As the product development process and product usage creates higher volumes of data, PLM is a necessary tool to consolidate disparate sources of product information. From this repository, engineering can use product usage data to inform next generation products, operations can improve product development processes, and business stakeholders can focus on linking products to holistic customer experiences. These opportunities reveal the benefit of opening PLM up to stakeholders beyond the product development organization, thus bringing the customer closer to product ideation and development.
A catalyzing functionality in this democratization of PLM are role-based applications which open once-complicated PLM software solutions to new users across the organization. These applications improve usability, solution adoption, time-to-market, and collaboration by incorporating more cross-functional input to the product development process. PLM vendors, large and small, are rolling out role-based application modules for customers, and end user buyers say they are beginning to get requests from their internal constituents for this type of functionality.