"The cloud, low-code, ALM – just how disruptive is PLM?" This is this question that Martin Strietzel attempted to answer. The biggest disruption is caused by PLM itself, he said, because the product lifecycle now encompasses a number of new topics, such as the Internet of Things for example, which plays an important role in the context of connecting service and feeding back information gathered in the field. But is that still PLM? Many PLM vendors have recognized the importance of IoT and have acquired companies or developed their own IoT platforms, said Strietzel. The increasingly dynamic nature of the market is due to the fact that the IoT market, for example, is ten times the size of the PLM market.
When it comes to SaaS or multi-tenant applications, the cloud is still underrepresented in PLM environments. This is gradually changing because companies' confidence in terms of security has grown, said senior consultant Marc Dreesen. At the same time users have become more willing to adhere more closely to standards, while vendors have improved the adaptability and integration capabilities of cloud applications thanks to low-code and integration-as-a-service offerings. Almost everyone now has a cloud strategy, but their offerings are sometimes difficult to compare, which is why PROSTEP has created a corresponding checklist.
Capability-based procedural model
In addition to the ability of companies to change, also with regard to new business models, the future viability of their PLM architectures will be a major challenge in the coming years, said Peter Wittkop at the start of the third CONSULTING DAY session. The strategic combination of a methodological approach and PROSTEP's wide-ranging PLM-specific know-how will be helpful when it comes to mastering these challenges together. Capability-based strategy development is used to achieve medium and long-term objectives, but it must also be able to respond in an agile manner when the objectives change.
Martin Strietzel and consultant Manuel Ratte explained to participants what PROSTEP's capability-based procedural model looks like and how it relates to corporate strategy. In the context of enterprise architecture management, PROSTEP understands the PLM architecture to be a multi-layer model that examines processes, data integration and the applications based on a company's objectives. The consultants use the construct 'PLM capabilities', which maps all the PLM-specific topics relevant to the product lifecycle, to make it easier to address the requirements on the three levels. The participant survey indicated that the PLM capabilities that pose a particular challenge to companies are requirements management, product structure management, configuration management and change management.
The capability-based procedural model is one of the core elements of PROSTEP's consulting approach. As Manuel Ratte explained, the consultants define the actual and target statuses based on the PLM capabilities and in combination with the maturity model. They provide the basis for developing overall concepts regarding the required PLM capabilities, which are then merged to create a target architecture. Based on this vendor-neutral architecture, the consultants evaluate the potential systems and recommend the suitable solutions to the customers. During roll-out planning, they then determine together with the customers how the transition to the new world should be implemented.
Clear documentation of the requirements
Using a number of different examples, Mario Leber explained the work results and the concrete benefits that a capabilities-based consulting approach offers. Of particular value to customers is, on the one hand, the digital maturity analysis, an efficient methodology for classifying the individual subprojects and defining the digital roadmap. It is based on an assessment of the actual and target scenarios or a gap analysis of the PLM capabilities. On the other hand, customers could use PROSTEP's requirements specification template to document and communicate all their requirements efficiently, individually and transparently.
One customer that has taken advantage of PROSTEP's capability-based PLM strategy consulting services within the framework of a comprehensive PLM and SLM (systems lifecycle management) initiative is thyssenkrupp Presta AG. In an interview, project manager Klaus Brandner explained the project's objectives and the challenges it poses and how PROSTEP is helping the company tackle them. The external consultants were particularly important during the orientation phase, when the diverse requirements of the departments involved needed to be harmonized. Their support, he said, made it possible to get to grips with this demanding task. "The most important contribution that PROSTEP made was to put an end to the stakeholders' anxiety regarding the new topics."
PROSTEP not only provides customers with advice when defining their PLM strategy, but also helps them with implementation. At the end of CONSULTING DAY, Peter Wittkop explained the further course of action to the participants. The aim is to implement the project objectives step by step to quickly achieve partial successes and exploit the benefits. This is why PROSTEP believes that an agile approach has proven its worth. Personal relationships and mutual trust provide the basis for collaboration in consulting projects.
If you would like to learn more about the challenges posed by digitalization and PROSTEP's capability-based consulting approach, you will find the videos of the three sessions here. (Please note, the videos are only available in German.)