Lean implementation

November 2, 2016 by Hannu Hakkarainen

As of today, heavy legacy on premise environments dominate the PLM footprint in companies. A regular PLM environment upgrade is required to remain compatible with other core business systems and new technologies. The upgrade has typically a price tag of million euros or even more. At the same time the upgrade does not provide any significant business benefits. Think about all new business requirements that could be implemented with the cost of one PLM environment upgrade. Increasingly more companies are taking cloud strategy to avoid upgrade costs. There is already evidence that cloud PLM solutions are significantly less expensive to maintain than on premise PLM environments.

A project to implement new functionality for business users often starts with a good intention to utilize so called out-of-the-box capabilities of chosen PLM platform. Two years and million(s) of euros later project team concludes that that the outcome is far away from standard functionality. At the same time business users dislike the new PLM due to its complexity.

The business case and objectives of PLM investment are clear when decision is made in company. After long implementation cycle from decision to production company’s business environment and needs have radically changed. For example, company may have change its business focus from rapid new product introduction to services business. At the same time business user groups are totally different.

Agile PLM development approach alone does not solve the PLM implementation challenge. Even if the PLM implementation train arrives to the final destination with originally planned deliverables the outcome has very weak connection to current business challenges. Changes in company’s business strategy as well as mergers and acquisitions often cause challenges for lengthy PLM implementation project. Either the original business value is ruined or changes delay PLM implementation even further.

Lean implementation approach ensures business value in most business change programs including PLM. The basic principle of lean implementation is to work based on what you have on your hands right at the moment instead of trying to invent or build something new before actual implementation. In PLM domain lean implementation only requires good understanding of business needs, clear and realistic objectives for the implementation, straightforward reverse engineering and clever timeboxing.

Lean implementation approach together with cloud PLM solution and predefined implementation services form a great package for successful PLM implementation with significantly shorter time-to-value.

How cool is that!