrastructure. Additionally, this helps to reduce your overall costs, which in turn reduces your technical debt thereby increasing your revenues. To know more about how to reduce your costs on PLM platforms, check out our previous blog here.
Ownership of Data
The importance of owning your data can never be understated. Though it sounds simple, many organizations have not been able to freely move their data and information from one system to another. To achieve digital transformation, PLM platforms need to allow you to control your own data. This assists for easy upgrade and cross functional data sharing, which allows for faster product development and deployment.
Be a Cloud First Platform
To put it simply, your PLM platform needs to move to the native cloud system. No matter how much customization an on premise PLM system may offer, it has not been able to match the capabilities offered by a cloud first PLM platform. Additionally, it helps your company processes and products become more flexible, scalable and more resistant to disruptions.
PLM is the new center in the era of digital transformation. Which has become vital for companies. Those who understand the gravity of the situation and act on it will generate better profits and improve their bottom line. Your product development will always consist of continuous innovation, increase your digital thread and lead to a more sustainable and agile business model.
KloudPLM is the industry’s first comprehensive cloud based PLM platform. It’s applications can be used across various sectors such as manufacturing, electronics, engineering etc.