Written By: Andy Miller

PLM Sales Leader / PLM Project Manager / Solutions Engineer II


As many continue to embark on new PLM implementation projects, it is important to consider the things outside of software selection, hardware, and technical execution. A number of pitfalls that plague many deployments exist beyond the main heavy hitters. In my experience, these are the typical points that are overlooked:



1. Key Resource Involvement


PLM projects present a unique opportunity to transform your business processes. The people involved should be subject matter experts, thought leaders, and empowered to make such key decisions. Obviously, the selection of key resources is important, but of equal importance is giving them enough focused time. Besides their normal job duties, they will need time to benchmark existing processes, identify gaps, and research industry best practices. This will enable them make better decisions that will drive business transformation.



2. Data Clean-up and Migration


Just as significant as the processes, data quality can make or break a deployment. The legacy data must be properly cleansed and transformed to meet your new and improved way of managing product data. Prior to PLM, organizations have less restrictive data management practices, leading to duplication of files, inaccurate classification, and overall issues in data cleanliness. A proper approach to remediate these issues is imperative and, quite frankly, requires getting your hands dirty in the clean-up. Once the data is scrubbed, transformation is necessary to meet the new requirements put in place by the improved business processes. This entire clean-up process and subsequent data migration can be of equal scale to your entire PLM project.



3. Validation Planning and Time


This one seems obvious to most but isn’t always followed. Typically, in order to reduce the impact to business users or cut down the project timeline, validation time is cut. Quite often, you hear “the devil is in the details.” Well, the only way to get into the details is to test the system. Make sure a formal test plan is in place, specify what will be tested, for how long, and what are the acceptance criteria. One of the worst things for user adoption and a successful user experience is to go-live with a system that isn’t ready for prime time.



 4. Emphasis on Communication


Speaking of user adoption, make sure the user community is well-informed of the progress being made on the implementation project. Their world is going to change drastically, and they should feel abreast to the timing and potential impacts of their job roles. Say hello to organization change management! Sit down, think about the right cadence for the business, and make time to prepare those communications. Whether it be status updates, PLM education, impacts to the business, or training, make sure the content is well thought out and appropriate for the phase of the project.



In summary, a truly successful PLM implementation requires thought given to the intangibles. Make sure you don’t overlook these as you embark on your initiative. Thanks for reading.