PLM selection for very large organizations

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Deciding on a major PLM purchase can be both intimidating and fun. If you have the time and patience, you can do your own analysis, examining and ranking literally hundreds of attributes for dozens of PLM products.

There are many consulting organizations that will sell you a list of selection criteria (whether a report or a spreadsheet), as well as offer their expert judgment of how various vendors rank on those criteria.

While these sources can be quite valuable, there are a few caveats:

  • Most organizations that go to major PLM consulting shops can afford to pay big bucks, because a mistake will cost them big bucks. This implies that the PLM project itself will be in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. So, large PLM consulting groups tend to know a lot about "aircraft carrier" sized PLM suppliers, and not as much about PLM solutions for small- to mid-sized projects. And, if you happen to need only a small PLM solution for your large company, be cautious about buying beyond your needs.

  • Large consulting groups assess PLM solutions to a great level of detail; probably more detail than you'll care to go into unless you're spending the previously-mentioned big bucks. So, you can end up either consuming a huge amount of time examining the consultants' data, or just hoping that the consultant knows what's right for you. Either way, you'll be left with the responsibility for the PLM decision long after the consultant's gone. Be comfortable with the consultant, but really spend time understanding the recommended PLM solution.

  • Working through a PLM assessment with a consultant is inherently time-consuming; you have to determine whether the delay is worthwhile and, in the long run, more efficient than doing the work yourself.

As always, keep project scope as limited as possible while still meeting the strategic goals. Going live with an adequate, scaleable solution is far better than making a career out of being "almost done".