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By Peter A. Bilello, President, CIMdata
CIOs have a pair of new and interlocking opportunities as they stay on top of the many product lifecycle-related technologies known as end-to-end lifecycle management. These opportunities are the “platformization” of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and the closing the many open loops throughout the product lifecycle. Both can help the migration of product lifecycle management to the upper reaches of the enterprise.“In business and in IT, lifecycles surround us. As with everything else of value in the enterprise, lifecycles are a resource to be managed” Lifecycle management is the core enabler for product and process innovation. PLM is rapidly expanding outward from engineering and manufacturing, gaining credibility and traction in every phase and discipline across the product lifecycle. In other words, PLM is no longer constrained by organizational charts or departmental “silos of expertise.” PLM’s enabling solutions create and manage field service, warranties, software and technology development, new processes, and better workflows throughout today’s extended enterprise. The use of extended here means business partners, key suppliers, employees and other stakeholders, lenders, and even regulators. End-to-end lifecycle management enables new services for customers, smarter strategies for physical assets, and intellectual property creation and management. All three are fundamental to global competitiveness. Today, however, disruptions of product development and its support processes are everywhere. Powerful trends such as social and mobile, the Cloud, and globalization are forcing the management of product lifecycles into the highest level of the enterprise. This is true as well for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Requirements Management (CRM), and Supply Chain Management (SCM). The Platformization of PLM The technologies of product development change constantly and grow in complexity. Until fairly recently these challenges were left in the hands of those who best understood them—engineers and technical experts in the departments. Now, however, product development capabilities are rapidly converging with other large-scale solutions to provide true end-to-end lifecycle management and data connectivity. To keep pace, PLM has become “boundaryless”—in use throughout the extended enterprise. This evolution of personal productivity tools and their integration is often expressed as platformization, the re-architecting of PLM’s software-based solution suites and the links between them. Platformization enables new approaches to ongoing, repetitive tasks throughout the product lifecycle while sustaining the extended enterprise.